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It's Time to Create Your 2024 Travel Agency Business Plan!

Updated December 7, 2023

Do you have a travel agency business plan?

I’m not talking about some sort of legal document that you drafted with your attorney to create your legal business structure.

Those usually include things about your business idea, market research and target market analysis, competitive analysis, your financial plan or financial projection and expected cash flow, and even business license requirements. That's not at all what we're talking about here.

When I say “travel agency business plan,” I mean a document that tells you exactly where you want your business to go and how you’re going to get there.

Maybe you have one, but it ends up being set aside and you forget about it. If you’re not looking at it often (at least weekly) it’s not a business plan. It’s a well-intentioned wish list that won't help you run a successful travel agency.

If you want to make 2024 your best year yet, let’s try something new. A one-page, super simple travel agent business plan. It won’t take you all day to create, just an hour or two, and it’ll help guide you over the next year as you find new clients and continue to grow your business.

Why you need a travel agency business plan

Too often, the idea of business planing is really intimidating.

It sounds so… business-ish.

But it doesn’t have to be. If the words “business plan” sound too corporate to you, just call it something else.

Maybe it’s your “travel agency awesomeness strategy” or your “wanderlust creation to-dos”.

Whatever you want to call it, go for it.

What’s important is what it’s going to do for you. If you’ve ever felt lost in the middle of your travel agency, like you don’t know what to do next or focus on to take your travel business where you want it to go, this one-page travel agency business plan is for you.

It’s going to clarify what you should be working on, what’s wasting your time, effort, or hard-earned money, and help you decide where you’d like your travel company to be by the end of a year.

Without it, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day, and just be swept along on the tide of what needs to be done next. But what will you discover when that tide goes out?

Maybe that you have a business that isn’t what you planned. That you aren’t doing the things that you most enjoy in your business (or aren’t doing enough of them), and the business you built just might not be the business you actually want.

So get out two sheets of paper (that’s all it’ll take!) and let’s get planning!

First off, go ahead and make your own travel business plan template. It’s super-simple. Just split each piece of paper into thirds. Top third, middle third, bottom third. You can draw lines or just fold the papers like a letter. We’re all about making progress here, so don’t worry if it isn’t perfect.

Step 1: Determine your focus areas

Get out a piece of paper and start creating your travel agency business plan template. A person holding a planner and a pen.

You can’t focus on everything, and trying to just exhausts you and makes it seem like nothing is working well.

Instead of creating a list of 10, 15 or even more goals, determine a maximum of three focus areas.

These can be areas like “add people to my email list”, “get more potential customers to find my website”, “create a social media marketing plan” or “sell and plan 20 dream vacations”.

Why only three?

Because the more things you try to focus on, the less you actually can focus on. When everything is a priority, nothing is really a priority.

For my travel business, my three focus areas are growing my email list, converting more leads into clients (because who doesn’t want that in their travel agency!), and creating a specific travel-related product that I’ve been thinking about for a while.

Go ahead and write down your 1-3 focus areas on one piece of paper. One focus area in each third.

Step 2: Create your goals

Focus areas and goals aren’t the same thing in your travel agency business plan.

While focus areas help give direction to your goals, they aren’t really goals themselves. One of my travel agency business plan focus areas is continuing to grow my email list. It doesn’t tell me how much I’d like to grow it, or specific action items I’d like to take, or when I want to do it.

In other words, it’s an idea, and now it’s time to make that idea concrete by giving it some parameters.

For my email list growth focus area, my goal is to grow my list by 500 subscribers by the end of 2024. That’s a SMART goal.

  • Specific - 500 subscribers is a specific number.

  • Measurable - did I add 500 subscribers or not?

  • Actionable - there are things I can do to help get there, like creating valuable content that people join my list to access.

  • Realistic - 500 people breaks down to 10 per week, or 1-2 per day. That’s a completely reasonable number.

  • Time bound - The goal is due December 31, 2024.

Think about some goals that, when you reach them, will help you in the focus areas you’ve chosen. It may be just one goal, or it may be a couple goals.

Write those goals down under each focus area you chose.

