Do you run a travel agency and want to expand or increase your income? If YES, here are 20 best travel agency niche business ideas and opportunities. People love to travel, and this love brought into existence travel agencies and agents. Travel agencies are organizations that plan holiday trips for people, right from the flight and hotels bookings down to planning of tours and destinations.
This industry has been quite profitable, and this reason has seen a lot of businesses springing up in this area. In fact, the travel agency industry in the united states is projected to generate 17.3 billion U.S. dollars in revenue by 2021, up from around 15 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 and about 12.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2010.
Because of its viability, this industry as a whole is extremely competitive, especially for businesses that operate as general travel agencies. To stay relevant in the industry and to generate enough profits to sustain your business, it is important to specialize and seek a niche market. One of the most effective ways of doing that is by focusing on under-served or overlooked niche travel products that would soon start generating significant revenue and growth.
If you still cannot figure out where to start, here are niche travel agency business ideas that can help you out. The financial requirements to start these businesses vary, so you can just choose those that are within your reach and interest.
20 Best Travel Agency Business ideas & Opportunities
A travel agent is a private retailer that provides travel and tourism related services to the public on behalf of suppliers such as airlines, car rentals, cruise lines, hotels, railways, travel insurance, and package tours. While you can set up shop on your own, there are home-based travel agent opportunities that could make it quicker for you to get started if you have no experience in booking travel for others. You can also take your business online and book online trips.
The main requirement for starting a travel agency or starting a business as an independent travel consultant will be to check local regulations in terms of certifications that may be required to operate the business. One way to entice clients is by offering a niche service, such as Disney vacations, or African Safaris. You can also focus on a market, such as family travel, travel with pets or corporate travel.
- Travel Consultancy
Unlike travel agents that book trips, a travel consultant works with people on a variety of travel issues. It could be preparing people for travel (i.e. adoptive parents who are traveling abroad) or businesses needing information on cultural issues in selling their products abroad, or international travel for their employees.
- Run a tour guide service
A tour guide service is basically acting as a tour guide to your travel clients. When arranging travel for your clients, you can also include the services of a tour guide to help them know more about the area they are visiting. If you are too booked out to handle this service on your own, you can hire locals that have a good knowledge of the area to handle it for you.
Your tour service doesn’t just have to be about history. Many older towns have ghost tours. If you have great outdoor areas, you can organised scenic hikes or bird tours. If you know the best foodie establishments, you can set up food tours and many more.
A limousine service is one other service you can add to your travel agency. People require limousines in their travel to celebrate special occasions, and celebrities require them too to move around. This is one business you can start in the value chain of the travel agency.
Limousines are no longer limited to stretched Cadillac and Lincoln automobiles. Today’s limos include mile-long Hummers, vintage Rolls Royces, and theme vehicles with built-in hot tubs, grand pianos (complete with a pianist), and even disco themes. Now, that’s a perfect holiday.
Tourists today can choose from a staggering number of specialty tours. If you love travel and you can communicate your enthusiasm to others, then a specialty travel and tour business might be just the ticket for you. With this kind of business, your travels must be tailored to a specific type of person or group, like seniors, families with small children, women traveling alone, music lovers or chocolate fiends.
You can conduct just about any type of tour you can dream up to entice people. For instance, you can entice business travelers by organizing after dark tours, or you might go with backpacking or rafting adventure tours to outdoor areas close to home. You can target everybody from mountain climbers to wheelchair-bound adventurers to museum junkies.
To thrive in this business, you must have a strong working knowledge of your tour terrain, and you need to be fluent in other languages. Your success also hinges on your ability to market this business to the people concerned. Advertise in national and special-interest publications. Get your tour written up in local publications also. Donate a tour to be auctioned at a charity event in exchange for free advertising. These ideas and others can work wonders for your business.
- Organize Specialty Cruises
With the travel industry getting increasingly saturated, travel agencies are now seeking areas that are still not saturated. One of those areas is to organize specialty cruises. Whether its event based cruises like the Rock Boat, themed cruises like Disney or special interest cruises for niche groups such as singles or the LGBT community, there are a wide variety of unique offerings in the cruise market that you can use to capture the attention of today’s over-exposed consumers. Due to its complexity and the fact that majority of cruise passengers are first-time cruisers, consumers tend to prefer using a travel agents whenever they are booking cruises.
- Plan Wellness Travels
The wellness travel trend is one of the hottest travel trends in the industry, and you can key into it as a travel agency to carve a niche for your business. Many Asian Destinations are now categorizing themselves as “Wellness Destinations” and as these destinations continue to grow more popular, trips would continue to be planned around them. A wellness travel offers a purposefully designed program of therapies and activities, guided by leading health and fitness experts. You can put together a very refreshing and enticing wellness packed trip and sell it to fitness buffs.
- Organize Yoga and Meditation retreats
A yoga retreat is a withdrawal to focus on the practice of yoga. The purpose of such retreat is to allow yogis to deepen their practice without the distractions of life. Yoga retreats are temporary breaks from daily routine that typically last from weekend to a week or more.
With the guidance of an instructor or guru, the yogis learn to let go of distractions as they immerse themselves in meditation and related practices. You can equally start planning such trips, and I guess you know where to market your services.
- Organize Special Needs Travel
There are people with mobility issues, whether obtained from birth, accidents or through ageing that still wants to travel. Whenever these people plan to set out on a trip, they usually look out for a travel agent. Booking a vacation for them is not as simple as going online and selecting the cheapest available seat and room category.
They will need the resort or airline to have special facilities that can accommodate their mobility requirements. This sounds to me like the perfect opportunity for a travel agent to step in, do the research, find the products that are suitable and make the booking for those clients. You can carve a niche for your business in this area.
