Financial solutions for Travel Agents
The travel industry has changed. Find the funding solutions you need to make those changes work for your travel agency businessSpeak to one of our experts020 4525 5312
Funding your equipment
- Spread costs over 6-60 months
- Rates from 6%
- Undercut ’0%’ deals from equipment suppliers
- Leasing - no capital requirement
Funding for your premises
- Commercial mortgages from 2%
- Bridging loans
- Deposit funding
Funding for your future
- Funding for your website
- Growth finance
- Tax loans
- Cashflow support
The traditional high street travel agency that sold package deals may no longer be viable – but in its place is a new kind of travel business that provides bespoke travel experiences. The potential is exciting – if you have the funding you need to seize it.
Table of Contents
The travel industry has seen major changes over the past ten years. The financial crisis, and now Brexit, have meant challenges – but the biggest change is the internet.
The traditional high-street travel agent is still with us but, these days, many people expect to make their travel arrangements online. Booking each individual element of the journey can give greater control for some people – but this creates new opportunities for the travel trade. Package deals and off-the-shelf trips are no longer the main focus of the industry. Although people will still want value for money breaks, standard packages are falling out of fashion at the luxury end of the market.
Individual adventures to obscure destinations are the way the luxury travel industry is heading with consumers looking for unique experiences and holidays that are tailor-made for them.
It means there is still plenty of opportunities for travel professionals to arrange bespoke holidays.
Doing business online
You may still need a presence on the high street. Many people prefer to do business with an agent they can visit in person. But your website will probably be how your customers will find you.
Your online presence is, therefore, key to your business. It will let you serve people outside your local area and it could provide a complete channel for your business, from bringing people in, to securing sales and taking payments.
It is therefore vital that you invest in your website. It does not necessarily need pages of colourful images, but it does need to be professional, functional, and gives the right message – that your business is honest, reliable and capable of giving people the holiday experience they want.
It needs to be mobile-friendly. More people use their mobiles than traditional desktops to access the web. It has to be secure, as customers will be using it to make payments. Most of all, it will have to be easy to find.
You will probably need a professionally designed and hosted website to make the most of your business, and you may have to spend tens of thousands of pounds to build, maintain, support and operate it.
Understanding the funding options for your travel agency business
The changes in the travel industry mean that new funding options are essential for your business.
You need to find the right type of funding option to allow you to:
- Set up a new travel agency
- Buy into an existing travel agency
- Fund your online presence
- Acquire equipment and assets
- Acquire premises
- Provide working capital
- Deal with tax
Fortunately, at Rangewell, we can help you find the most appropriate finance for each need
Setting up a new travel business
It may be possible to work as an online travel business without dedicated premises.
However, many people still prefer to arrange their holidays and travel face to face, and you will need premises. A shop on the high street may no longer be as essential as it once was, but you may need accessible office space to present a professional appearance to potential clients.
You will need to budget for building, hosting and maintaining your website. You will need to arrange legal fees and insurance and arrange membership of all the relevant organisations such as ATOL and ABTA.
You should be able to calculate all your funding needs as part of a detailed business plan. You should look at all your likely outgoings for a minimum of a year. Your business will be seasonal, and it is important to ensure that you have year-round finance in place.
Lenders may be reluctant to lend to startups, preferring to make their decisions based on previous business performance. Most expect to see accounts for one or two year’s trading before making the decision to lend. At Rangewell we know lenders who a take a more positive approach and can help arrange funding for start-up ventures, based on solutions such as Secured or Unsecured loans.
Buying into an existing travel agency
Buying an existing travel agency can be expensive, but it can make sense especially if it is established and is already profitable. We can help you secure a number of solutions to let you buy in to an established business. Though the costs may be considerably higher than those required for a startup, the ability to demonstrate profitability can help secure funds at a competitive rate.
A Secured loan is one solution for acquisition. Another is a ‘jigsaw’ finance deal, which uses a variety of funding types to provide the most cost-effective funding for each aspect of your finance needs.
Fund your online presence
Creating a website for your travel business will be vital. Your costs will depend on the experts who will design and build if for you. A website with multiple pages to showcase destinations, interactivity to help people enjoy planning their holiday online and secure payment and booking facilities could cost £10,000 or more. The cost will be higher still for online marketing to bring visitors to your site.
An Unsecured loan may be the solution, allowing you to repay when your website is already working for you.
Funding for your equipment
Whether you are starting up, buying into an existing travel agency, or ready to move your current operation on, you will need office equipment. Your IT setup, your computers and printer will be expensive items, and you may need specialised software with operating licenses and renewals, training and maintenance. You will also need to furnish your office.
