Back to Business Ideas Categories

23 Travel & Hospitality Business Ideas

Written by:

Edited by:

Published on July 21, 2022

Updated on August 1, 2022

23 Travel & Hospitality Business Ideas

Disclaimer: Step by Step Business’ content is for informational and educational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional legal or tax advice. All of our articles are thoroughly reviewed and fact-checked by our editorial team. Read our editorial guidelines for more details.

Some of our articles include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

23 Travel & Hospitality Business Ideas

If you have a spare room or an apartment you’re not using, you can make money from it by listing it on Airbnb, an online marketplace for lodging and vacation rentals. You can also open a restaurant or a hotel, if you have the funds. If you’re looking for a business that requires minimal investment, then why not start a travel blog and monetize it?

These are some of the opportunities in the travel and hospitality industry that we’ve listed for you to consider. Find out if anything sparks your interest.

1. Travel Agency

Travel Agency

Do you love to travel? Are you always planning your next vacation? Why not start your own travel agency business? It’s a great way to share your love of travel with others, and it can be a very lucrative business. Travel agencies in the US are expected to rebound strongly from pandemic slump and see a 38% increase in revenue in 2022 due to pent-up demand. The market is predicted to grow steadily through 2026.  

If you have the resources, starting a travel agency business can be a breeze. But first, you need to identify your target market. Will you be focusing on domestic or international travel? A lot of Americans are going on overnight trips for vacations or business purposes, providing an opportunity for travel agencies to earn money. Arranging trips for international visitors is also possible now that the US has eased travel requirements. Once you find your niche and draw up a business plan, you should work on establishing your brand and promoting it to find clients.

2. Tour Business

Tour Business

Do you love to travel and see new places? Why not start your own tour business? It’s a lot of work, but it can be a very rewarding endeavor. The US tour industry was expected to recover in 2021 after total revenue fell below $6 billion in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Earnings were predicted to increase to more than $8 billion in 2022 due to pent-up demand for travel. Both land and air borders of the US have been reopened to vaccinated tourists. 

Tour operators are primarily responsible for arranging tour packages that they offer to tourists and travel agencies. Because of the pandemic, demand is rising for tour packages in the countryside, national parks and the outdoors. Before you can start operating, you need to pick a niche, choose your target demographics, and understand the competition. You also have to familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations, such as the seller of travel laws, that tour operators, travel agencies and other tourism-related businesses must follow.

3. Photography

Photography

Are you an amateur photographer who loves snapping great images? Photography in the US is an $11 billion industry expected to see steady growth in the coming years, so now would be a great time to stretch your entrepreneurial wings and give it a shot. You could start your photography business from home and give the world beautiful photos while also making a good living. 

A crucial step will be finding your photographic niche. There’s a wide array of subjects to choose from. You could focus on personal portraits, fashion and culture photography, news and celebrities, or travel, nature and wildlife. Assuming you already have a professional-level camera, you’ll just need some great editing software and to build a website showing off your portfolio and listing your prices and services. With a bit of talent and determination, you could be snapping your way to success in no time!

4. Circus

Circus

Circuses are still traveling around the US and giving performances that include aerials, acrobatics, and other traditional acts. They typically have clowns, cyclists, and pole artists too. Some still travel with animals, with strict adherence to animal welfare and safety regulations. As many Americans still watch live performances, plenty of opportunities await entrepreneurs like you who are thinking about starting their own circus. 

Before you launch your circus, you’ll need to get the necessary permits and licenses. It’s also important to come up with a business plan, identify your target market, and put together an amazing show. Besides their regular shows, circuses can also perform for private events such as family gatherings and fundraisers. Some, like the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus from New York City, also hold circus workshops, children’s after-school programs, and summer camps. You may also want to consider these additional revenue streams or you can come up with your own innovative acts that will boost your circus and attract your target audience. Good luck!

5. Event Planning

Event Planning

The biggest events — weddings, reunions, graduation parties — are often moments that people never forget. You can play a key role in making memories for countless people by starting your own event planning business. As the pandemic recedes, the industry has been growing fast and is now worth $3 billion in the US alone, so the opportunity is real. If you enjoy organizing and planning, this could be the perfect venture for you — and now’s a great time to do it. 

More and more people are looking to plan long-delayed major events, from weddings to reunions to memorials and more. You can grab a piece of this growing market with a bit of training, confidence and organizational skills. Starting an event planning business requires little investment, and event planners often make 15-20 percent of the total cost. So just imagine how good you’ll feel working from home while planning a $100,000 wedding reception!

