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The Travel Builder

8-important steps before starting


a travel agency business

by
Sheila Guimalan
THE TRAVEL BUILDER
8-important steps before starting a travel agency business
By Sheila Guimalan

CONTENTS: PAGES
Acknowledgement………………………………………………………… 2
Foreword.…………………………………………………………………. 3
In the Beginning.…………………………………………………………… 4
How to put up a travel agency? …….…………………………………… 5
Eight important steps before starting a travel agency business
Step 1: Position your motivation and correct mindset to success……….… 7
Step 2: Set a practical goal.……...……………………………………… 8
Step 3: Make yourself familiar with operations procedure.……………… 10
Step 4: Applying the right marketing tools ………………………….…… 13
Step 5: Have a trusted and reliable partner/s………………….………. 19
Step 6: Have the right suppliers and operations tools …………………… 20
Step 7: Have starting capital, operating funds and growth funds………. 21
Step 8: Process legal operations permits………………………………… 22
Word of advice…………………………………………………………. 23
Closing…………………………………………………………………… 25
Information source / foot note……………………………………………. 26

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I dedicate this short book to my always supportive and loving husband Sherwin, my
sweet daughter Sky and to GOD who always guides and loves me in every way. All
praises and glory to Him!

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FOREWORD
I used to be an employee few years ago. I worked as an out-source staff in one
small department in Philippine National Bank (PNB). It was never my plan to have that
kind of job. It’s just, I don’t have a choice during those days. Aside from a small salary
of P12k pesos every month, the job was exhausting. My boss calling me every weekend,
even if it is my rest day just to ask a single question “any update?”. I don’t have my
freedom and I don’t like it.
Until I met my rich dad. I read his book “rich dad, poor dad” and learn a lot of
things about financial life. The most structing word I won’t forget is he saying, “school
system fails the young and teaches them how to be poor”. It’s hard to accept but in some
way its true. If not making them poor, it’s preparing them to go to cubicle prison. They
are molding them to be an employee and not a business person. They are practicing
them how to become a consumer not a producer.
I started working at the age of 19 and quit my first job 5 years after, transfer to
another company where I thought it would be different. That there will be no bosses to
call you on weekends to ask the undying question, “any update?”. Not long enough, new
stress came in. It was my co-worker. She has this pride “I came first, you have to obey
me” attitude. Every time I made a good job and the boss praises it, her face turns into
un-distractible tiger look, she immediately jumps to destroy my image and made me
look like imprudent. I’m not a soft-skin person type, I just felt that something is wrong to
the world I am living, and I need to do something to make a change. There, I decided
to jump out of the plane, grab my chute and start my own business.
I said I jumped off the plane first before grabbing my chute. I don’t really know if
my business will work out. Holding into thoughts that I should be successful no matter
what is the only thing I have.

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IN THE BEGINNING
I was raised by a poorest family in Norala, South Cotabato. My father was a
worker of a farmer and my mother was a sick wife. I remember working with lolo
Pulding (my grandfather) in a field at a young age of seven. The farm owner paid us
P10 per sack of harvested corn. Imagine how hard it is for a young girl. Rather than
playing with fellow children, I spend most of my sunny weekends at the corn field. My
aim was to bring something home for my sick mom. I don’t complain on my parents and
question our situation. In fact, I love them so much most specially her.
Because of poverty and my parent’s incapacity of sustaining my educational needs.
They decided to send me to my mom’s sister in Cavite, to my kind Aunt Ruth. She was
working abroad during those days. Because of her help, I finished my college with BS
business management.
My mother imparted to me that I must be successful in life no matter what, because
I would be the one destined to help my siblings. I take it seriously and thought at first
that education is the key to everything and it’s my ticket to a successful life. That’s why
since grade school up to my college day, I did not lose my spot light of being achievers
and respected students.
Till I started working, I really have that feeling that something is not right. Then I
start asking myself. Why am I born poor and why others are rich? And why others get
richer and me getting poorer the more energy I put into my work? It’s unfair, I said.
After years of realization, I finally figure out. I am destined to be a successful
business person and not a corporate slave. Now, the big question is HOW?
One day, my aunt asks me to come with them in Boracay. Wow! Boracay? Believe
it or not, it’s a big deal for me. An employee receiving P12k in a month to be in a place
like that. I accepted the offer of course! since they will pay all my expenses. Haha!
There I saw and was amazed not in the place but in number of crowds. Like to
thousands and thousands of people gathered to do their summer vacation. Into deep
curiosity, I asked my aunt, “How much did you spend for each of us?”. She then
calculated and answered, “It’s around P7k all-in”. My brain scrambled realizing the
massive profit made by a travel agency if they booked all those tourists. There are
hundreds of thousand of tourists visits Boracay every year. Let say 50% of them are

