Yes, it is true. You can make money online working from home and can actually make a lot of money if you work hard, stay focused and execute. You can build a home travel business and live the Internet lifestyle you always dreamed of by operating an online home travel business. This article will put to rest any misgivings you may have had about starting an online travel business. I will not sugarcoat it. In fact, much of what I have to say will probably cause an uproar in some parts of the online travel industry. I am aiming to tell it like it is.
Who really Makes Money in Online Travel. The truth is that you can’t really make a lot of money reselling other businesses’ travel products. This statement is directed towards the home-based travel agent market. Yes, it’s easy to get started as a home-based travel agent, and the online travel agencies can provide you with your own personalized white label branded website, including quality customer support, but in the end, you are NOT building a business; you are only paying yourself a salary.
Don’t be fooled.
I am amazed at the amount of junk that there is online catering to the make money online from home crowd, touting selling travel as the route to freedom and riches. This truth is probably the most important fact anyone will ever tell you if you are thinking about entering the online travel business. Let me repeat this for you one more time.
It isn’t easy to become rich and build a company reselling other companies’ travel products. You can become rich over time by building a business that sells your own uniquely branded travel products. You can get rich and build a business if you “own the travel product.”
Owning the travel product means that you are contracting directly with travel suppliers under your company’s own contracts; you are not just reselling a travel product owned by another travel business, tour operator, travel agency, or travel consolidator. Your business creates the travel product by doing deals directly with travel suppliers. Your contracts with the travel suppliers become your business’s own unique inventory for the travel products you will be selling. The new travel product becomes your own brand. Your online travel business sells the travel product directly to consumers online or wholesales it too other travel agencies, travel agents, tour operators, and resellers.
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The Home-based Travel Agent Dilemma.
I know I am opening up a can of worms here by disclosing this information, but it’s really the truth. My intent is not to knock anyone down but to provide insight into how the online travel business really works and to show you WHO is really making money and how you can make real money by deciding from the get-go actually to build a business.
Yes, if you want to make $20,000-$50,000 working from home, then reselling cruises or popular travel products will be the best option for you. Still, if you want to make real money, six or seven figures, and build a business with real tangible value and can be sold later, you need to develop and sell your own travel products.
The Internet is NOT causing Travel Agencies to shut down.
The main reason that brick-and-mortar travel agencies are closing is not because of the Internet but because all they are really doing is reselling other companies’ travel products. The Internet contributed to the destruction of the traditional brick-and-mortar travel agency, but the biggest factor in the downfall of travel agencies. It’s really a business model established to fail in the long run.
How do you own your own travel product? You can own your own travel product in two different ways.
1. Your business acts as a travel supplier providing tours, guiding, travel, and tourism-related activities, or you own a lodging property.
2. Your business partners with two or more travel suppliers to resell their individual travel products under a unique package that you own.
What type of Online Travel Business do I need to start to own my own travel product, sell packages and build a real business?
-Online Travel Agency
-Online Tour Operator
-Online Tour Guide
-Online Travel Broker
-Receptive Tour Operator
Let’s discuss a little about each type. There are many directions you can go.
OTAs or Online Travel Agencies traditionally sell everything underneath the sun, including lodging, air, cars, vacation packages, and much more. On a hierarchy level of all online travel businesses, this would be the most expensive and challenging online business type to start. It’s doable, don’t get me wrong, it would just take much longer and be more expensive to startup.
If you second-tier niche and focus on contracting your own lodging deals and contracting with activity suppliers, you could easily build a smaller, more focused OTA. Another option would be to utilize the Global Distribution System (GDS) for air, car, and lodging that you could not contract yourself. I don’t recommend this last option as you’ll be just reselling the product you don’t own, but as long as you can combine the non-owned GDS products with your own contracted travel products, you could create a nice win-win for the bottom line.
Online Tour Operators sell dynamically packaged trips and pre-packaged trips to vacationers. Building an online tour operator business is your best option for building a successful online travel business.
Let me first state that the name is a little miss conceiving because of the word “Tour.” There is a big difference between a tour and a trip. On tour, there usually is a tour guide or person leading the tour with the travel participants. The traveler travels by themselves or with other people on a trip, but there is no tour guide involved. In the travel business, they call this a FIT trip, Drive vacation, or Fly-Drive package.