At Rangewell we can help you find the Asset Finance solutions you need. Asset Finance covers both Hire Purchase and Leasing.
For basic equipment that you want to go on giving service for many years, Hire Purchase (HP) may provide the simple way to spread costs.
You pay a deposit plus monthly instalments over a fixed term, between 6 and 60 months, after which the equipment becomes yours. Payments are fixed, making it easy to plan ahead and to arrange an agreement that is tailored to your monthly turnover and budget.
Things like your office furniture might be ideal for HP finance.
Leasing will give you freedom and flexibility and avoid the need to make any capital investment. There is usually no upfront cost to find, making it simple to bring the latest equipment such as IT into your business. It can make higher cost items more affordable by spreading the cost over their economic life.
Funding for premises
You may be able to run an entirely online business, but many travel agents believe that having premises that customers can visit is important to build trust. You may need premises in a busy town or city centre, and it may be best to take on more space than might be strictly necessary to allow you to take on staff. There may be service charges and business rates on top of the bare lease. You may need upfront funding to secure the agreement - we can provide a number of solutions to help you.
There will also be shopfitting charges to consider. A bright and welcoming appearance will be essential.
We can help you arrange suitable loans to secure the lease and for fitting out.
However, remember that renting means ongoing costs, and puts your business at risk of rent increases. Buying your premises with a Commercial Mortgage could actually decrease your monthly outgoings, and provide a valuable asset for the future. Commercial Mortgages can help you buy your premises or even an existing consultancy. It is uneconomic to borrow less than £50,000, and some lenders have a minimum of £75,000 or more, but there is no set upper limit.
Remember, if you already own your premises, a Commercial Mortgage might be a cost-effective way to raise funds to use elsewhere in your business.
Provide working capital
Even when your business is starting to establish itself, you may have an ongoing need for finance. Your income will fluctuate with the seasons, and you will probably want to take on staff.
The cost of wages and your overheads will keep coming in even in the months when business is slow.
We can also help with a number of specialised loan products:
Tax is inevitable, but a large quarterly VAT or annual tax demand can cause problems with your cash flow, particularly when it falls at the same time as other costs. Tax Loans help you to spread the cost of your tax demands into affordable monthly payments.
- Better control of cashflow
- Fixed monthly payments
- Quick and simple to arrange
- Avoids issues with HMRC, potential penalties and professional liabilities
Working Capital Finance
Working Capital Finance is often used to deal with overheads while business is slow during the early weeks and monthsof aa new business, or during a period of growth. It is usually designed to be repaid in the short- to medium-term, once your business fully on its feet.
Large-scale finance can be vital if you have major plans such as taking on staff as consultants or even acquiring a competitor. Growth finance is a type of lending that may be able to provide the solution. Lenders may require an established trading history and record of profits, but it may be possible to arrange Growth Finance based on your profit projections, rather than on your trading history.
Merchant Cash Advance
Most customers will make payments by card, either in your shop or online. You can use these payments to raising cash advances with a Merchant Cash Advance. This is an arrangement made by a lender who will provide a cash advance - usually equivalent to your monthly takings. There are no repayments for you to make. Instead, the lender will take a proportion of every card transaction until the loan and their fees are paid off.
How we help you capitalise your travel business
At Rangewell, our expertise works to bring you the financial solutions you need to capitalise your business, whether you want to fund capital expenses, working capital or growth.
At Rangewell we know the lenders who can offer the most competitive rates for all types of finance including Unsecured and Secured Loans, Invoice Finance, Asset Finance, Merchant Cash Advance, Commercial Mortgages, Growth Finance and more.
Whether you have a straightforward finance need, or require a complicated ‘Jigsaw’ funding plan made up of a combination of products, we can work with you to find the answers that are right for your needs.
Call us now to get our experts working for you and your travel business - whether you're ready to arrange your customers' holidays or looking at a new type of travel venture with finance to start adventure holidays and outdoor businesses.
WHAT WE CAN DO
Find the most competitive loan to allow a traditional travel agent build a full-function website
Help a find finance for a Portsmouth travel agency to acquire its premises in the heart of the city
Source funding to let a new travel agent fit out their premises in a prestige shopping mall
Help arrange ‘jigsaw’ funding to let a small travel agent buy a local competitor
Set up a leasing arrangement for to equip a travel agent chain with state of the art IT systems
Last update: 27 June 2022
Download Rangewell’s free and detailed guide to Finance for Travel Agents
What types of finance are there - which do you need?
Why not all providers are equal - finding the one that’s right for you
The downsides to finance - and how to avoid them
How to arrange finance - what paperwork do you need?
Key terms explained