Step 3: Break goals down into quarters

Now that you have your yearly business goals, let’s break them down into quarters.

Some goals make sense to do all in one quarter. For example, the product I’m creating is a few weeks of intense work, followed by time marketing and selling. I don’t need to stretch that goal out over the full year, but I do need to decide which quarter or quarters I’m going to focus on it.

A goal like email list growth makes sense to divide in four, so I know if I’m making steady progress through the year.

This part is completely up to you. Decide which goals make sense to do in one quarter, and which will be broken up across more than one quarter.

On your piece of paper, write down the quarters you’ll work on the goal next to each goal. Just write “Q1” or “Q1-4”, whatever is appropriate for your timeline.

Step 4: Action items and milestones

You have your focus areas, and you have your goals, but now how do you get from where you are to where you want to be?

Simple. You create action items and milestones that support each of your goals.

Is your goal to grow your email list by a certain number of subscribers? You’ve probably figured out that doesn’t happen on its own by just wishful thinking. There are concrete things you need to do so people want to join your travel agency email list.

If you don’t have a lead generator or opt-in, you need one. Creating it becomes an action item, with a specific date that you commit to have it done.

Do you have a website, or an email service provider to host your email list? If not, getting those set up are also action items.

Go ahead and write down the action items you need to complete to reach those goals. Don’t make them too specific. 3-4 action items is plenty.

Step 5: Create your quarterly travel agency business plan

Now it’s time to use that second piece of paper you got out. That second piece of paper is going to become your Q1 (or whatever the next quarter is when you’re going through this process) travel agency business plan.

On each third, rewrite your focus areas and goals that you’re going to work on in the next 90 days. Maybe you only have two because one of your focus areas is a Q3 focus. That’s ok, just split your paper in half instead of in thirds.

Now look at your yearly business plan and move the action items that fall into the next 90 days onto your quarterly business plan.

If your focus area was to grow your email list, but you don’t have an email service provider, maybe your action item was to have one set up by March 15. Now you can break down that action item even further.

What do you need to do in the next 90 days to have your email service provider ready to use on March 15? Well, first of all you need to do some research. You may need to do a free trial, or some training to learn how a specific platform works.

Those things now become Q1 action items, so you put them on your Q1 travel agency business plan.

Don’t go beyond Q1 right now. In 90 days, you’re going to do step 5 again and create your Q2 business plan. You don’t want to plan the full year in detail because, let’s face it, things change. Maybe you find yourself way ahead of your goals, or getting behind. That’s ok, because every 90 days you get to adjust your plan.

The important thing isn’t creating the perfect plan, it’s creating a plan that’s flexible enough to adapt to your specific travel business and life.

Step 6: Weekly check-ins

Now that you have both your yearly and quarterly plans, it’s time to start working on them.

The best way to do that is to break it down each week. You're a busy travel agent, and maybe you already know next week will be really busy and you’ll barely have time to do anything. That’s ok.

Let’s go back to the email list goal. If your first action item is to research possible email service providers, do you have 10-15 minutes this week to do a simple Google search and find 3-5 potential options?

If so, make that an action item for the week. That’s all you need to do this week. You’re making progress, in the amount of time you have.

Next week you know you’ll have a bit more time, so go ahead and block off a couple hours on your calendar to do more in-depth research then.

Create 1-3 specific action items for the week that you need to do to move one or more of your goals forward. Those are your most important tasks for the week, because if you push them aside you won’t make progress on the goals you set.

Once you know what you need to do in a given week to make progress, you can break down those to-dos into daily actions. What day and time are you going to do that specific thing to make progress on that goal you set?

Go ahead and put it on your calendar and get it done!

The bottom line: Your 2024 travel agency business plan

There you have it. A simple system, on two pieces of paper, that will help you move forward getting exactly the things done that you need and want to do to take your travel agency to the next level.

This simple business planning exercise gives direction to your marketing efforts and marketing strategy, financial projections and financial planning, content marketing plan, and more.

The last thing you need to do is tape both pieces of paper to your wall, or to your desk, wherever you’ll see them every day. That way you won’t forget what you’ve decided you want to do, and you’ll actually make progress on them.


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