A travel agency provides travel related services to clients and eliminate difficulties attached to purchasing of tickets, vouchers and travel packages to clients who plan to travel for business or pleasure. They make travelling much easier for customers. Ghana is one country where the people travel a lot and as a result always in need of the services of travel agencies.
People who are considering traveling for the first time depend to a large extent on the services of travel agencies to obtain the necessary documents and information, which creates opportunities to create this lucrative business.
Obviously, the opportunity to succeed in a travel agency business is there and enormous. This is why we have provided below some basics on how to operate a travel agency in Ghana.
Get Trained and Make the necessary inquiry
To start your travel agency in Ghana, you need to acquire the necessary training that will make you succeed in this business. You can also contact other travel agencies to find out how they work.
Alternatively, you can apply for a job at a popular travel agency as you will gain a lot of experience during the time you spend with them. The experience you will gain from working with these established travel agencies will help you manage yours.
Come up with a business plan
The first thing you need to do in setting up any business is to come up with a business plan that will outline your services, define target market and provide a financial plan. This spells out how the business will look like and how you are going to meet your set targets.
A good business plan must fit the business needs, must be realistic and implementable, must be specific so that you can track the results against the plan and it must get people committed to achieving the plans set. So you need to build a business plan that will help you succeed with your new travel agency. If you can not do it yourself, you can get professionals to help you at a fee.
Get a Good Location for an Office
Now you have finished your plan and want to get started. You need to rent an office in a location where you can get a lot of people coming to inquire of your business. Preferably, a city where there are embassies and airports because most people travelling will always come around. In Ghana, you can think of Accra, Tema, Kumasi and the other regional capitals.
Register your Business and Fufil other Legal Requirements
Starting a travel agency business in Ghana requires you to fulfil certain legal requirements. Register your business with the Registrar Generals Department. Register with the Ghana Tourism Authority. The Ghana Tourism Authority enumerates these mandatory requirement that need to be met:
Certificates, Regsitered Office, Personnel of which one should have successfully completed certified ticketing course or IATA/UFTA Diploma and additional two (2) years experience within the last four years with an IATA approved agency or airline. Get more details here
Open a business bank account
Once your business registration is completed, you can open a business account with any of the commercial banks. This will help you to perform business transactions in your business name and give your travel agency a professional image and thus, prevent any interference with your personal bank account.
Create a Brand for your Travel Agency
Brand building is important for every business, which includes your travel agency. Brand image is about creating a perception about your business and its products or services. Design an impressive logo for your travel agency. Design other materials like letterheads, brochures, business cards etc. For brand consistency, make sure the typeface and color are consistent with all your visuals. This will make customers think positively of your business and patronise it.
Partner with a bigger company
At first you may need to work as an agent to a bigger company selling their packages for a commission. Since you may not be popular at first, to compete with other long-standing agencies that have generated enough revenue, you should try to align your activities with them. In doing so, you will know and increase your knowledge in the industry. This will help you when you decide to do things on your own.
Join a travel agencies association
Find out if a travel agencies association exist and join the association of this professional organization, as this will also increase your credibility and popularity. Through professional organizations, you will come in contact with other top travel agencies who would like to be with you or help you.
Promote your business
To grow your business it must be promoted aggressively on different platforms. Since not many people are very familiar with your new agency, launch an aggressive campaign to target customers. They should know that your business exists.
Use all means of marketing and advertisements to communicate the existence of your business through a combination of media such as radio, newspapers, magazines, social media, posters, fliers, etc.
Create a dedicated social media page for different social media channels including facebook and twitter and post content regarding your travel agency regularly informing people about latest developments in your business like price cuts or a new feature you added for your customers.
Build Customer Relationship
No business can thrive without their customers. Focus on building customer relationship by paying attention to your customers and building rapport with them. Train your staff on how to handle customers who have used your services already and potential customers who will use your service in future.
You may compensate regular customers as a means of encouraging them to patronise your services the next time.
The management of a travel agency can be difficult for a person with little or no experience, but experienced business people appreciate it and derive sufficient benefits. The guidelines explained above will help members of those already in the business and those planning to start their business. Get training, plan your business and get the necessary legal backing to help you succeed in your travel agency.