- Organize libertine travels
Libertine tourism is a branch of travel that involves traveling for sexual reasons, whether to embark on a vacation with a spouse to a swingers’ resort or to take part in a cruise that celebrates sexual expression and freedom. The sector is emerging as a full-fledged industry that is roping in a lot of suppliers like cruise, hotels, transport industry and travel agencies through which libertines can pay large sums to mix tourist explorations with sexual adventures.
Libertines and swingers who practice group sexuality, free and not paid, can frequent tourist establishments reserved for them through travel agencies specialized in these tourist services. You can as well specialize in this sector and organize frolic travels.
- Start a low cost travel agency
Traveling is expensive, that is a fact. This is one of the main factors that are keeping people away from exploring destinations. You can take advantage of this and start a niche travel agency where you organize low cost travels. You should look out for creative ways to reduce the cost of travels while still offering fun filled trips that feature sports, culture, nature, shopping etc. You can sell your packages to college students and the likes.
- Organize corrupt tours
Now this is not a strange idea because it has already been done. This is a travel agency niche where you organize tours to the most corrupt places in the world. You can package visits to various popular destinations while experiencing first-hand a wide range of corrupt businesses as well as the leading practitioners of corruption. To get ahead in this industry, there should be a perfect mix of fun, adrenaline and learning, while not endangering the safety of any of your clients.
- Organize suicide/euthanasia travels
Suicide or euthanasia tourism is the practice of potential suicide candidates travelling to a jurisdiction to commit assisted suicide or suicide. In some jurisdictions, assisted suicide is legal. With the emergence of right-to-die groups, more and more people are making the trip to where assisted suicide is legal, and you can help organize these trips.
In 1997, the Oregon Death with Dignity Act went into effect, making assisted suicide legal in certain strict conditions. Note that this business is illegal in a lot of countries, so you have to note the laws in your country before you can start. Again, because not a lot of people would be down with this kind of trip, you may have to offer other services to augment your income.
- Start a Travel Agency for suicidal people
The rate suicide in the world has been on the increase and this is not limited to a particular economic niche. To help alleviate this trend, you can start a travel agency for suicidal people. This can in fact be an alternative to suicide. You can plan trips for suicidal people where they can spend time in order to help them re-think and re-group. The trip would of course include the services of councilors that can help your clients through whatever situations they are going through.
- Organize adventure trips
A lot of people are into extreme sports , and would never put their money down on a trip that involves lying about on the beach under the sun. They want something more exciting that involves a lot of adrenaline. You can take advantage of this knowledge to organize adventure trips where you can offer activities like deep sea fishing, skydiving, ice climbing, trekking, river rafting etc. If your local destination offers a feasible environment for these activities, then consider opening an adventure club there.
To get started, market the adventure vacation packages in company newsletters and online chat rooms, advertise in specialty sports and recreation publications, exhibit at sports and recreation shows, and use e-mail broadcasting. Once established, repeat business and referral business should go a long way toward attracting a steady flow of profits.
Once you’ve secured a paying customer and all the travel accommodations and activity plans have been confirmed, you would charge the adventure tour company a 20-percent commission of the total trip value.
- Organize kayak tours
Are you passionate with kayaking? You can turn your passion into a profitable full- or part-time enterprise by arranging kayak tours for people. Offer outdoor enthusiasts various tour packages from beginner packages to expert week-long trips.
Ideal locations for this type of venture are coastal areas of the United States and Canada, as well as states and provinces surrounding the Great Lakes. To get started, you need to get to know businesses that offer kayak tours and offer to partner with them to increase their patronage by putting together your own personal tours. For your troubles, you get to charge commissions for every trip you arrange.
- Organize Off Road Tours
Off-road, or four-wheel-drive, tours have become an extremely popular day excursion for many vacationers, as it is a reasonably priced vacation activity that can be enjoyed by every member of the family. These expeditions are suitable for the adventurous off-roaders who can treasure every challenge that the unexpected might present.
Advertising and promoting off-road or backwoods tours is very easy and is best accomplished by designing and distributing promotional material about the activity to all local restaurants, hotels, and travel agents. This kind of tour business can be very profitable, even if the business associates or partners receive a 10 or 20 percent commission for referring clients to the business.
- Become and Inbound Tour Operator
Inbound Tour Operators are businesses that that provides itinerary planning, product selection and coordinates the reservation, confirmation and payment of travel arrangements on behalf of their overseas clients such as wholesaler or retail travel agent.
These tour operators are commonly used on international trips, particularly where language issues are part of the mix. These companies make the local arrangements for airport pickup and delivery, arrange for activities, hire local guides, attend to all the details of the stay, and help in emergencies.
ITOs choose to work with products that will appeal to the customers that their overseas clients are selling to. Inbound tour operators are locally-based, and they work to promote the destination as a whole to interested travelers.
- Become an outbound tour operator
Outbound tour operators typically work with international travelers. They create packages and tours designed to allow travelers from one country to conveniently visit another country of their choice. For travelers, booking a tour through an outbound tour operator allows them to get everything they need in one convenient location.
The most popular area of outbound tour operators to create packages for is Europe, but other destinations like Southeast Asia, South America and the Middle East are quickly rising in popularity with international travelers. Outbound tour operators usually are ahead of the trends and know what tour operators can expect next.
- Become a tourism marketer
A successful tourism business requires a brand that speaks to its target markets, so as to successfully generate potential clients. Tourism marketing is the business discipline of attracting visitors to a specific location. This is a new way to attract traveler through inbound marketing. Tourism marketers provide guidance to visitors about attractions, culture, history and upcoming events, and conduct marketing campaigns to increase tourism.
Important qualities for working in this field include customer service and people skills, knowledge of the history and culture of the region and basic fluency in one or more languages. You should have a college degree and experience in marketing or public relations for higher-level jobs in this area.