10 Home Based Travel Agency Key Areas to Focus On To Achieve Maximum Success

So you own or manage a home based travel agency business. Well done for committing yourself to a fantastic, exciting industry. Have you ever wondered why some travel agencies make some money and are very profitable over the long term, whilst others struggle to survive?Have you ever wondered why your home based travel agency business (which may bring you a comfortable living) is not wildly successful?Improving YOUR business dramatically comes from analyzing, measuring, identifying and then replacing certain under performing aspects of your marketing, selling, advertising, team or operations with alternatives that perform better.As a business coach mainly working in the travel industry I have seen many small business successes and failures. The secrets to making your small business work relies on many things and not just your technical skill as a home based travel agency.Unfortunately for most owners or leaders in travel businesses, there is a tendency to get stuck doing the technical travel consulting work and not spending enough time each week on the critical success areas that maximizes sales and therefore income.So what are the critical success areas for a home based travel agency?1. Leadership of Yourself and Team / Vision2. Clear Goals and a Plan to Transform the Business every 90 days. Do you have clear, specific written goals for the next 5 years and 1 year in your business but also in your personal life? Do you have a plan of action behind each of your goals?The biggest truism I have noticed in small business is failing to plan means planning to fail. I bet you have heard this a million times before but could I just ask this question: “Do you have a written down plan for your home based travel agency?”3. Managing your team and/or yourself. This comes down to the critical area of time management. Are you good at managing your time?4. Team: Train all of your team and yourself to improve sales skillsand product knowledge. If you are a one person home based travel agency then you still need essential people around you for example, lawyer, accountant, book-keeper, business coach etc. You cannot be totally successful in small business going it alone without anyone else’s help or input.5. Sales: skills in consulting, closing the sale, product knowledge and customer service.6. Marketing – Generating New Enquiries. Do you have a plan of attack for this?7. Marketing – Increasing Average Spend of each Customer8. Marketing – Repeat Business from Existing Clients.9. Operations and Systems / Policies and Procedures10. Finance, Cash flow and Accounts Systems.These ten areas can enormously impact on your bottom line sales and profitability. These areas can lead to phenomenal growth if used effectively.CRITICAL POINT: To get massive improvement in your travel business all you need to do is work on and within these 10 areas constantly for 2 hours a week minimum (hopefully more), every week.Imagine the difference it will make to your home based travel agency if you could focus on all of the critical areas over any three month period? One of the keys is to get someone to help you do this, namely a business coach or mentor.A business coach enables follow through on agreed actions to occur which gives you as the business owner a better chance to succeed over the short and long term.Another brilliant way to ensure you focus on the ten critical success areas is to buddy up with another one or more home based travel agency, you will move a lot quicker and be far more effective.Alternatively the owner and manager can proactively work on these areas but including your team always gets better results.
A strong leader needs to ensure this happens effectively. But there are key skills needed to lead your business.The Really Exciting part! The tiniest improvements over all of these areas can lead to big differences in sales and eventually your bank balance. Can you imagine the impact these strategies potentially could have on your home based travel agency if you put some of the key areas together? Pure genius! Now it is over to you to take action for the long term maximum success of your home based travel agency.

Exploring the Nexus of Travel and Technology – Types and Components of Travel Software

