What you need to start your travel business.
Taking the plunge and turning your passion for travel into a money making venture takes courage. What may have started out as a little side hustle project may turn into a full on business. Waving goodbye to your full time employed position, great career prospects and excellent wage may seem like an odd concept. But, in return, you have the opportunity to create a business that allows you to follow your love of travel. If you are well traveled, you love immersing yourself in new cultures and you are always keen to scratch that wanderlust itch, then you could create a startup helping others to realize their travel dreams.
Your travel business could be based around constructing travel itineraries for families, it could be a startup that helps solo travelers stay safe when venturing across the globe, or it could be a venture that creates bespoke travel guides. Whatever your business model, there are some essentials that you need to consider if your business is to be a success.
While you might not have a ridiculous amount of overheads, you still might need to secure an initial cash injection to help your startup launch. You could venture to the bank and book an appointment with the loan manager. Here, you can present your business plan and try to secure a professional loan. Ensure that you only ever apply for an amount that you can afford to pay back. Check the terms of the loan and ensure the monthly repayments are manageable.
Like a bank, a business angel can also be a source of funding. These individuals are experts in their fields and will use their own money to invest in ventures that they deem potentially successful. Many travel entrepreneurs are keen to invest in new and forward thinking companies. When pitching to a business angel, you need to know your finances inside out, be able to prove that you can mitigate risk, make financial projections for at least your first three years of trading, and know your gross from your net. If a business angel likes your idea, you won’t simply receive a cash boost, you will also receive a network of contacts and a great source of advice.
Your business plan needs to be bespoke to your venture. It’s all too easy to print off a generic template and think that it’ll do. Instead, you need to consider how your business will surpass your rivals. Many businesses are attempting to break into the travel sphere with online travel agents, flight comparison sites and travel itinerary planners emerging each year. To compete, you need a well honed business plan that allows for strong market research. What do your rivals not do? This is the gap that you need to plug.
When carrying out market research, make sure that you ask the right questions. Act upon the feedback you are given and tweak your ideas. You are spending money on this analysis so use it in the right way.
As a business in the twenty first century, you need to be online. Don’t think that you can make it on the high street or with a physical presence, if you don’t have an online presence. If you create bespoke products for travelers, you need to look into potential custom web development services that will allow you to craft a powerful ecommerce site. Directing traffic to your shop page will make it more likely that you can convert hits to sales.
Your website needs to be aesthetically pleasing and intuitive. Menus need to remain consistent and branding needs to be plastered across your site. Your website is the pinnacle of your online presence and needs to link to other online platforms that show off your wares and services. This includes your business blog and your social media channels. Consider setting up an Instagram page to show off your travel adventures. By posting images that utilize a consistent filter such as Amaro or Rise you can craft a page that seduces your potential clients with a travel lifestyle that they cannot resist. By posting exciting and unique photos from destinations across the globe, you are showing off your travel credentials and filling your potential customer base with confidence.
Facebook and Twitter will also be useful to your travel business. As everything is now present in a public sphere, your communication with your potential customers needs to be polite and prompt. When somebody tweets to ask about your product range, be speedy in your reply otherwise, a rival firm may secure your business. Find your company voice and enjoy getting rid of that corporate and stuffy tone for something less formal and more chatty. This helps you appear more human and less like a scary business to your potential clientele.
If you aren’t social media savvy or you don’t have time to post content regularly, then it might be time to outsource these requirements to a social media manager. These individuals are experts at increasing your followers, directing more traffic to your website or converting hits to sales. They will hone your company voice and take your direction when it comes to responding to tweets, posting to Facebook and using Instagram hashtags.
As a new travel business, you will want to secure a loyal customer base and sales straight away. You need to utilize analytics tools to help you decipher where your traffic is coming from and the behavior of your market. This can help you to construct exceptional AdWords campaigns allowing you to hone your keywords, your tone and website content. This means that your website will appear higher up in Google searches beating your rivals and allowing you to compete with your peers.
Starting out in the travel sphere is difficult at a time when people are thinking about their carbon footprint and the world financial markets aren’t as stable as they once were. However, follow this guide and you will arm yourself with the business essentials that you need for success.
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