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Filipinos and let’s estimate the agencies commission per pax at P1k per head. That’s
staggering P50,000,000. Even a chunk of it will make you rich.
It is when I said, “this is the business I am looking for”. I will earn and at the same
time will enjoy the benefits by doing things I am enjoying.

HOW TO PUT UP A TRAVEL AGENCY?


How and What do I need to start one? The 2nd big question I asked myself. After
months of research. I found someone who I though can help me. They offer their service
how to start in exchange for a big sum of money. They’ll teach you all the processes
and procedures for operations including materials needed to start. But they fail in one
thing. And for me, it’s the most important part of a business. How to properly set and
market your product.
Cash flow is the blood line of this business. If you fail to create a good cash flow.
Then all your hard works and sacrifices will be for nothing.
I’ve undergone intense training for 1-month. Intense because they tried to make you
understand all procedures in just a short period of time. The rest? I’ve developed myself.
Few months after I joined the “How To Put Up Your Travel Agency Business”
program. I learned few things how travel agency business works. Its more on a technical
side. Create your own Facebook page then put all your travel products. They never
thought us how to scale up the business. And on the other hand, posting your travel
products won’t give you the sales you desire, there are more things to understand behind
than simply posting them.
2014 on the month of September when I opened my travel agency business. I
together with my husband and a friend spent more than half a million pesos to make it
operational. Because of the lack of proper marketing skills, the business suffered for
many months. It’s the worst days of my life specially when your husband lose faith on it.
I won’t forget him saying “mommy, let stop this because I don’t want to see you suffer
anymore”. It broke my heart. After the sacrifices? Giving up my career to focus all
energy and effort in starting the business, it will be all but for nothing? It felt like the
whole world fell and crushed me.

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I ignore my husband instead and prayed to God to enlighten me what should I do.
Miracle happened when he answered and made me realized that I lacked in marketing
aspect of the business. Slowly I studied how to improve it and it paved the way. New
travel marketing method was born.
2016, we invited more people to join us with our endeavor and convert the business
entity from a sole proprietor into SEC (security and exchange commission) registered
corporation. Sales poured in that made us become a proud IATA accredited travel
agency 2 years later.
Today, we belong to a few 200 plus IATA members here in the Philippines. We are
a member of DOT (department of tourism) and NAITAS (national association of
independent travel agencies). It’s our great accomplishment to become part of this
prestige group.
Royal Destination Travel And Tours Inc. with me managing it with few of my staff
grow considerably and made all past mistakes corrected.
By years of experience, I discovered plenty of things to consider before starting a
travel agency. If you don’t have those? Then it will be a challenge for you to cope up
with existing competition and market.
There are eight (8) important steps you need to understand before starting a travel
agency business. I list them according to importance. Those are:
1. Position your motivation and correct mindset to success
2. Set a practical goal
3. Make yourself familiar with operations procedure
4. Applying the right marketing methods
5. Have a trusted and reliable partner/s
6. Have right suppliers and operations tools
7. Have starting capital, operating funds and growth funds
8. Process legal operations permits
Those are the important steps you must know in order to create a successful travel
agency business. Let me share them one by one.