6. Wedding Planning

Wedding Planning

Who doesn’t love a big wonderful wedding? Of course, everything has to be absolutely perfect, which is why so many Americans choose to hire a wedding planner. Wedding planning is a nearly $900 million industry in the US, and poised to do well as many couples are finally able to put their long-delayed nuptials on the calendar. If you’re well organized and enjoy making grand plans, you could start your own wedding planning business and create magical memories for countless couples and their loved ones while grabbing a share of this major market. 

The first decision is to choose what type of wedding planning you’d like to offer: full-service, partial service, or event coordination. Full-service planners take care of absolutely everything, from the flowers to the table placements and even the weather (they wish!). Partial service planners provide assistance with key aspects of the wedding, such as outfits or location, and event coordinators just keep an eye on the details for couples who’ve done most of their own planning. You might want to offer all three services, and optimize your chance of success!

7. Pet Sitting

Pet Sitting

You’d probably never guess that pet sitting is a $2.6 billion industry, but it is indeed. People love their pets, and will spend whatever it takes to ensure their animals are cared for when they are away. The pet sitting market is projected to see impressive growth through 2027, so if you’re an animal lover, now is the perfect time to start your own pet sitting business and ride that wave to serious profits. 

The first step is to decide which type of pets you’ll care for. Do you have more experience with dogs or cats? Are you OK with snakes? Once you’ve got that nailed down, you’ll just need to buy some pet toys and supplies and offer your services on a gigs site like TaskRabbit. It’s a good idea to reach out to friends, family and work-related contacts and acquaintances. If you’re able to generate an initial client or two from your own personal network, and provide them with great service, you’ll have a strong reference to promote your services and start building a successful business.

8. Campground

Campground

Do you love the outdoors? If so, setting up a campground business is right up your alley. It’s fun and a great way to start your entrepreneurial journey. Camping is one of the most popular pastimes in the US. Despite the pandemic in 2020, the number of campers aged six years and older increased to 48 million, according to German research firm Statista. Camping and other outdoor activities are deemed safer than indoor recreational activities in the time of COVID-19, a highly infectious airborne viral disease. 

Your biggest challenge in starting a campground is finding a suitable location. The most visited campgrounds in the US are in state parks, near bodies of water, surrounded by wilderness, or in the mountains. Once you find an ideal campsite, you’ll need to comply with licensing, zoning, and other legal requirements. Before you launch your business, it’s wise to research the market and find out what other campgrounds are offering. With careful planning and a creative marketing strategy, your campground can give competing sites a run for their money.

9. Airbnb

Airbnb
sdx15 / Shutterstock.com

If you’ve stayed in an Airbnb, you probably know how easy it can be. It’s like having a home away from home! Which is why the homestay segment of the hotel and lodgings market has seen explosive growth in recent years, with Airbnb leading the way. Renting out your home as an Airbnb is an easy and flexible way to earn income, whether you’re looking for a little extra money or hoping to build a serious business. 

The crucial first step is to make sure your home or apartment can be rented out for short-term stays. In many areas today, there are laws either banning Airbnb rentals or limiting them to a certain share of local units. If your place clears that hurdle, and is in an area with some tourist appeal, you’re already halfway there. If your home or apartment fails to meet one of these requirements, you might want to look into purchasing a home or apartment in an appealing destination, which you could then develop into a popular Airbnb. 

Whichever approach you choose, the most important step is delivering fantastic service to your guests. If you can achieve Superhost status, you’ll be well on your way to Airbnb success.

10. Bed and Breakfast

Bed and Breakfast

Many Americans still choose to stay in a bed and breakfast for the unique hospitality, homey experience, freshly cooked food, and fascinating stories that it offers. The US bed and breakfast market was estimated to be worth $1.7 billion in 2021, German research firm Statista says. The market is expected to rebound from the pandemic slump with the lifting of travel restrictions. If you’ve been thinking about opening your own bed and breakfast, now is the time to do it. 

When starting a B & B business, it’s important to be updated on the latest trends in the industry. For example, many guests prefer a facility that offers live entertainment or is located close to tourist attractions. It’s also to your advantage to research the market and see what features and services are being offered by the competition. Be innovative in coming up with ways to differentiate your business. Running a bed and breakfast is not easy, but it can be very rewarding if you play your cards right.

11. Bike Rental

Bike Rental

As more workers return to commuting between their homes and offices, demand for bike rental for last mile connections will likely increase. If you’re thinking of starting your own business, a bike rental shop might be a great option. The US bike rental industry, which is valued at nearly $800 million, is projected to grow in the next five years amid a boom in the bike sharing sector. More commuters now prefer to ride bikes because these are good for the environment. Anxiety over catching the coronavirus in public transportation systems has also fueled demand for bikes. 

