How to Start a Travel Agency in the UK?

Do you have a passion for travel and want to pursue a career in the industry? There are a number of different opportunities in the world of travel, but before you start your career in this exciting industry, it is important to understand the steps needed to start a travel agency.

It is not easy to start a business so it is best to break down the process into easy-to-follow steps. For example, obtaining the necessary legal permissions and registrations, finding suitable premises and staff, and marketing your company. If you follow these steps carefully and work hard on your new venture, you’ll soon be living out your dream of running your own successful travel agency!

What are the steps to start a travel agency?

Before you start a travel agency, you’ll need to make sure that you have all of the legal permissions required to run the business. This includes being able to collect sales tax on the sales, licences to run as a private holiday let agent and issuing public holidays for its employees.

Register your business with Companies House

Register your business with Companies House to gain legal permissions and run your business. The process can be completed over the phone or online. In the event of complications you will be asked to apply in person.

You will also need to register the internet company that will be hosting the website and telephone numbers. Once you have completed the necessary online steps, you should be able to download your company identity documentation.

Legal permission and registrations

In order to legally start a travel agency you need to have the correct legal permission and registrations for the industry. To apply for the necessary documentation, you will need to get a form from the government.

When filling out the form, remember that you must include a reference to the business, an address, business telephone number, a statement of the true purpose of the travel agency, proof of VAT number, and details of the business.

You should also apply for and register with the Joint Travel Agency Licensing Board. This is where you can obtain the authority to operate your own travel agency in the UK. You also need to be an approved traveller to get your UK travel and tourism business identity number.

The best location for your agency

Finding the ideal location is one of the most important steps of establishing a travel agency. If you are planning on starting a new business, you’ll need to start saving immediately so you can renovate the building or premises you choose to rent and have it ready to go.

As well as being convenient for your clients, finding the perfect location will also help you save money on rent. Before you start the process of finding a suitable premises, ensure you know exactly what you want. Will it be easy for your clients to find you? Is it close to the town centre?

Once you have found the perfect location for your travel agency, you can apply for your business licence.

Staffing your company

The number one tip is to hire good staff. The market for travel agencies is changing and the most sought after staff members are now passionate about travel. Their knowledge of the industry is the greatest asset you can have and hiring them will add additional value to your company. Hiring the right staff members will not only ensure the success of your company, but also your own satisfaction as they are the key to ensuring you reach your target audience.  Pitching your business idea

This is probably the most difficult part of starting your travel agency. Building a marketing plan, marketing your business, and pitching your ideas to potential clients are all parts of the challenge of starting a travel business.

Marketing your business

Before you go to market, there are some things you should look at. Firstly, it is important to understand the needs of your customers. When you have these insights, you can tailor your marketing strategies. The right marketing tools can give you the edge and ultimately help you position yourself as the first port of call for your customers.

Don’t go too big too quickly. In fact, smaller is better when it comes to starting a travel agency. This is because you can make more mistakes and learn from them.

Once you have set up your business, the next step is to learn more about your market and how to grow it. The two main objectives you need to meet are to reach out to potential customers and reach profitability.

Finding premises for your agency

To begin the process of setting up a travel agency in the UK, it is necessary to find premises to base your business in. This will determine how many staff you need, the facilities you require and the cost of business you’ll need to set up.

For example, if you have a regular client base and you are looking to open a larger premises, it will be more beneficial to operate out of a smaller location to increase the convenience for customers.

However, if you are looking to start a larger travel agency that is focused on packages and holidays, you’ll need a larger location with the necessary facilities to run a good business.However, it is also important to consider the area you live in before you decide to open a travel agency.

Marketing your agency

It is vital to get the word out about your new travel agency. This will ensure that the public are aware of your business and what you do, so take the time to create a website that will allow you to showcase what you have to offer. This can take a lot of effort to get right, but it will be worth it in the end as it will help you to build your reputation in the industry.

If you do not have the resources to market your business, then you should still spend the time to get your brand recognised. This means using social media and other marketing strategies to bring attention to your business. Get your marketing in order before you start, and you will be able to start your career in the travel industry.

How to find the right staff

Before you start your travel agency, you need to hire staff and that is easier said than done. It may be possible to find the perfect staff to work for you, but you will need to put a lot of effort into finding them.

If you’re already a professional, you will need to display your knowledge in the industry so that you can find employees. Alternatively, you can invest in a management recruitment agency which specialise in finding staff. With some expertise, you should be able to find staff that suits your company. Purchase the necessary premises

One of the key steps to starting your travel agency is buying the premises and equipment to run the business. You will need to hire a solicitor who will help you with this legal process.

What you’ll need

The first step in launching your travel agency is to have a clear understanding of the requirements that are needed for your new travel agency.

For example, to run a UK travel agency, you’ll need to carry out a name change (subject to certain conditions), and to register your travel agency with the UKBA.

Setting up your business as a travel agency

Setting up your travel agency will begin with setting up the legal entity that will be responsible for managing the day-to-day running of your travel agency.

For a business to be authorised as a travel agent, it must hold an Issued by Secretary of State registration number (IC 3861). This number allows you to work legally in the UK.


If you’re keen to start your own travel agency, the first step is to find your ideal location. If your business is going to be operating from the UK, then the UK’s prime location is a big advantage. You’ll find that many travellers will want to buy their holidays from a UK-based company, so ensure your business is accessible to them.

If you decide to buy property for your business, it is important that you follow all the legal and other necessary steps in order to ensure that your new property is correctly registered and has all the necessary paperwork.

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