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STEP 1: POSITION YOUR MOTIVATION AND CORRECT MINDSET TO
SUCCESS.
If not for my motivation and correct mindset. My business would be long gone by
now. And I, would probably back to my corporate job. I was born not surrounded by
wealth but by poverty. I’ve seen and experience the worst in life. 3 days without food?
It’s a simple normal day for me. We are thankful enough if there is a GABI to eat for
the whole day. But it never stopped me from dreaming and aiming something good for
my life.
There are lots of problem you will encounter if you start any kind of business. Not
only in travel agency biz. What matters most is how you will face them. You might fall
into plenty of mixed emotions into thinking how to solve different problems. But it should
never stop you from moving. In-fact, encountering those things should make you grow
and smarter than before.
Use them instead to your advantage. You will need to learn how to leverage
problem and convert them into opportunity.
I started an independent travel agency. Meaning, I am alone! There’s no one to help
me, not even those who train me how to start. Those are the worst days of my business
career. But it never holds me back! Instead, it made me stronger and wiser and adopted
to every worst situation there is.
I love this famous quote Martin Luther King, Jr. once said “Faith is taking the first
step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”.

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STEP 2: SET A PRACTICAL GOAL
It is important to know where you wanted to be first before hoping into your faith.
Otherwise, you’re like a blind folded man who walks in a traffic road with a rushing
car where there’s no other ending but accident or death. Its like you circling around
thinking you have gone far but still on the same spot.
Set your goal a realistic one. It’s not like, “ok, I will start a travel agency business so
I would earn lots of money” then what’s next? How are you going to earn a lot of
money? Setting a realistic goal meaning setting a time frame. Weather it is a short term
or long term.
Let me get you some example.
Short term:

• I’ll start a travel agency business and make a sale of P500k in 5 months. So, I must
sell P100k a month or P3,333.33 a day.
• I want to gain my starting capital in 3 months.
• I want to retire on my day job after 5 months. Or if I’m making P40,000 a month in
a day job. I will retire till I get the same income from my business.
Long term:

• After 5 years, I want to be an IATA travel agency.


• I want to focus on my leisure activities and still make money from my business after
4 years.
• I want someone to manage my business for me after 3 years.
Short terms goal is a goal set within 0-48 months and long terms goals are the goals
set above that. You may hear this many time, but it really is powerful and proven to be
working.
There was a study conducted by Harvard Business school not long ago. They studied
financial status of a thousand students 10 years after graduation and found that:

• As many as 27% of them needed financial assistance


• 60% of them were living paycheck to paycheck
• 10% were living comfortably and
• Only 3% were financially independent.

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If there are 1000 students graduated, only 30 of them became independent or
successful financially.
Here are some very interesting facts:

• The 27% that needed financial assistance had absolutely no goal-setting processes.
• 60% that’s living paycheck to paycheck had survival goals (there are the one
running in a rat-race defined by Robert Kiyosaki)
• 10% that were living comfortably had general goals and
• The 3% that were financially independent had written out their goals and the steps
required to reach them.
I believe you can see by the set sample how important setting goal in our life is. If
you want to be belonged on that 3% and that number is small. You had to set your
goals and take it seriously.
Now, what I want you to do is, first write your goals (short and long term) and places
you are dreaming to be. Write it in a piece of paper or sticky notes and put them where
you can immediately see before you sleep at night and when you woke up in the
morning. That way, your mind will be conditioned on what or where you want to be in
the future and claim that it is yours!

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STEP 3: MAKE YOURSELF FAMILIAR WITH OPERATIONS PROCEDURE
You cannot operate or drive a car if you don’t know how to operate it. Familiarizing
yourself into what business you are trying to start is one of the most important things
you need to do. If you wanted to start a travel agency you have to raise a simple
question like, what is travel agency? Does agency focus only on selling tickets or tours
packages? How can I book an airline ticket or hotel rooms and make profit out of it?
What are the jobs of a travel agent?
Below are brief job descriptions and definitions of travel agency or travel agents.
TRAVEL AGENCY / AGENT’S JOB

• They help clients make difficult process of arranging travel needs easier in terms of
convenience and cost.

• They access and compiles the vast amount of information and resources that are
limited to an average traveler/s.

• They offer the best advises on destinations, best routes, and all-important
information that a traveler must know like, destinations weather conditions, travel
advisories and even currency exchange rates.

• They arrange the best itineraries for clients, airline bookings, hotel reservations,
tours packages, land transportation, meals and extra services requested.

