Start a business travel consultancy by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your business travel consultancy. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a business travel consultancy?
You can work at home, so startup expenses largely depend on whether or not you already have a home office. Consultants spend many hours using computers and phones; an ergonomic chair and desk are essential. Quality new furniture will probably cost at least $300. You ought to have the equipment necessary to print, copy, and fax documents. Some travel-oriented decorations might help inspire you. Think about adorning the walls with scenic photos, maps, or clocks that show the current times in different cities.
What are the ongoing expenses for a business travel consultancy?
You'll need to pay for office supplies, promotional campaigns, and electricity. Dependable internet and phone service also hold importance. It's helpful to stay informed about the hospitality industry; consider buying a Lonely Planet membership or subscribing to a magazine like Travel + Leisure. This costs around $30 to $40 per year. You can obtain travel management software for less than $10 a month.
There's always a chance that a mistake could lead to serious problems and trigger losses for a business. To minimize the financial risks, obtain professional liability insurance with errors and omissions coverage. The premiums add up to about $400 annually.
Who is the target market?
You'll serve organizations with staff members who attend conferences, exhibitions, grand openings, and other events. Executives may want to visit properties before buying or renting them. Relatively high-end clients can afford consultants.
How does a business travel consultancy make money?
Clients pay fees to compensate you for the expertise and effort involved in arranging trips. Business travel occurs throughout the year but peaks in the autumn.
How much can you charge customers?
Fees differ based upon the complexity of a trip. You could charge $30 just to book a room that the client will reach by car. On the other hand, a traveler might pay you $200 to plan a long journey involving multiple flights, hotels, and vehicle rentals. Keep in mind that remote business travel consultants generally earn $34,000 to $122,000 per year, according to ZipRecruiter.
How much profit can a business travel consultancy make?
Compared to other entrepreneurs, these professionals have comparatively low expenses but find it somewhat hard to gain clients. Customers have many options, such as in-house travel planners, agencies, and self-serve bookings. This limits how much you can charge. Business-oriented agencies attain profit margins of around 7%. The greater personalization offered by consultants may yield somewhat higher margins.
How can you make your business more profitable?
You'll probably qualify for home office tax deductions as long as you don't become an employee. Reevaluate your phone service; consider switching providers or calling plans in an effort to minimize the per-minute cost of international and out-of-state calls.
- Prioritize referrals rather than costly media or search engine advertising.
- Reduce your printing costs by using a monochrome laser printer for most purposes.
- Selling travel insurance is often quite lucrative and adds valuable protection.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your business travel consultancy is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
How to promote & market a business travel consultancy
Utilize highly targeted advertising; contact companies in sectors that regularly engage in long-distance travel, such as banking, insurance, and manufacturing. You may have better luck with new firms that don't already have consultants or agents. Send sales letters to executives, and advertise in business-oriented publications. You could also write a blog about relevant travel destinations. Promote your service at events and places frequented by commercial travelers, such as trade shows. Engage in business networking and think about rewarding clients for referrals.
How to keep customers coming back
You can appeal to new clients by highlighting the value of a well-planned trip; businesses save time and spend money efficiently. Experienced consultants reduce labor costs by developing optimal itineraries much more quickly than the average staff member.
Don't forget to point out specific added benefits that clients gain by using your services, such as special upgrades and bonuses. To retain customers, deliver comprehensive solutions by considering every detail. Recommend the best taxi or restaurant in a certain locale. Supply travelers with all of the information they should know about the trip and destination. Reward loyal clients with retail or dining gift cards. These actions will encourage them to recommend you when they discuss travel with fellow businesspeople.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Business Travel Consultancy In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
This occupation may suit someone who pays close attention to details and has a knack for finding low prices without compromising quality. In-depth knowledge about the hospitality and transportation industries will prove useful. Hotels and other businesses might reward you with free or discounted services, so this business appeals to people who enjoy traveling. You should communicate in an efficient, clear, and friendly manner. Consultants have flexible schedules but may need to work irregular hours.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a business travel consultancy?
You can expect to spend many hours conducting research, communicating with clients, and setting up itineraries. Customers want you to choose and purchase services for them. Among other things, you'll have to select flights and book rooms. Keep work-related needs in mind; pick hotels with business centers and suitable internet access. Clients may ask for assistance during their trips if problems arise. You can negotiate with service providers to find fair solutions.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful business travel consultancy?
Ideally, consultants are excellent researchers who have traveled to faraway destinations. It helps if you can speak a major foreign language like French, Portuguese, Spanish, or Chinese. This profession doesn't require any specific credentials, but you'll find it easier to attract clients with a two-year tourism or travel degree. Computer expertise holds considerable value as well.
What is the growth potential for a business travel consultancy?
While the COVID-19 pandemic recently forced many companies to cancel trips, Statista reports that global spending on commercial travel increased by over 200% between 2000 and 2019. If you decide to expand a profitable firm, you could create an agency with multiple consultants. Another option is to develop a franchise. For example, a UK company known as Travel Counsellors offers a franchising opportunity that includes training, support, bonding, and supplies.
TRUiC's YouTube Channel
For fun informative videos about starting a business visit the TRUiC YouTube Channel or subscribe below to view later.
Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a business travel consultancy?
Take notes on each client's habits and priorities so that they don't have to remind you. For instance, one traveler might enjoy trying new eateries each day while another prefers a convenient hotel restaurant.
Try to use the same services for multiple clients. If you send numerous travelers to a specific hotel chain or airline, it might provide your customers with free upgrades. Sometimes you can trigger bonuses by using the right technique, such as entering a promo code or booking rooms on a certain website.
Always consider the total expense. Clients won't save cash by staying at a slightly less expensive motel if it costs more to travel there. At times, it's worth staying an extra night to pay significantly lower airfare the next day. Early booking can also cut expenses.
Don't let a service provider's incentives distort your judgment. The client's interests should always come first. To create the optimal experience, strive to minimize waiting times, traffic, and crowds. Remember that companies are responsible for employee safety; avoid potentially risky routes.
How and when to build a team
You don't really need any employees to run this business. Nonetheless, you could hire a secretary or virtual assistant if you develop a profitable consultancy and need help answering phone calls or performing research. These individuals frequently earn around $12 to $25 per hour.