Travel agencies in Nigeria have become a profitable business lately, as the industry appears to be one of the fastest developing industries in the world, and many people are curious about starting a business in this industry. If you want to earn money from doing business in a very important aspect of hospitality, then read this post to learn how to become a travel agent in Nigeria.
The travel agency business has got huge potential on the market because it generates huge profit thanks to the people who constantly travel and need the agency support for their trips. Every day, thousands of people purchase tickets, commute to work and back, go on sightseeing tours, travel to the seaside, and visit their friends. The least they can do is request a ticket from the travelling agency.
Since this business is so lucrative and profitable, there is quite high competition. Many Nigerians start their own travel agencies in hopes of earning good money. So, you will need to put a lot of effort into creating a travel agency that will be attractive to people and maintain its good reputation.
If you really want to become a travel agent, you will obviously have to put some effort into pursuing your dream. However, you do not need a lot of equipment, which is the bright side of getting involved in the travelling business. The big amount of machines and technical things will not be needed, as you are the one who runs the business. Travel agency requires quick thinking, deep knowledge of how the tourist sphere works, and reliability. Here are the steps that may help you if you are contemplating starting your own travel agency.
Getting knowledge and experience
Many travel agents in Nigeria start as independent agents. This is probably the only way that you can gain basic experience and learn things about the business. You will get to know the established travel agency runners, who might give you a helping hand with the resources and exposure. Then, in a few years, you will be able to found your own travel company. By the time you will be ready to do it on your own, you will already have the trusted list of clients and enough experience in the business to feel comfortable.
It is highly recommended that you get the travelling agency training before thinking of starting your own company. This is why IATA certified institutions provide good training and the opportunity to get an official license for your business.
Getting the certificate
In order to run the travelling business, a lot of certificates will not be needed. However, you are strongly advised to obtain a tourism degree. It will be the additional advantage if you want to thrive in this business, so you should start thinking about these things and weighing pros and cons from young years.
Meeting the financial requirements for the business
The minimal requirements for setting up your own travel agency are the office and technical gadgets. Except that, you will need some people to work together with you and at least N500,000 of starting capital for operating the small business. Eventually, you will be able to expand the business and the capital if you keep up the good work.
Drafting the business plan
To succeed in this business, you will need an excellent business plan which will help you to operate without issues. The business plan will help you in attracting the investors and customers. The plan has to be put together with your feasibility study – this will influence your view of the future ventures positively. To find the business plan or feasibility study sample, you can search online – there are hundreds of them. You can always use them to make your business organized and well-planned.
Outsourcing the management
When you start running your own agency, you can do it on your own. However, if you want to make it big, you will need to hire some staff to help you out. Besides, it will be better this way for your own mental health because reducing stress to the minimum is important for every successful worker. In general, working with people is more effective than working on your own because you socialize with the others, ask them for advice and give one in return, and work on things together which is much faster than doing them alone.
Choosing the perfect location for your office
To choose the best place for your business venture, you will have to keep in mind that some locations are more suitable for business than the others. The comfortable locations where you will have a chance to thrive are airports, hotels, car hire centres, and flight-booking channels. You have to do some research to figure out where the business could possibly thrive.
Registering your agency
If you want to run a successful travel agency, it is really important that you register your enterprise officially, with the government agents like CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) and the similar organizations. To operate the business, you will also have to open the corporate bank account for saving your capital.
Getting the equipment for your business
As we have already pointed out, you will not need a lot of heavy equipment for performing this business. The computer system with a stable internet connection, good electricity supply, phone, tables and chairs will be enough if you are operating from a small office.
Promoting your business
Of course, if you will not let the world know about your business, you will stand a very low chance of getting trusted customers. That is why you have to advertise your agency properly. You may choose to put the advertisements in the magazines and newspapers, offering your travel agency to the various Nigerian business directories, or find other ways of suggesting people your services. One of the effective ways will be purchasing the e-mail address and phone number marketing leads and making the targeted phone calls along with sending e-mails.
You should be prepared to lots of rejections if you are doing it on the phone, but there is still a chance that some people will be interested. Also, you should definitely create a website for your company or ask someone to create it for you. The social media accounts will play a significant role in your success too. Millions of people spend time on social media networks nowadays, and you can advertise yourself in this way among them. Finally, the business beginners often send the proposals to bigger agencies to promote themselves.
Specifying your niche
We have listed a lot of possible specific niches for the travel agency runner above. If you start a business, you will only have to decide what exactly you are going to do. Perhaps you are good at providing visa service or maybe your heart call is looking for cheap tickets. It is possible that organizing excursions or arranging various events is what you do the best. Once you understand what you want to do the most, the planning of your business will become much easier.