I favor selling trips, where the traveler buys a tour or trip product then attends the trip by themselves on their own time. The reason being for this is two parts.
1. You don’t have to be the tour guide, and you don’t have to hire one either.
2. You have 100% more freedom by not actually participating in the tour itself. Just think of the time involved in actually going on a tour with a group or individual people.
We operated tours when my wife and I owned the Yellow Breeches House Fly Fishing Lodge and B&B. We ran fly fishing excursions with lodging and guiding. Guess who was one of the guides? Yes, you got it. Yours truly. I would not change the past for anything. I learned so much from being a fly fishing guide and owning a lodging property. I wouldn’t want to rerun that type of business. There are much better travel business models out there. What’s part of the beauty about this report is that I can share some true life realities with you.
Sell Trips, not Tours. This is the most important thing I can tell you regarding wanting to live the Internet lifestyle and working from home, enjoying the freedom from owning your own online travel company. You won’t be living any Internet lifestyle if every week you are giving tours.
Online Tour Guide’s provide tours to individuals and or groups. If I didn’t scare you off from above, that’s ok, the tour guide business is great, and it’s easy to get started with limited investment. This is a great business to enter the travel business and start learning how to build a business.
If you love dealing with people and spending much of your time outside, then this is probably the best travel business for you. This is serious work, day-in-and-day-out, as you are always outside in the elements. This travel business could be a stepping-stone for you to go ahead then and build an online tour operator business. I have a perfect friend that owns a kayaking guide service. He runs eco-adventures that include islands hoping for three to five nights. He loves it.
Let me share a little strategy with you that will totally change the way you build or grow your existing tour guide business. Hopefully, you’ll already see it and be way ahead of me by now, but if not, here it is.
Create packages for your tour guide business, including lodging, meals, and your guide or tour service. You probably sell trips, guiding, and or tours as an hourly or day product. Take the next step and package in lodging and meals and maybe a third activity. Sell packages to your clients, and you will super-charge your revenue in a huge way.
Take an existing kayak guide that sells day trips for $250 for 2 people. Now create overnight packages. Create a new product line for your business.
1. Contract with a lodging supplier to buy lodging for your kayak packages.
2. Contract with two local restaurants to buy dinners for your kayak packages.
3. Sell a 2 night, 1-day kayak excursion with 2-dinners. Make money off the lodging, dinners, and a 3rd activity, and you can seriously start adding more profits to your business.
Online Travel Broker – this is a new business category I stumbled upon. I believe this is a type of business you could start with literally no money. It’s just a matter of understanding the travel business. Here is how an online travel broker operates.
Every travel supplier needs sales representatives. Your travel broker business contracts with travel suppliers to represent their business and help them sell more of their travel products. Many smaller travel businesses don’t have sales representatives. This may be your entry into the online travel business industry.
Let’s say you live in a resort town or area, and there are 4 golf courses nearby or 3 ski resorts. You represent the travel supplier’s products, finding larger partners and resellers that would resell or distribute your client’s products. This business is just a matter of finding other travel suppliers that need sales representatives and finding larger companies looking for new travel products to sell and distribute. You make money by earning a percentage of all future sales booked or earn a flat fee per contract you sign. This would be a great way to enter the travel business as a part-time business. You could start with not much investment and build out slowly.
Receptive Tour Operators receive inbound travelers from foreign countries. This is a B2B business (business-to-business). You build an Online Tour Operator business, but you don’t sell your travel products directly to consumers or vacationers online; you sell your owned travel products to wholesalers or other tour operators in foreign countries that then resell them directly to travel agencies and the consumers in their country. If you live in a world-renowned destination area or region where foreigners visit, you can build a successful receptive tour operator business. The receptive tour operator business takes longer to develop as the buyers of your travel products will be other travel companies, tour operators, and seasoned travel businesses who won’t necessarily want to do business with a new or just startup mode. Adversity can be overcome, though, through focus, determination, and having an owned travel product that a wholesaler or foreign tour operator believes he can sell and make money.
The Hybrid – build an Online Tour Operator business that caters to individual vacation travelers. After the business starts selling trips and or tours, start building a Receptive Tour Operator business component.