During trip, Travel agency if by the request of client arranges.


• Re-booking request
• Tickets cancellations
• Additional tours
• Ticket re-issuance

Two options for a travel agency to distribute packages


• Wholesaler – travel agency creates their own tour packages and blockings.
• Retailers – travel agency sell wholesalers packages and blockings.

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TYPES OF TRAVEL AGENCY AND THEIR COMPARISON
Travel agency consist of two types. They do the same thing but differs on capability
and system access. Let’s go through it.
1. IATA accredited travel agency
IATA or International Air Transport Association is a trade association of world’s
airline. Consisting of 290 airline companies, primarily major carriers representing
117 countries, the IATA's member airlines account for carrying approximately 82%
of total available seat miles air traffic. In Philippines, PAL or Philippine Airline is the
only airline company accredited or member by IATA.

2. NON-IATA travel agency – also called by independent travel agencies or


standalone travel agencies.

Comparison of the types of travel agencies


IATA NON-IATA
Has direct access to IATA airline members Has indirect access through B2b (business
ticket prices and inventories via unique to business) system
IATA member numeric code
They have access to airline distribution Cannot issue airline ticket not unless in
system (an airline booking system) via BSP partner with IATA travel agency otherwise
(Billing and Settlement Plan) can issue by retail airline tickets via B2b
system
They’ve been approved to be a member Free from annual fees and bonds if not
via cash bond. Minimum of 20 million pesos member of any travel organizations
They follow IATA rules and regulations to Independent and free from any
hold its place as an IATA member regulations where they are not a member
of
Capable of reserving airline seats In-capable of reserving airline seats by
themselves
Can book airline tickets thru B2b systems Can book airline tickets thru B2b systems

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Can issue airline tickets by themselves thru Need IATA accredited travel agency
GDS system partner to issue airline tickets for them
Annual dues No annual dues
Can arrange tour packages, land Can arrange tour packages, land
transportation and others travel services transportation and others travel services
Have access to tour operators May have access to tour operators
otherwise go thru whole sellers travel
agencies with access to tour operators.
Can do tours and hotel booking Can do whatever IATA accredited travel
arrangements, visa assistance and other agency does in term of land and tours
travel related services. arrangements, visa assistance and other
services not related to airline ticketing

My travel agency was once a NON-IATA travel agency and thru years of hard
works, dedications and proper marketing and sales creation. We manage to become
an IATA travel agency.

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STEP 4: APPLYING THE RIGHT MARKETING TOOLS
There are close to 500,000 Filipino tourist visits Japan every year. That’s the number
of counts going to Japan alone. Aside from Japan, there are places like Singapore,
Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Hongkong, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Holy Land,
Europe and a lot more where Filipino travels each year. On the other hand, Inbound
tourist in Philippines counts at 5.3M to 6.6M approximately a year.
Imagine who benefited on that count? As we may aware of, some countries require
a traveler to have valid tourist visa before they’re allowed to visit. Travelers can’t
process visa by themselves in most cases, they’re required to go through a travel agency.
Yet again, that’s another profit count.
Travel business in the Philippines keeps on striving accommodating tours alone. There
is wide market of OFW deploying company or man power (land base or sea based)
as well. Overseas Filipino Workers worldwide counts at 2.3 million. Even if you divide
those number in all travel agency in the Philippines, profit is still massive, but only few
travel agencies know how close deal with them leaving other far from race.
Adding to the number, the list of travelers deployed by corporations or private
companies. They send their employees once or twice a year to recreational tours Inter
Islands or overseas. Travelers at this market reached at more than thousands too.
As well, universities and colleges number in the Philippines is extremely high. Most
of them carry their excursion (field trip) every year. If you could close some deals with
them, your travel agency business with be profitable.
Travel agency business is a profitable business if you do it right but can extremely
cost you if you don’t know how the system works.

