Want to start a travel business in NYC? Well, you’ve reached the right place. New York has always been an excellent choice for entrepreneurs to start a business. The Big Apple is the business capital of America and has the 3rd best access to venture capital. However, the competition is also fierce because many startups are gaining traction since the beginning of 2021.
Starting a travel business in New York is a great business idea. Your timing will also be perfect because the CDC has decided that vaccinated Americans can start traveling within and outside the country. You can begin with low startup costs and there are plenty of opportunities if you have the passion to sell.
However, starting a travel business can be as complex as any other entrepreneurship. You will need all the help you can get to make sure that you are on the right path. That is why we are going to list the crucial steps that can get you started on your entrepreneurial journey.
Steps to Start a Travel Business in NYC:
1. Form a Travel Business Idea
Before you think of starting a travel business, you should explore some ideas and do your research. You should also consider your personal interests, skill sets, and available resources. But most importantly, you should dwell on the reasons why you wish to start a travel business.
You should select a niche after a thorough evaluation. Selecting a niche helps you to establish your brand name. But more importantly, it will help you to formulate a business plan that includes startup costs, competition analysis, and revenue strategies.
It will give you a better idea of your chances of making a profit through your travel business. You will need to present a business plan if you want to get funds from lenders or investors.
2. Decide the Legal Structure
The next step would be to form a legal structure for your travel company. Some of the most common ones are:
- Sole proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company
There are some special legal structures as well, like a limited partnership. You must choose the legal structure that offers the best financial benefits for your travel business. You should also know that you can change your business structure as your travel agency evolves and your business goals.
3. Choose a Brand Name
If you are forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a corporation, you need to check the uniqueness of your travel business name. You will find that all existing businesses have filed with the New York Department Of State (DOS).
Once you have chosen a unique name, you can file an Application for Reservation of Name with the DOS and reserve it for 60 days. There are specific requirements that you need to follow to name an LLC or a corporation.
If your sole proprietorship or general partnership business has a different name from the owner/partners, you will need to file a certificate with the county. If your travel agency operates entirely online, you will have to choose and register your business domain name. You should also check federal and state trademarks to avoid infringements.
4. Build a Business Website
No travel agency can operate in the current times without a proper business website. You should start the process of creating a website as soon as you have chosen a brand name. You may wonder why we are suggesting you create a website even before you have registered your business.
It will take time to market your agency on the Internet, and creating a website is the first step. If you do not have any web building experience or might be preoccupied with other aspects of your business, you should hire local website designers. An NYC web design will ensure that your website is created according to the latest tourism trends of the city.
Once you have a running travel agency website, you can start marketing it on various social media platforms. You will also be able to take steps to optimize the SEO of your website content so you can attract local and national travelers. A running website will come in handy to promote introductory offers and your opening event. You can even create a countdown of your opening date on your website and social media platforms.
5. Register Your Business Entity
Once you have decided on a name, you need to register your travel business in New York. There are certain differences depending on the legal structure of your business. You can check the Small Business Administration (SBA) website to learn how to register your startup. The common steps are:
- To choose a registered agent to accept tax and legal documents for your business (You don’t want to get into any tax issues)
- Get an Employer Identification Number from the IRS
- File the documents of formation
You do not need to file any organizational documents for a sole proprietorship in the state of New York.
The same goes for general partnerships. But you should ideally have a written partnership agreement to solve any future disputes. If you wish to form a limited liability partnership, you will have to file a Certificate of Registration with the DOS.
You need to file the required articles of organization with the DOS to form an LLC in New York. Even though it is not a legal requirement, you should prepare an operating agreement describing the rules of your LLC operations.
You will have to file a Certificate of Incorporation with the DOS to establish a corporation in the state of New York. You should also establish the internal operational rules of your travel company by preparing bylaws. But again, it is not legally required.
6. Apply For the Licenses and Permits
The good news is that you do not have to obtain a license at a federal level to open your travel agency. But you will have to register yourself as a Seller of travel (SOT) in the state of New York. Any New York-based travel agent needs to go through the NY’s Article 10-A Truth in Travel Act.
You should specifically look at Section 157-A for outlines of disclosures that you are required to provide to your customers. You have to register with the Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) in New York. You must also register your business with the Department Of Labor (DOL) if you plan to have employees.
You may also need additional licenses and permits for your travel agency depending on your business. Some of the areas covered by them are:
- Health and safety
- Protection of the environment
- Constructions and buildings
7. Obtain the Necessary Insurances
Business insurances are crucial to protect your travel organization and personal assets in case of an emergency. You can contact professional insurance agents to explore various coverage options. They will also be able to advise you on the legal requirements for business insurance. For example, worker’s compensation is necessary for legal compliance in most of the United States if you have employees.
There are a few additional requirements for starting a travel business apart from the ones we mentioned. Some of them include choosing a business location, checking the zoning regulations, and opening a business bank account. You can also consult the local authorities and government business services to learn more about the process.
Alex is a computer geek, programmer, who loves traveling. Not the usual mix, but Alex is always with his laptop – no matter how high the mountain he’s hiking on. On every peak he reaches, he writes a story that captures it all.