What a tour broker is and how to become one

The person running a travel company is a broker. A mediator is a mediator. Brokers buy or arrange items or services and sell these items or services to the end buyer. Some examples of brokers are:

Independent insurance agents. These agents do not provide insurance; they arrange insurance for you from an insurance company. Insurance agents usually receive a commission from an insurance company.

Stock brokers. Like insurance brokers, stock brokers help you buy and sell stocks. They do not own shares. These agents also receive a commission based on the quantity sold.

Real estate broker. Again, these brokers do not own the properties they sell and they get a commission based on the value of what they sell.

There are also tour intermediaries. Tour agents serve a variety of clients. This article is about what is tour brokerage and the basics of this business.

Here's a good description if it's a tour: A trip to various places of interest for business, pleasure or guidance.

Here the journey is defined: To go from place to place, as in a journey; trip.

A tour, then, is not just a journey but a journey for the purpose of being fun or interesting. You can think of a tour as an extended trip with the facility to see and experience an area. Traveling, on the other hand, is usually just about moving from place to place.

A tour broker works with people on an ongoing basis. If you want to get involved in this kind of business, you have to want to work with people – you have to be a person.

Tour agents are not travel agents. Travel agents arrange the travel needs of their clients. Usually a travel agent will only work with individuals or small groups (families, for example). Travel agents also always buy something that is already in place (air travel, car rentals, hotels, etc.), they originate nothing.

Tour agents originate – they arrange tours, they arrange transportation, they arrange accommodation, they arrange meals and arrange other services for their clients. A tour broker plans what kind of tour he / she wants to operate.

Next, the tour broker makes adjustments to the various components of the tour – transportation, food, lodging, attractions, etc.

There are many types of travel companies. Some offer guided tours of a local area – city tours or a retreat, for example. Some offer nature tours – guided tours through the Grand Canyon fall into this category. Some offer tours to various national and state parks. Some offer tours across a large area, a multi-country tour is a good example.


You may have to make inspections of hotels and attractions that will be part of your tour. If you are used to it, you will know how to get "perfect" rooms and meals (short for complimentary or Free). If you are going to go along with the tour, you should expect to get comps again. How to set it up in order to get comps is something your mentor needs to learn.


As I mentioned before, this is a business business. Getting to work with people and like solving problems is a key requirement.

Just like a church is a church because someone calls it a church, a tour broker is a tour broker because someone says they are a tour broker. There is no license requirement. If you operate a business you may need to obtain a federal tax number and your county or city may require you to obtain a business license. As for the need for a license to become a tour broker – no license required. From the mid-1930s to the 1980s, transportation was strictly controlled by the Enterprise Trade Commission (ICC). Under the Deregulation Act of 1982, competition was allowed and the need for federal authority became a thing of the past.

Depending on where you are, you may need a business license. Call your local district office and request the office responsible for business licenses. This should be easy as all they really want is for you to submit some documents and pay them a small fee.

If you are going to make money (and why else get in business?) You will need to get a federal tax number. This number is called a tax identification number (TIN) and is used in business as much as a social security number is used for benefits.

I have looked at various websites online saying they are interested in how to become a tour operator. Most don't seem to understand what a tour operator is or does. Those who approach the concept either offer to learn or provide links to sites that can prepare someone on how to be a tour guide. A tour guide is not a tour operator – at best, a tour guide works for a tour operator.

The tour operator runs his / her business

It's as simple as that – you own and run the business. If you are planning to make a profit, follow this rule – buy low, sell high. People tend to make things very difficult. You buy at one price and sell at another price, easy?

The real “trick” to making money in the touring business is understanding that even (EU) breaking concept. The breaking point is also where you don't waste money and where you don't make money. To help you understand this idea you need to understand that there are two types of costs in most businesses – fixed and variable. A fixed cost is what will happen if you have 10 clients or 46. Office rent is a fixed cost. You have to pay rent whether you operate a tour or not. Variable cost is a cost that depends on something else. An example of a variable cost would be the cost of a tow (theme park). If you have 20 clients, your total withdrawal cost is dependent on the number of clients you have.

The lack of good information about this business led me to believe that those who do business do not want competition or have time to write about how they run their business. A well thought out, well-publicized tour can bring in thousands of revenue. For example, suppose you have a seven-day bus tour. The tour sells for $ 985.00 (per person, double occupancy) and you have 36 people to go on your tour. The gross proceeds on this tour will be over $ 35,000.00 and you should be able to keep at least $ 10,000.00 of that amount.

Is this the kind of business for you?

It is possible to earn some serious money in this business – you can lose money too. Here are some basic requirements you must have before starting such a business.

You enjoy working with people

You don't have to be scared when things go from good to bad to worse

You should be able to organize things easily

You must have at least a working knowledge of certain computer programs – word processing, spreadsheet, e-mail

You need to have a copy machine and a fax machine

You must have at least one phone

You need to have at least one fairly up-to-date computer

What kind of tours and what else do I do?

The world is your oyster

This is really the fun part – you can go anywhere! Successful agents take three-day tours from Denver to the Rocky Mountains and seven-day trips to Branson, Missouri. East Coast Brokers offers tours to New England and parts of Eastern Canada, as well as longer tours to the American Southwest.

Seattle brokers make a good business operating tour in the Copper Canyon of Mexico. Some brokers offer tours of music events, art shows and short trips to New York City for Christmas shopping.

Where to go depends on you as long as you keep it reasonable. Going to Iraq right now may not be the best choice, but there is a UK company offering tours and operating in Iraq – make sure your customers sign many disclosures saying you have no guilt in your case of death. Given the current state of the economy, it may not be wise to limit your North American offerings, but tours to Costa Rica seem to sell very well.

To find out more about this interesting business click here.