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How to start a tourist agency in the UK: legal and practical steps to consider

How to start a tourist agency in the UK: legal and practical steps to consider

Operating a tourist agency can be an exciting career choice. Whether you’re sending people to the ski slopes in Switzerland or on jungle tours through the Amazon, being a tourist agent can make you experience the adventures of your clients vicariously on a daily basis.

In order to realize your career, you’ll need to do a lot of research. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the practical and legal requirements first so that you don’t run into problems.

What is your dream?
You don’t want to try to be all things to all people because it will weaken your efforts in any one particular area. Think about where your passions and knowledge intersect and where you can find your own personal niche. This will be a fundamental first step in making your mark.

Even if you do create what you believe is a unique approach, remember that travel is an extremely popular business these days and it is likely that others are providing at least some of the same services as you. So you’ll want to do a lot of research to figure this out so you can determine exactly where you stand vis a vis the competition.

Determine your target market
You may have a dream of your own that you think is fabulous, but to run a successful company you’ll want to be sure that your idea fits with a certain level of demand among the population.

You should spend a sufficient amount of time determining what type of demographic would be interested in your tours. If there are related companies out there with similar services, do some research on who their clientele is. This will be critical to your marketing efforts as well.

Get registered
Depending on where your business will be located, you will need to take various steps to get registered. If you are in the UK, you’ll need to ensure first of all that your chosen business name is unique. You can determine this by checking it against local and national trademark records.

In some countries, you need an actual license to run a tourist agency. Although this is not the case in the UK, joining an association will give you added credibility with your potential target audience. Many companies are members of the Association of British Travel Agents, for example.

Establish your business plan
Before you launch your business, you’ll need to have a fully constructed business plan. For one thing, you need to determine your staffing needs. How many people will it take to run your business successfully?

Arguably the most critical component of the plan will be determining your initial cash flow. There are many factors to consider during this assessment, including Covid-related travel restrictions.

Create your online presence
You’ll also want to create a strong social media presence. After defining the name of your business, look for a list of domain extensions that you might choose from. Then you can choose a name and work on populating your company website.

In addition, your social media presence should include any other media relevant to your target demographic. If you are trying to appeal to young people, having a solid presence on Instagram, for example, will be essential.

Related to this is how you will store your company’s information. You should look into cloud hosting services for options of how to maintain your business operations online.

Get insured
Another critical element to establishing your business will be getting the right insurance. Travel can be a risky business and you don’t want to end up potentially liable for an accident that takes place in an adventure park.

In the UK, you will first of all need to get standard liability insurance and the ABTA bond. If you are planning to include air travel as part of your services offered, you will also need an Air Travel Organizers’ Licensing license.

Go through your checklist
Taking all these steps might take time, but in the end it will be worth it. Once you’ve ensured that your agency meets all the necessary criteria, you’ll be ready to launch. And you can share your love of travel with the world.