Starting a travel agency today can be radically different – and far less costly – than in the past. In this column we will go into detail about the technology and other features that create this exciting opportunity for enterprising senior travel agents and managers to go into business for themselves.
So, not only do you not need an office, but almost everything you do can be done in the virtual world, thanks to technology.
You can have inexpensive phone systems that link you and your employees to each other and to your customers seamlessly as if you had an office, and these systems can be forwarded to your mobile. You can also have a virtual fax system.
You can use Skype to connect with your agents for a virtual meeting or discussion or learning session. Training can be done over webinars or at hosted supplier events. And you can have the capability to see your agent’s screens remotely if they need support.
You can have your own website and so can your agents. This powerful marketing and communications tool is key, so be sure to have one that promotes you and your agents.
Most documentation today is electronic, making it easy to get it to your customer, but you still have the ability to print it off if you wish. If you have been booking and issuing your own tickets for years, and this is your preference, then you can still issue your own tickets if you wish.
Even brochures are just a click away with e-brochure links and customized brochures. No need to have them in your office or stored somewhere.
And for those occasions where you need an office to meet clients, or to meet with your agents once in a while, you can rent office space for as little as $30 per day for a private office at a business services location.
All of this technology allows you to start your own business and hire agents to work for you with very little investment. But make sure you find the right host agency that offers all the right systems and technology you will need, and who will be there to support you.
Are you a home-based agent?
This article appears in Sphere, Travelweek’s monthly e-newsletter for home-based agents.
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