Joining the necessary organizations and associations
If you jump into your business without any connections and continue this way, there will be a much lower chance to achieve anything. You will definitely have to search for the different partner organizations that are able to help you out with the customer database and promotion. Some of such organizations are IATA (International Air Transport Association), Nigerian Society of Travel Agents (NSTA), and National Association of Commission Travel Agents (NACTA). If you join all three of these, it will be a huge bonus for you, as they will be useful with exposure. You have a chance to meet a lot of new people who could possibly become your clients.
How to become a licensed travel agent in Nigeria we will tell you a bit later in our post. Keep readig not to miss something very important.
12. Communicating with experienced people
Do not forget to communicate with people who have got experience in this sphere and learn new things from them. They may tell you about their own successes and struggles in the business and give the most valuable advice. Maybe they can even help with the promotion of your business.
Requirements to become a travel agent in Nigeria
To become a great travel agent, you have to be really fluent in the travelling sphere. You need to know a lot of necessary information about the vacation arrangement, the excursion and trip organization, visa services, and ticket sales. Most importantly, you need a lot of experience of talking to people because you will have to communicate with them every day.
It is significant to advertise your travel agency a lot. Otherwise, people will not know about it, so you have to make a lot of flyers, business cards and posters, as well as create social media accounts for your firm and maintain them every day. Of course, the cheerful and nice personality would be a huge bonus because the travelling business is based on delivery of the services, so it is required from you to make your customers feel comfortable.
Finally, without good service delivery your business will simply fail to become successful, so make sure that you are able to provide the high-quality service without any possible unexpected situations.
How to become a licensed travel agent in Nigeria?
Many people choose to become travel agents through obtaining the IATA accreditation. This will involve the IATA registration of your company and accreditation as a travel agent. However, before you make this decision, you should weigh all the pros and cons, and become aware of all the IATA requirements. Usually, it costs a lot to become the IATA licensed travel agent. But once you become one, you will be opened to some of the exclusive advantages, like getting much more customers and accessing the IATA database where you can purchase the best tickets for the clients. This will bring you more profit than you normally would. Besides, you will have the opportunity to book the chartered flights.
The minimal requirements for you to register your agency at IATA are the following:
You must have at least four or five workers at your firm. Minimum two of them must possess enough experience in the airline business and travel agency work.
Your travel agency should be located at your own office.
The office needs to have at least four technical systems, which means four computers with stable internet connection and round-the-clock power supply.
You also must be registered at CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission).
The start-off capital requirement has to be from N1,500,000 to N5,000,000. This mostly depends on the location and start-off scale of your business.
When you make sure that you have met all the requirements, your registration can start being processed. If you have more questions about obtaining the license, you can visit the official website of IATA .
After you have finally received the license, you will be able to subscribe to the GDS, which is the Global Distribution System. This is a system which is used by licensed travel agents to reserve the hotel rooms, plane seats, and other related things. Some of the most famous GDS companies are Amadeus, Sabre, and Galileo. The registration requirements can be read on their official websites.
The IATA registration, as well as GDS subscription, will often come with the training courses. They will help you to explore the amazing opportunities that you can get if you use these systems. You will need to drive your attention to the courses if you want to make the best use out of IATA and GDS systems.
Types of travel agency jobs that you can choose to perform, and how each of them will be beneficial to you.
Freelance travelling agent
If you choose to become the freelance travel agent, then you will not need a lot of equipment for this – sometimes just a laptop with working internet and a printer will be enough. You will also need less starting capital. The freelance job means that you can be communicating with people and providing services without even getting off your bed. So, obviously, the office would not be necessary. However, if you want to become the successful freelance travel agent, you need to have your own fair share of trusted clients who are confident in your services and will regularly approach you for your help.
The freelance agents have to be attached to the registered IATA operators. You will be able to serve as sale outlet for them. There are some advantages of working together with the licensed travel agency, one of which is that they are usually the first ones to get notified about the discounts. It is really recommended that you get attached to the licensed agent. For example, you will not be able to pay directly for the plane ticket which you purchase from the international airline, but with the IATA agency you will be able to do it, as they are connected with the biggest airline operators.
Becoming a travelling consultant means that you will be able to give important advice to the clients who are struggling with making their trip choice. There are different types of advice to give them – the cheapest airlines, the best tours to the places they dream to visit, and other sort of advice which will boost their travelling experience.
The visa process might be quite tedious at times, so every person who applies for a visa needs some help from the professional. You can charge fees for your assistance with visa processing from your customers, and nowadays you can make good money out of it.
Selling event tickets outside the country
Many people dream of going to the big events that are outside Nigeria. For example, football fans who support English clubs want to see their favourite teams play live, and music lovers would give everything to go to the show of their beloved international superstar. This is where you come in – you can sell tickets to these people, and it can be a really profitable business at times.
Vacation and trip organization
Plenty of Nigerians enjoy going to the seaside for their holidays, or requesting sightseeing tours. You may help them to arrange the vacations of their life for a good price. You can arrange the tours around their destination for them or find comfortable accommodation for them.
This business is tricky, just like every other one, but we believe that you will be able to succeed.