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SET YOUR NICHE MARKET
Plenty of new born travel agency are making mistake by selling all travel product
at once without enough manpower to focus on all products leaving them bombarded on
the task.
Niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused. The
market niche defines the product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as
well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that it is intended to
target. It is also a small market segment.
If you want to grow your sales considerably. Start by focusing on one product alone.
This is also where I committed my biggest mistake when starting up. I thought selling all
product at once would be good but turns out that it’s not! I made plenty of un-correct
bookings that made my client don’t come back and charge me with re-booking fees.
If you are planning to start this kind of business. Choose one product first. If you
choose ticketing, focus on marketing and selling airline tickets. If you choose to sell tour
products weather domestic or international. Pick one tourist spot only. Familiarized
yourself at the place then market and sell it. As your company grows and additional
staff came in, then that’s the only time you could add more tourist spot to sell.
This is how I manage to travel for free. Most tour operators will offer you a free
familiarization tour. They’ll cover all expenses, from hotel and transportation fees up to
touring. Sometimes all you need to take care is your flight tickets and food allowances.
This is what I like the most in a travel agency business. You get to place you once
dreamed of for a big chunk of discounts and sometimes at zero cost.

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PERSON TO PERSON SELLING IS LONG GONE
Nobody wants to be sold physically. Have you experience those times at shopping
mall where an insurance agent approached and force you to go to their office and buy
their insurance product? How does it feel?
I am not against insurance or insurance agents. I just don’t like the way they consume
my time by listening to their sales pitches. It’s just so old and obsolete!
How about your consumer or client come to you at their own will? Wouldn’t it be ok?
It’s like you’re going to attract them to buy your travel products even if you don’t speak
a single word. Well, that is how the way it should works today! Leverage your time by
not selling physically to your clients.
We are now shifting into computer world. Everywhere you look. People are holding
phones, connected to internet and checking their social media account. Brochures are not
working anymore! You can prove it yourself. Try giving brochure to your prospect client,
and after few minutes, go to a nearest trash can. Believe me, you’ll find your brochure
their together with other garbage. Your new brochure should be an electronic one.
Nobody want to throw their phone on the garbage bin by the way? =)

LOCATION DOESN’T MATTER


With the merging internet world. Office locations matters the least. In-fact my travel
agency is located at a height of 3rd floor building with steep stair steps, no elevator.
We still make sales today. Online.
Most of the traveler moved into online bookings. What should you be focusing on is
how you’ll get your familiarity on social media platforms. Create a page and boost it!
Make at least 3,000 page likes and sales will start to pour in. Boosting is expense you
said? Remember this, at any point of your life if you find starting a business as an
expense, then it will be an expense. But if you look at it as an investment, its going to
be an investment. There is no way you could find your audience without spending a
single cent online. Take it as your investment, and money will come back to you.

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MANAGE IT RIGHT AND YOU’LL GET THIS
With the right marketing method and tools, you can earn a considerable amount in
a travel agency business.
We started our operation as a NON-IATA travel agency focused as a wholesaler
and retailer at the same time catering corporate account and individual / group
travelers. Now that we've become IATA, the existence of our operation is still the same
but on a larger scale.
Let’s have a look how my travel agency works and earns.
Royal Destination Travel and Tours Inc.’s current set up.

❖ Manpower Company A – deploys 300 – 600 overseas Filipino worker in middle east.
❖ Manpower Company B – deploys 300 – 600 overseas Filipino worker in Hongkong.
Month 1:

• 300 airline tickets X P1,500 (mark-up) each ticket = P450,000 (income to


manpower A)
• 300 airline tickets X P375 (mark-up) each ticket = P112,500 (income to manpower
B).
• Individual / Group travelers booking to tours / visa assistance and other services
80 Pax / month X P1,000 = P80,000
• Gross income: P642,500
Month 2:

• 600 airline tickets X P1,500 (mark-up) each ticket = P900,000 (income to


manpower A)
• 600 airline tickets X P375 (mark-up) each ticket = P225,000 (income to manpower
B).
• Individual / Group travelers booking to tours / visa assistance and other services
80 Pax / month X P1,000 = P80,000
• Gross income: P1,205,000

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Month 3:

• 300 airline tickets X P1,500 (mark-up) each ticket = P450,000 (income to


manpower A)
• 300 airline tickets X P375 (mark-up) each ticket = P112,500 (income to manpower
B).
• Individual / Group travelers booking to tours / visa assistance and other services
80 Pax / month X P1,000 = P80,000
• Gross income: P642,500
Month 4:

• 600 airline tickets X P1,500 (mark-up) each ticket = P900,000 (income to


manpower A)
• 600 airline tickets X P375 (mark-up) each ticket = P225,000 (income to manpower
B).
• Individual / Group travelers booking to tours / visa assistance and other services
80 Pax / month X P1,000 = P80,000
• Gross income: P1,205,000
4-month average gross sales: P923,750

HERE’S HOW YOU COULD EARN THROUGH INDIVIDUAL / GROUP TRAVELERS


BOOKING TO TOURS / VISA ASSISTANCE AND OTHER SERVICES

❖ Airline tickets:
• Domestic Airline tickets (via B2b system) – Air tickets booked in a flight anywhere
domestic.
➢ 10pax X P300 = P3,000.00
• International Airline tickets (via B2b system) – Air tickets booked in a
international flight
➢ 10pax X P500 = P5,000.00
• International Airline tickets (via GDS system) – Air tickets booked in a
international flight with IATA travel agency partner.
➢ 10pax X P1,000 to P2,000 = P10,000.00 to P20,000

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❖ Tour Packages:
• Domestic Tour packages – Tour Packages booked in Philippines only.
➢ 10pax X P1,000 = P10,000
• International Tour packages – Tour Packages booked International.
➢ 10pax X P2,000 to P4,000 = P20,000.00 to P40,000
❖ Hotel bookings:
• Domestic hotel bookings – Hotel accommodation booked in Philippines depends
on hotel class
➢ 10pax X P4,000 to P6,000 = P40,000.00 to P60,000
• International hotel bookings – Hotel accommodation booked International.
➢ 10pax X P4,000 to P6,000 = P40,000.00 to P60,000
❖ Visa processes:
• Visa processing – International visa processing service fee
Asian countries
➢ 10pax X P3,000 = P30,000.00
European countries
➢ 5pax X P10,000 = P50,000.00
America
➢ 5pax X P15,000 = P75,000.00
❖ Other documents processing:
➢ 10pax X P500 = P5,000.00

Let summarized the total sale you could make through Individual / Group travelers
booking to tours / visa assistance and other services at conservative rate:

❖ Airline tickets: P13,000


❖ Tour Packages: P30,000
❖ Hotel bookings: P80,000
❖ Visa processes: P155,000
❖ Other documents processing: P5,000
Total: P283,000

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Remember, for you to attain this kind of sales, start by focusing on one travel product
first. As you create sales, slowly scale up and expand your operation.
Your expense calculations defend how you set up your travel agency. In our case.
We are renting office, paying staff and utilities that made our expense quite big but
way below than our monthly gross sales.
You can do a home-based travel agency as well to save some at your start up.

STEP 5: HAVE A TRUSTED AND RELIABLE PARTNER/S


After I completed my 1-month familiarization training. I was on my own. There is a
minimal to zero support from them. I have that feeling that I was left alone after they
get my money. It’s not really a good experience. On the other hand, they introduce me
to travel business world, still thankful for them.
I look for my reliable partners myself. I contacted all IATA travel agencies in the
city to ask for assistance in ticketing. Even the B2b (business to business) system (an
airline ticket booking system), I ask for a friend’s help to connect me. I even contacted
all GSA (general sales agents) those are the agents focus on selling airline ticket by one
airline company alone, dedicated agencies.
It’s not a pleasure experience. But by those, I learned and grow a lot. I get smarter
every day. I slowly understand how the industry works and functions.
For you to take your short-cut into becoming a travel operations expert. You must
find your trusted and reliable partner/s. The benefits should be mutual, they gain every
time you book your airline tickets and you earn something from it as well. It’s quite hard
to find them though, but not impossible.