How can different types of travel businesses create specializations by choosing the right components of technology?The internet is rife with advice on why you should digitize your business. It is assumed that software is ubiquitous in today’s business world. However, for the fence-sitters who are yet to digitize their business, what is it that you need to know about travel technology and travel software that will assist you to make a well informed choice of continuing without technology or leveraging technology?The first step is to understand the types of Travel Software that are being used, and by whom?Injecting technology components into the basic technology platform or travel agency booking engine can give your agency the ability to create unique specializations.How can different types of travel businesses create specializations by choosing the right components of technology?
Here’s how… If you are an OTA or a Self-Service Booking provider, you will typically use an online B2C Portal or travel agency booking engine with the following basic components:What should be your key differentiators while selecting your travel agency booking engine?
Platform’s ability to quickly search the most relevant content
Ability to window dress – launch offers and deals quickly and monetize them
Automated management of multiple supplier contracts, policies, clauses, etc.
A highly sophisticated BI (Business Intelligence) & Analytics system to understand your consumer behavior and market trends
A robust CRM system and
A good marketing/lead management portal
A Tour Operator essentially requires a B2C Portal or a tour operator booking engine and can also choose to take a B2B route, but your technology potion is little different from the OTA mix, you need a package builder.What should be your major differentiators?
A package builder that should enable your tour operator booking engine to manage package durations, categories and blackout dates
A feedback and request based flow that will give your customers the option of negotiating and customizing tour itineraries
Rates, offers and discounts management system
Customer Relationship Management System and
Most importantly, every enquiry counts – Workflow systems that let you track, how efficiently your business caters to customers who show interest
BI & analytics is important. However, you don’t need such heavy-duty systems used by OTAs.If you are a DMC, you need a platform or travel software for DMCs that help you distribute your inventory to agencies across diverse markets and at the same time, helps you manage ground and last mile operations.What should be your Key differentiators while short listing travel software for a DMC?
Global distribution – Ability to create multi-market distribution networks
Multi-lingual & Multi-currency booking support
Capture all information pertaining to last mile operations
Strong auto cancellation and cash flow management
You can literally, do without a BI system, and rely on your networking and online trend research abilities.If you are a Consortia or a Host Agency, it is important for you to find the best travel consortia software to build your ecosystem of affiliates and agents, and help them establish their own brands.What should be your Key differentiators while choosing the right travel consortia software?
Strong supplier management capability to distribute benefits to each member agency
Technology for quick onboarding of affiliate and member agencies for host agencies
MIS and reporting – Closely monitor performance across affiliates and suppliers
Making members grow: Easily enable members to create their own brand identity
Inbuilt communication tools – member motivation and retention
As a Consolidator, the accuracy and competitiveness of your inventory, decide your success. Your consolidator travel software needs to go the extra mile to ensure that your content is accurate and aggregated from diverse sources. We live in the world of electronic distribution so having a highly preferment API that agencies can consume is a must.What should be your Key Differentiators while selecting your consolidator travel software?
Accuracy of the content – Automated content aggregation and standardization
The Richness of your inventory – Multi-source inventory aggregation
Preformatted APIs that other agencies can consume
If you are a Niche Travel Agency (MICE or Specialized travel service provider) the type of niche travel agency software that you should be using is:-What are your Key differentiators that need to be kept in mind while selecting your niche travel agency software?
Your own contracted and negotiated inventory of specials – themes, travel products, merchandise, etc.
The ability to create a unique experience from booking to fulfillment
Inventory management tools to store and manage special inventory
Creating Offer pages and promotions
I hope you found the above information useful; this is a brief guide to help you find your way around the often complex and fragmented domain of travel technology.

Multiple Reasons to Be Wary of Your Travel Business (aka YTB)

In recent months, the validity of Your Travel Business, YTB, has been in question; in fact, many claim the entire opportunity might be just another scam. And while I do not entirely support this opinion, I do feel that the corporate side of the operation could be doing so much more to show their current and potential distributors that they are offering a legitimate, high value source of income for them.Our first priority should be to investigate why there are these negative claims about the YTB travel business in the first place.At the outset, many lawsuits have been brought against the company, and the Better Business Bureau has also received a number of complaints. Of course, these facts do not prove that YTB travel is a scam, there has been very little positive efforts by the corporate marketing department to counter these claims.With a variety of legal problems on their plate, we should expect that YTB should be taking a proactive stance. To the contrary, they are trying to avoid the problem, and this is just making matters worse. Although they have released an official press release stating they will work to improve the model, very few specifics are given. Of course, this just looks all that more suspect.Although most of these claims are minor, the reputation of YTB is still at risk of being tarnished. In the past, other companies have received such attacks and scrutiny, but they have worked hard to make sure their image has stayed as clean as possible. Anyone who has invested their time or money in a part of the YTB Travel business would hope for the same kind of response from their corporate partners.I realize that the corporate players at YTB may be waiting for the cases and complaints against them to pass; however, if this does not happen, it is their responsibility to ensure that the reputation of the company is upheld. Any further attempts to mar the company’s stature will surely deter new distributors from taking up opportunities with YTB.YTB Travel also offers many positive aspects that have been recognized as well.In the first place, YTB is experiencing an expanding role in the travel business. Once the company’s corporate reputation has been exonerated from any wrong doing, that role will undoubtedly continue to grow. Furthermore, the company has not been proven guilty of any wrongdoing, and most of the pending cases show little merit.Since being created in 2001, YTB has risen through the ranks to become on of the top 30 companies among hundreds that are ranked for North American travel sales. YTB also enjoys the status of being publicly traded, and the travel industry has bestowed a variety of awards on the business.With all of these positive aspects, it is quite evident that YTB’s business model is one of bonafide substance. The only important thing for the company is to ensure the potential distributors can maintain early and continued success with the program.It is a fact that nearly 3 out of 4 travelers book their itineraries online, and that trend is sure to continue. The YTB Business takes advantage of this fact and offers potential distributors a thorough understanding of all the internet has to offer. It is unfortunate that only the untrained, misguided distributors that have lost money due to their own discretion have made it bad for all those that have proved the system profitable and usable.If you commit to learning how to successfully market a business online, you will be able to create a profitable network with YTB.