Starting your corporate travel agency can be ecstatic in imagination; but tedious in reality. While the profits may seem enticing, the work needed to earn them can be daunting. However, the labor is worth every penny you will earn. So, how to start a corporate travel agency in UAE? Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Though there is no clear answer to the question, one can always begin by following several steps. Moreover, it is easier to analyze a particular step when something goes wrong and align it with the bigger goal of owning a profitable travel agency. Let us explore them in detail:

How to start a corporate travel agency in UAE

1. Define the why

Before starting your business, it is important to have a concrete why. Yes, money is a part of it, but what motivated you to pursue your career in travel? Having a reason that is substantial will push you through the tough times and help you focus on your dream. A why can be anything like reducing the complexity, helping corporates enforce travel policy, etc. When one is talking to brands, it is numbers and the story. Hence, you should have your own believable story that corporations would bet on.

2. Develop your niche

Just after you decide your story you will have to define your specific clients. You should analyze the travel landscape in the UAE and identify gaps to hunt for opportunities. You can categorize as per the industry types, company size, or travel needs. While you are at it, ensure to modify your offerings and make them specific to your niche. Corporates will hire agencies that cater to their particular needs rather than a fit-to-all all approach. Additionally, you should be able to set a business model for your agency that would include commissions, markups, travel packages, etc.

3. Navigate legal and administrative requirements

Navigate legal and administrative requirements

Once you have defined the things on paper, it is crucial to get it legal. To start making bookings and planning to sign contracts with the corporates, you will have to get your agency registered depending on your location and services. You will have to obtain necessary trade rights and names from organizations such as the Department of Economic Development and, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. Additional permits from the Civil Aviation Authority and other relevant documentation will also be required.

4. Set up your business infrastructure

Once you have acquired the necessary licenses, it is time to set up your space. Choose a location that is easily accessible to your target clientele. Consider factors like proximity to major business districts, accessibility via public transportation, and professional presentation. Develop a comprehensive financial plan that outlines your initial investment needs and ongoing operational costs. You can secure funding through personal savings, loans, or seeking investors. Additionally, you should invest in a robust booking and travel management system (TMS) that simplifies booking processes, automates tasks, and facilitates cost control.

5. Build strong partnerships and resources

Successful travel agencies run on the efficient networks of travel suppliers. Establishing strong relationships with airlines, hotels, car rental companies, and other travel service providers, can help you get discounts and secure better commissions. You can design exclusive packages, build expertise, and leverage industry trends. To get yourself ahead of other users, consider industry certifications to enhance credibility and expertise. Utilize online marketing channels, attend industry events, and build strategic partnerships with business associations. Also, offer personalized proposals showcasing your unique value proposition and expertise in corporate travel management.

Suggested Read: Creating Customized Business Travel In These Simple Ways

6. Additional considerations

Seek Professional Guidance: If you are new to the field, it is good to get professional guidance from the experts. Seek guidance from legal professionals, financial experts, and travel business development consultants.

Stay Updated: The travel industry is prone to changes due to numerous factors. Therefore, it is important to remain updated with the latest trends to convert every adversity into opportunity.

Technology: Invest in a reliable travel management platform such as Paxes to handle bookings, reservations, and other operational tasks. Additionally, you should develop a user-friendly website that showcases your services and allows clients to enquire online.

Staffing: Once the travel agency starts flourishing, you will require experienced and knowledgeable staff, including travel consultants, customer service representatives, and administrative personnel. Ensure that your staff is well-versed in travel regulations, visa requirements, and other relevant information.

Marketing and Networking: To reach out to your potential clients, you should develop a marketing strategy. You can also attend industry events, join business associations, and network with clients to establish your presence in the corporate travel sector.

Building a travel agency in the UAE is a roller-coaster ride that is thrilling and rewarding at the same time. The challenges are real and most of the agencies fail to accomplish what they have been set out for. However, following the steps and evolving with the trends can help you stand out from the crowd.

Suggested Read: Corporate Travel Invoicing: Definition, Requirements, & Creation

How To Start A Corporate Travel Agency In UAE FAQs

How do I develop a niche for my corporate travel agency in UAE?

Identify the gaps, categorize clients, tailor the offering, and differentiate your company on values.

What legal and administrative requirements are necessary to start a corporate travel agency in UAE?

Legal requirements include registering your agency with relevant authorities such as the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. You should also get additional trade rights and permits.

How can I build strong partnerships and resources for my corporate travel agency in UAE?

You can join networking events, conduct one on one meet ups, and invest in industry certifications.

What type of business license do I need to operate a corporate travel agency in the UAE?

You need a travel agency license from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) or relevant emirate authority to operate.

Do I need a physical office space to operate a corporate travel agency in the UAE?

Yes, it is required to have a physical office space to obtain travel agency license in UAE.

Are there any specific qualifications or certifications required for employees in the travel industry?

Employees should have relevant certifications such as IATA training, and experience in travel management, and familiarity with booking systems and customer service skills.

How can I differentiate my agency and add value to my clients

You can offer personalized services, use advanced technology for automation, provide 24x7 support, get exclusive deals for the clients, and Duty of care for better risk management.


Pratyush is a traveling enthusiast who always looks for innovations in business travel management. He has 5 years of experience writing content on corporate travel management and working closely with expert business travel facilitators.