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STEP 6: HAVE THE RIGHT SUPPLIERS AND OPERATIONS TOOLS
For you to fully operate as a full-service travel agency. You need to have the right
suppliers.
SUPPLIERS:
1. Domestic tour operators – They will provide you all tour packages available in
the area. One good example of domestic tour operator company is UNIVERSAL
PLANET of Palawan, Philippines. They arrange all kinds of tour services in their
area. They are the experts and they are the ones who’s familiar with the place.
They take care the needs of your customers.
2. International tour operators – They are the locals of they country. Tour operators
are limited to sell tour packages related to their country only. They have the same
job as those on domestic tour operators. One good tour operator internationally
is GTMC who caters tours in Asian country.
3. IATA travel agency – They are the one who supplies you with your airline ticketing
needs internationally. One good example is my company ROYAL DESTINATION
TRAVEL AND TOURS INC. We cater international airline tickets. We represent
IATA airline companies to sell their airline seats. Sometimes, we are P5k-P10k
cheaper (long-haul flights) than the published (online) rates.
4. GSA (general sales agent) partner for booking domestic flights – They are a
travel agency with a sole purpose of selling airline ticket of airline company they
are in partner with. They serve one airline company only. One good example of
GSA is TRAFALGAR of Cebu Pacific Air. Some IATA travel agency set special
agreement with airlines as well. My company is bonded with Philippine Airlines in
selling domestic air tickets making us a little bit cheaper than online.

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RIGHT TOOLS
1. B2b (business to business) system – It is an airline booking system where you could
book airline tickets. Most of the time, it has the same price online. But a little bit
cheaper at times as well. Not a good tool in booking hotel accommodation
because it’s way expensive than contracted rates offered to travel agency
partners.
2. Proper templates – A very important tool and a must. Samples of this templates
are booking forms, invoice form, ticket confirmation forms and vouchers. Your
business needs this form and it is the one you send to your client as a proof that
their requested services is processed.
3. Accounting program – A very important tool in monitoring your sales, expenses
and filing tax obligations.
4. Loan agreement form – You use this form if you are going to raise funds to expand
your operations.

STEP 7: HAVE STARTING CAPITAL, OPERATING FUNDS AND GROWTH


FUNDS.
STARTING CAPITAL FUNDS
If you are decided to start a travel agency business. You will be needing a capital.
Its like come on? Can you start a business without capital? The question you should ask
is how will I get that capital?
There are lots of ways to raise your starting capital. It can be from your savings
and you can apply the thing called OPM, a short for OTHER PEOPLES MONEY. This is
the hardest part in starting a business. But if you can create a concrete business plan. It
is not impossible to convince other people to invest in you and your business.
On my case, I presented a business plan to my husband and his friend and convinced
them to join my endeavor. I’m blessed because they agreed with terms and conditions
set in place.

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OPERATING FUNDS
You will need operating funds to sustain your company’s expenses. If you decided
to set up an office-based travel agency. You’ll need at least 4-6 times your monthly
expenses. This is for preparation and your introduction to market. Very few travel
agencies make immediate sale on their opening. I have the same outcome right after I
started my travel agency. It took me 6-12 months before my sales get stable. One
factor why it took me that long is because I started and experiment on my own. On the
other hand, if you will use other people’s expertise, then there is a higher change to
gain or return your investment in a shorter period.
GROWTH FUNDS
When you start to make sales, you must allot growth fund to scale up your business.
A certain percentage must be dedicated on a sole purpose of expanding your business
reach. Right after I started to gain more sales, I allot portion of it as an investment fund
into our man power company partners. The sales it makes on the manpower compound
every transaction that makes it grow exponentially in a short period of time.
You can also use OPM as a growth fund in exchange for a promise return annually.
This strategy will help you scale up your business 10x faster than normal growth rate.
Be careful on raising fund though. You should limit it to your inner circle as much as
possible, so you retain your full control of the funds and operation.

STEP 8: PROCESS LEGAL OPERATIONS PERMITS


Weather you wanted to set home-base or office-based travel agency. You will
need to have a legal operations permit. Simply follow government law so they will not
run after you. When it comes to BIR (bureau of internal revenue), you may want to
always be transparent on your income statement.
Here’s the list of permit you need before you can legally operate.
1. Barangay permits
2. Municipal permits
3. DTI or SEC permits
4. BIR permits

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WORD OF ADVICE
We cannot ignore the fact that in all aspect of business there will always be a
competition. In fact, to this age, we should always look for a competition. Why?
COMPETITION = EARNINGS
If there is a competition means someone is already earning on that market. The
many the competition the better it is. You don’t need to compete with them. What you
need to do is separate yourself by showing that you have something that they don’t.
How?

