Choosing a travel agency name, how hard can it be? As it turns out, pretty hard. You’ve probably already had an experience like this: You check to see if your domain is available. You type in “StephsTravel.com”. Domain not available. You try every variation. Domain not available. What about “SunAndFunTravels.com”? Domain not available.
ARGH! Who are these people taking every, single travel agency name IN THE UNIVERSE?!?
This article is going to help with you with the practicalities of what to name your travel agency. You won’t find a list of travel agency names in this article; that’s going to require some brainstorming on your behalf. And honestly, I have to point out any list of travel agency names is kinda silly by default. If you found this article by a searching for possible agency names, chances are many more have done the same before you. Any list is going to be old and used up in no time!
Now, what you will find with this article is something even more important—real world factors you need to consider when choosing travel agency names. Heck, we’ve even put all the things you should consider when picking your travel agency name into an Excel sheet for you.
PS: If you’re having trouble figuring out where to even start with your agency’s name, you might find our article on finding a travel niche helpful; the exercise will help get your brain turning.
First things first. Let’s make sure your travel agency name is going to be legit in the eyes of the law.
1. Is the travel agency name available in your state / province?
As a business, you probably need to register your business name with your state/province. You’ll want to see if your travel agency name is available before you start putting money into marketing that name or you’ll have a headache on your hands trying to change the name of your company!
US readers: Not all states require you register, but check your state’s laws for registering your business name.
Canadian readers: Info on registering your business name in your province.
Your goal? Make sure your travel agency name isn’t taken by someone else in your state/province.
2. Is your future travel agency name trademarked?
Trademark issues are expensive and can totally disrupt the brand you’ve built. Actually, they can kill the brand you’ve built and make you start anew.
An example of this in the travel world? The travel company now known as G Adventures used to be GAP Adventures (short for The Great Adventure People)—that is until they were sued by GAP clothing for trademark infringement. The legal battle lasted FIVE years. In the end, the court ruled against GAP Adventures (a great link to learn more about why the court sided with GAP clothing). GAP Adventures was re-branded to the company we know today, G Adventures.
Now, back to you. You don’t want a legal battle on your hands like G Adventures! Avoid running into trademark infringement by searching the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). Did you find someone with a similar name or a variation of your name?
If you found something (even if it’s a company doing something totally different), it’s probably best to chose a different name.
1. Is the .com domain name available for your travel agency?
Resist the temptation to buy .travel, .io, .ly, or whatever else is hip and cool right now. Resist the temptation to use .net/.org! Everyone thinks ‘.com’ and that’s what you want.
The reason people buy a .net or .org is because the .com is unavailable. And if it’s unavailable it means someone else owns it. Even if there is nothing there now, there may be in the future. You don’t want to own the .net/.org/.travel domain and have your clients end up at the .com website thinking it’s you!
When it comes to seeing if the .com is available, here’s a few places you can check availability and buy your travel agency domain:
Note: Each of these sites has the exact same inventory; where you purchase your domain is just a matter of preference. We’ve used all of them and had good experiences. And if you buy them via the links below, it’s like buying me a cup of coffee (or my dog Rigel a squeaky toy)!
Google: My personal favorite because once you buy the domain, it integrates seamlessly to create your custom email address (i.e. Steph@StephsTravels.com). It saves you time and if you’re not technical, it will save you headache.
Side note: If you’re thinking, “I don’t need a custom email,” (you do!) just remember that for the cost of your Caramel Frappucino each month, you could be branding your business and looking a whole lot more professional! Totally worth it.
GoDaddy: The name people probably recognize most when it comes to domain registrars. Buying a domain on GoDaddy is easy, but for setting up your custom email on Gmail, you will need to do some adjustments.
2. Competitive Intelligence: Google your travel agency names
See what pulls up. If somehow your future travel agency name puts you up against [insert well-known site], you may want to reconsider. You want to pull up in the #1 search slot for your travel agency name whenever possible. Don’t set yourself up for failure by pitting yourself against internet giants.
Note: You do have an advantage over large sites because as a local business, your name will pop up in Google’s local search results. For example, when I Googled “travel agency” a few local travel agency names showed up before Liberty Travel.
However, if a big giant of a site pulls up when google your travel agency name, staying away is still a best practice; I say, don’t make your life harder if you don’t have to! 🙂
3. Write out your URL
This is important, you guys. A few examples of people that didn’t write their website address out:
— Who Represents? seems innocent enough until… www.whorepresents.com
— Speed of Art becomes… www.speedofart.com
— Choose Spain becomes less attractive when it’s… www.choosespain.com
— IT Scrap could spin their services another way besides… www.itscrap.com
— Go Away Travel… We know you’re helping to book vacations for people that want to get away, but the name is, uh, less than welcoming.
They’re funny examples to read but it probably wouldn’t be so funny if it was one of your travel agency names! All that said, check out my business name: HostAgencyReviews.com. Do you see it? How about if I write it like this: HostageNcyReviews.com. Hostages. Because I like to keep people hostage on my site to increase my ‘time on site’ stat. 🙂
Common Sense Considerations
1. Xerox ain’t for everyone:
You sell travel. Don’t try to get all crazy and reinvent the wheel and name your company a word no one has heard of. Having the word travel, cruise, etc. in your agency name makes it easy for potential clients to know what you do. It also helps with your SEO. (After all, at the dawn of Xerox, they never had to worry about internet searches or SEO!)
