Starting a home business for travel, regardless of economic conditions, will thrive when entrepreneurs have the correct tools and best practices. Very few, worldwide, don’t remember the events of September 11, 2001. The entire American aviation industry was shut down for several hours however; air travel quickly picked back up and continues to be among the most popular forms of transportation. There are many reasons for this but chief is the need to go from one place to another. Whether a business meeting, family time, conference or certainly vacation, travel related services will continue to be in high demand. A big picture view is the collective need for convenience related transportation is a primary driver and in the early part of the last decade, websites like Orbitz, Priceline and others capitalized by becoming primary, Internet based service providers. Recently, the Travel Industry Associated of America, known as TIA, published research indicating travel and tourists related services accounted for $1.3 Trillion of the entire American gross domestic product (GDP). For ‘bean counters’ – that is equivalent to just over $3.3 Billion per day! Travel experts offer a wide variety of niche services and future travel business owners who locate, provide and effectively build customer bases will shoot to the top.
Niche services mean putting focus in one key area of an industry and developing products and services to fulfill that particular need. When producing our Work at Home Business series, we had the opportunity to write for several niche, travel related business concerns. Creating content (article writing) was part of producing this series (Make Money on Fiverr) and having done so, a trend began to emerge with small travel businesses – each focused on one travel destination as opposed to being ‘jack(s) of all trades and master of none’. Where is this leading? When beginning the incredible journey to business success, locate a travel destination you’d enjoy servicing, focus on that niche, alone, and add other services as each becomes profitable. Future service additions don’t necessarily have to be focused on transportation exclusively. This could mean selling travel packages which included profitable, value added services such as dining out, recreation, tours etc.
Regardless of the travel destination, those who ultimately succeeded began with a single, core focus and added other services later.
There are several ‘over-saturated’ markets we suggest avoiding for small, under-capitalized startups;
Caribbean cruises and travel services
Of course and as our almost 2,000 students well know; if this is your passion, we are in no way saying don’t go for it. Nevertheless, carving out a profitable niche will allow success and provide cash flow to compete in these markets. At some point, you will have to market services to those desiring to spend money. With marketing online, the above competitive markets (by online keyword search) are measured, mainly, in two ways; search advertising costs (pay-per-click or PPC) and SEO (search engine optimization). For entrepreneurs just starting or seeking to, low SEO costs and definitely PPC expenses must be considered. In non-competitive, travel related markets, a manageable PPC costs would be $0.30 per click. This would be a cost for every click received from online paid search ads. SEO related costs, which means a site is listed (the most competitive anyway) in the top 10 search results (by keyword search), could amount to $500 (or more) monthly just to achieve top rankings on Google, Yahoo and Bing.
There is little doubt that achieving high rankings in travel related markets would be a ‘game changer’ for new businesses. Here is an overview of current competition for the most popular travel search phrases; (ranked from 1 to 10 with 10 having an average cost of $10,000 or more each month to compete)
Caribbean Cruises and travel services = 10
European vacations = 9
Hawaii vacation = 10
Although these would be expensive to establish, there are much less taxing (from an investment perspective) travel related services within these same markets (niche).
Here are easy to launch, niche topics which would be fairly easy to establish immediate market presence for travel businesses (among hundreds of others);
Caribbean cruise vacation = 4
European family vacations = 2
Oahu vacations Hawaii = 2
Of course – these opportunities just scratch the service and although real, are meant only to give examples of the numerous opportunities to sell niche travel services. Why point out Internet marketing related facts? 87% of all consumers who will use your new business will find it using Google, Yahoo and Bing search engines. This makes establishing and managing online presence (not to mention marketing) key. Further; even ‘word of mouth’ referrals and recommendations are relative online. People share thoughts, customer ratings of businesses and personal experience in online forums and mega sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Never doubt your customers will share with one another on sites other than your own!
Travel related businesses aren’t just relegated to transportation and living accommodations such as rental cars, hotels and airlines. Here are other statistics concerning niche industries within travel;
Special events such as conference catering and food related support business spending topped $259 billion in 2012
Gift and souvenir purchases totaled $11.3 billion
Public transportation when travelers arrived at a destination totaled $162.8 billion
Recreation and amusement totaled $89.7 billion
Whether direct or indirect services, key is finding your place in this vast and ever growing industry. Let’s take a brief look at 5 different styles of travel businesses;
Home based travel
; there was a time when those working from home wouldn’t have been taken seriously by other businesses and certainly potential clients and customers. Nevertheless; with the advent of virtual business models, this is no longer true. Being located at home has many benefits such as keeping overhead low; avoiding traffic related stressors as well as other business prohibitive items which make a traditional ‘brick-n-mortar’ office less appealing.
Corporate focused freelance
r; this typically consists of an independent contractor who may or may not currently be employed yet focuses on corporate clients. The benefits are many but freelance services provide a step by step platform to first establish and then exit the corporate rat race.
; excuse our candor but due to 79% of all U.S. travel needs being met online, this option seems least attractive and the very low cost of any travel business’ market entry, the only benefit here, in our opinion, is immediate association with semi-established brands. While this may be true, getting started often relies on a huge, upfront investment with franchisors and ongoing payments to ‘rent’ a company name. However; make whatever decision is best for startup needs.
In closing and whatever your business plan, consider choosing travel keywords which meets a niche market need as well as launches your company into profitability.