⚫ By having a direct connection to the right suppliers. It will give you an immediate
advantage. You’ll be called wholesaler TA with this regard.
⚫ By having a reliable and trusted IATA partner if you are a NON-IATA travel agency
gives you an advantage as well. It will give you a competitive advantage in terms of
serving airline tickets.
You may ask. How are we going to compete with emerging online websites who
offers travel promos?
Well, you don’t need to compete with them. Travel market especially Filipinos still
chooses a live person to make their transaction with. They want actual interactions and
transaction to those who speak to them physically or online. And there is someone to
turn to if something came up (good or bad) during their trip.
On online bookings. Due to number of people worldwide who uses it, it’s quite hard
to connect and request for their quality customers service since they are interacting with
large number of people.
What services a travel agency can offer?

❖ Airline arrangements
❖ Land arrangements
• Hotel reservations
• Tour packages
• Day tour packages
• Visa assistance

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❖ Combination
• Airline + Land arrangements
❖ Cruises packages
❖ Tourist VISA assistance
❖ Documentation assistance
• NSO
• Passports processing assistance
• NBI clearance appointments
• Other services
Having said so. It is your advantage to operate as a wholesaler if not all but at
least in some destinations. It’s the same as this concept.
SUPPLIERS – DIVISORIA – CAVITE RETAIL STORE – CONSUMERS
SUPPLIERS – WHOLE SALE TRAVEL AGENCY – RETAIL TRAVEL AGENCY –
CUSTOMERS or
SUPPLIERS – WHOLE SALE / RETAIL TRAVEL AGENCY – CUSTOMERS
Positioning yourself on the third sample is your biggest competitive advantage.
Customers, especially average Filipino travelers love to book where they know they can
have a discount.
But on the other hand. If you want to build a brand. Price doesn’t matter. Service
does. There are customers who doesn’t care how much they pay long as they get the
quality service they’re demand.

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CLOSING:
What is time freedom? There are lots of definition to this one. Some say it is a
freedom to move deliberately through the world and do all things you desire the most.
On my own definition, time freedom is your freedom not to worry about your
detriment while doing things you want, like and love. It is everything life can offer.
I would say travel agency it is not the only tool that offers time freedom. It always
starts deep within yourself. Proper mindset plus right attitude equals success.
I greatly believe that all people are born entrepreneur. It’s just most people don’t
find it. It’s like a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered.
The answer will always be on your own hand. Taking necessary steps and actions
gives big impact on your personal success.
And most importantly. GOD. None of this was made possible if not for Him. He will
give you wisdom necessary to manage all hard parts. It’s thru His grace and mercy that
made impossible things possible. All because of him and him alone.
There is no easy road to success. If you are comfortable enough on where you are
right now, you don't need to take extra actions. Staying in your comport zone in not
bad. It’s completely fine. There’s nothing wrong with it, at least today.
You must ask yourself. Where will you be at your old age? Are you 100% sure that
you can still work at your 60’s? Or you will just rely on your retirement benefits or
children once you reach that point of your life. Those are just few questions you need to
ask yourself. Security or Freedom? It’s your choice.
I love everyone in Christ. And I want you to achieve the same freedom I did. That’s
the main purpose of this book. Sharing is one of His will. Be a channel of blessings to
others.
May God bless us all!

Guiding your travel!

Sheila Guimalan

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INFORMATION SOURCES:
https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/419387 - filipino tourist to japan data

https://psa.gov.ph/statistics/survey/labor-force/sof-index - ofw statistical data

https://www.dti.gov.ph/resources/statistics/tourist-arrivals - philippine tourist arrival data

FOOT NOTE:
Did you find this book beneficial and informative? If it does. Please do me a favor
by liking and following my facebook page. Thank you!
Facebook: @travuildacademy

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