People’s brains associate different word combinations and going against the grain means it will be harder for people to remember your agency name. It also makes it harder for you to do your marketing and build recognition for your company.
If you’re really wanting to go for a more creative travel agency name (after all, look at Airbnb or Uber or Spotify!), test it out. Tell friends your potential name and ask them if they remember it a few days later. Sometimes, those names can be awesome, but you have to build the brand and emotions behind it, which takes time. And a lot of new companies don’t have the time or budget to do that.
>> Visit our marketing page to find more popular marketing articles.
2. Keep it Short:
My site, Host Agency Reviews℠, is lengthy, but manageable. However, it can be challenging at times so I’d lean towards not much longer than 15 letters. The shorter, the better.
Some real-life reasons to keep your travel agency name short?
- More and more people are on mobile. Teeny, tiny screens. The less they need to type, the better.
- The longer the name, the more room for error whenever a client types it out.
- Short names are much easier to fit tastefully on marketing pieces.
- If your travel agency’s name is long, remember your email address will be even longer.
- Lastly (and take this from me) spelling out your website/email address is a PAIN for long names! “Yes, that’s Stephanie with a ‘ph’ and an ‘ie’ at H-O-S-T-A-G-E-N-C-Y-R—” (You get the picture).
3. You sell what?
When naming your travel agency, you’ll want to sit down and think about your travel agency niche. How are you going to be different and set yourself apart? Certainly you may want to provide the best customer service but in travel, people are buying your expertise as well as your service. Since you can’t be an expert in everything, you’ll need to narrow it down by finding a travel niche. Name your agency so people know that you are selling travel, not guinea pigs.
Now, I know I just told you to try to get specific. But, don’t be too specific. Why? Let’s say you’re going to sell trips to Mexican jungles and named your travel agency “Jungle Journeys”. Then you got into business and discovered you’re highly allergic to unseen jungle bugs. Well, you’ll have to pivot and take your agency in a different direction. Away from jungles. But, darn it, that’s going to involve renaming your company.
So, be as specifically unspecific as you can. Easy, right?
4. Get a second opinion:
Have another set of eyes (or two) give you their honest feedback. Have them take a look at it written down, shmooshed together as a domain, and have them say it out loud a few times.
For the Truly Dedicated
I kid you not, there is a company that has written up a 121-page guide on naming companies. If you’re one of those souls that can think of nothing better than cuddling up with a 121-page guide and reading all about how to name your travel agency, please, by all means, download the Igor Naming Guide. (Don’t print it though. I don’t want the guilt of killing forests upon forests.)
You’ve Picked Your Travel Agency Name, What’s Next?
You’ve done your due diligence and now you’re all set to make things happen! Once you’ve picked out your travel agency name, tie up your loose ends and download our Stake Your Claim: Travel Agency Name Checklist.
When buying the domains, some people like to ensure the exclusivity of their site by buying the .net and .org or any similar names to avoid someone setting up a competing site. For instance, if you have www.worldcruise.com you may also want to buy similar names such as worldcruises.com. You could also buy worldcruise.net and worldcruise.org… but it starts getting expensive. Personally, I’d prioritize the singular/plural over other extensions.
Fantastic! Now, you need to make sure that you solidify your brand by ensuring you’re in control of all online real estate with your travel agency’s name. What does that mean?
- Reserve your social media vanity URLs.
Even if you don’t plan on being active on a social media network right now, there can be only one Facebook page with your travel agency name (facebook.com/HostAgencyReviews) so make sure you get it!
And it’s not just Facebook. Here are the sites we recommend that you set up business accounts with (we link directly to the business account setup pages, when applicable):
Instagram (no specific business accounts)
Twitter (no specific business accounts)
Remember, it’s better to have an inactive company social media account than to not claim your account and have it be taken by someone else!
A Special Treat—Promo Codes
Congrats, you’ve made it this far! As a special reward, here’s a few promo codes that will come in handy when buying your travel agency name:
- GoDaddy: Use this link to save 30% on your domain name
- NameCheap: Use promo code FOOL4DOMS at checkout to save 10%
You’re Legit. Now Get Started!
Woot, woot! Since it seems like you’re getting ready to start an agency, I may as well tell you this site works with tons-o-agents that are getting started. If that’s you, a trip to the resources section will give you a great jumping off point as you dive into the travel industry! We suggest taking some time to read the articles in the ‘most popular articles’ section to start.
If you need a little help getting all your ducks in a row, our Starting a Travel Agency from Home article goes over important things like: getting an EIN (and why we suggest it); setting up your bank accounts; and what to expect if you sign up with a host agency.
Go Get ‘Em!
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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published May 16, 2012 and was completely updated and revamped on April 5, 2016 to make sure we’re giving you up-to-date info. Enjoy!
Hi, I’m Steph! I specialize in working with people looking to start and/or grow their travel agencies. I’ve worked with thousands of agents and helped them learn more about the travel industry… and I’m happy to help you out too. If you’ve found this article helpful, please help give it some love via like/tweet/share or drop us a comment! Learn More About Steph>>