Thinking about starting your own business is exciting. So many options to choose from. And one of those options is a franchise – restaurants, cleaning companies, oil change services, lawn care, hair and nail salons, leisure and entertainment, and, yes even travel and tourism agencies.
The travel industry may sound really attractive to you. Perhaps you have traveled a lot already and are passionate about the prospect of planning great trips or tours for other travelers.
But before you move headlong into a travel/tourism franchise, there are some things to think about
Benefits of Buying a Franchise
One of the best things about buying a franchise as opposed to starting a business from scratch is that a lot of the legwork has been done in advance.
Buying a franchise means you do not have to develop a business plan from scratch; you don’t have to develop your own products or services, and you don’t have to market and advertise an unknown quality (unless, of course, the business is a new one).
Of course, you will pay for these benefits, in terms of the initial franchise fee and, in most cases, royalty fees or percentage of sales to the corporation. And there will be a contract that will dictate a lot of your business practices. While some see these as disadvantages, there are those who like the security of having so many of the decisions already made for them, as well as the support of the home office staff.
Questions to Ask Yourself and the Franchisor
- Are You a Rule-Follower or a Rule Breaker?
- Owning a franchise means someone else has set the rules that you must follow. If you have a freer spirit and like to innovate, this may not be for you.
- Are you passionate about the product or service? If you love everything about travel, then this indeed may be the franchise for you.
- Do you have enough money, or can you find the financing to buy the franchise? And just the franchise and royalty fees are not the only expenses you will have. You will need a physical location, in many instances, supplies, marketing, insurance, and your own personal living expenses until the business is profitable.
- What other franchises can you talk with? You need to do your due diligence and dig deep into how other franchises are faring.
- How long has the company been in business?
- How many franchises do they have and where are they?
- How close to you will they potentially open other franchises?
- What are the backgrounds of the corporate officers?
- How much profit can you expect to make after a year in business?
- What training and coaching will you receive?
- What is the length of the contract and can you sell your franchise when you wish?
Now, About the Travel Industry in General
Clearly, the travel industry is a thriving one. People take vacations. And when they travel to unknown places, especially outside of their own countries, services of tour agencies are in demand. And certainly, the convenience of having all of the travel plans made and taken care of by a professional is an attractive option. In a recent Deloitte report, moreover, the travel industry in 2019 will be healthy and growing, having fully rebounded from the recession that hit a decade ago.
And because technology now drives much of the travel industry, franchisees can often work from home or in shared workspaces, reducing overhead costs significantly.
Is It for You?
If travel and tourism is our passion, certainly you begin with a big plus. But remember this: loving travel for yourself does not necessarily mean that entering the industry on a career level will be successful or bring you happiness. There is a huge difference.
Let’s take a look at some of what a travel franchise will entail.
- As mentioned above, the business will be office- or home-based and entail lots of technology
- You will be responsible for planning and organizing vacations/holidays for others, not yourself. And as a franchise, there may be pre-determined hotels, tours, etc. for at least some of the destinations.
- Your business will be heavily customer-service based. You will be dealing one-on-one with customers, and the acting as a liaison with airlines, hotels, entertainment venues, tour companies, via phone, email, messaging, etc. Some of this communication may involve translations into other languages, and for that you may need the services of a professional agency like The Word Point, to translate communications and other documents.
- You will need to be highly organized, often juggling numerous client travel plans at the same time, resolving issues and problems that arise during client travels, and seeking comments, reviews, and feedback from those clients.
- You will need marketing skills because you will be selling yourself as well as your travel packages and customized planning skills. Ideally, your franchisor provides assistance with marketing.
This is the reality of the daily tasks you will encounter. Certainly, your wealth of experience as a seasoned traveler yourself allows you to establish “connections” with your clients, and that is a big plus. Just remember that owning a travel franchise does not mean that you will be traveling to new and exotic places yourself.
In the End
A travel franchise has a good chance for success – the industry is booming and if you are a part of an established enterprise with a good reputation, you will be able to “piggy-back” on that reputation. Be mindful, though, of what the business really entails, so you know just what you are getting into. And who knows? If you turn that franchise into a nice profit, you can still satisfy your own passion for travel.
Erica Sunarjo is a writer and translator with a Master’s degree in Marketing. She combines her passion for writing with her interest in research and creates thought-provoking content in various fields. What inspires her the most in her writing is traveling and meeting new people.