There are a few things you need to consider before starting a bike rental business. Is there a market for bike rental in your area? What kind of bikes should you offer? How many bikes should you have at any given time? You will find the answers to these questions as you research the market. It is also important to comply with all the legal and regulatory requirements and to come up with a good marketing plan. An option is to place bike docks near subway or bus stations.

12. Kayak Rental

Kayak Rental
andreonegin / Shutterstock.com

As more people explore the outdoors in a post-pandemic world, investing in a kayak business makes sense. It can be a great way to make money while you’re getting some exercise and enjoying the great outdoors. Sales of kayaks are seen to grow steadily through 2026 while the accessories market is projected to expand to nearly $300 million by 2027. So, why not start setting up a kayak rental business now?

Aside from offering kayaks for lease, a kayak rental business should also carry accessories like paddles, apparel and helmets, storage bags, seats, life jackets, and safety gear. Selecting the location of your shop is important. It will have to be near the coast, a river or a lake. There should be high foot traffic. You’ll need a substantial investment to set up your shop and stock up on the kayaks and accessories. Finally, it’s a good idea to promote your business and let people know about your offerings.

13. Car Rental

Car Rental

As people book long-delayed holidays in the wake of the pandemic, the car rental industry is booming, with global revenues expected to double by 2027. With some hard work and determination, you could start your own car rental business and provide business and leisure travelers with the transport they need while grabbing your share of a growing $50 billion US market and making a good living.  

Keep in mind that this is a competitive market, which means you’ll need to find ways to stand out, such as with deep discounts or a unique selection of cars. Speaking of which, you’ll also need to lay out a sizable investment to get your initial fleet of four to five cars. Finally, it’s crucial that you meet all the licensing and insurance requirements or your business could face severe fines, or worse. But if you’re able to clear these hurdles, there’s a good chance your car rental business will soon be cruising down easy street.

14. Travel Blog

Blog

In the podcast era, you might have thought that blogs had gone out of style. You would be wrong. The internet is home to more than 600 million blogs, more than 2 million blog posts go online every day, and after years of steady growth, the US is home to about 32 million blogs. Substack, the blog and newsletter platform, recently passed one million subscribers. As a result, there is real opportunity for a bold entrepreneur looking to start a blog business and get in this massive market. 

It requires minimal investment. All you really need is a reliable computer and decent wifi. The major hurdle is coming up with a concept, an objective or mission for your blog business. You might choose generating funds to feed hungry children or delivering crucial news to the people of your city or state. Once you’ve found your niche, you’ll need to reach out across your network, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and beyond, looking for all those who write on related subjects and asking them to get on board. You could offer discounts, incentives, or rewards to sweeten the deal. 

Once a couple of accomplished bloggers sign on, the paid advertisements will start rolling in and you’ll be on the road to success in the blogging business.

15. YouTube Travel Channel 

YouTube
Sutipond Somnam / Shutterstock.com

So you want to start a YouTube business? Great idea! The opportunities for online businesses are endless these days, and video platforms like YouTube are one of the best places to start. YouTube’s ad revenue increased a stunning 25 percent in 2021, which means now is a great time to get in on the action. 

There’s no doubt that YouTube is a powerful business tool. But it can be a little tricky to know the best way to start a YouTube business. If you have some expertise or skill that is in great demand, you’ll want to create a series of videos and start your own YouTube channel. From there, you’ll need to generate visitors, and a great way to do that is to post about your videos and expertise across all social media, and tell your family and friends. 

As you keep delivering quality content, you should be able to start generate subscriptions, and that’s when the ad dollars start rolling in.

16. Jet Ski Rental

Jet Ski Rental
LukeandKarla.Travel / Shutterstock.com

Do you like having fun out on the water? Well, so does everybody else! That’s why starting a jet ski business is almost always a great idea. The global personal watercraft market is worth $1.5 trillion and expected to expand a stunning 50% by 2027. Right now is a great time to start a jet ski business, bring good times to your community and ride the market expansion to great success. 

Getting there will require a significant investment. You’ll need to spend about $25,000 to get your first few jet skis, plus a rental facility on the water and permits and licensing fees. Of course, you’ll also need to live near an appealing body of water, and preferably one that’s accessible and enjoyable for more than a few months of the year. Finally, you will definitely want to get good insurance, because jet skis are almost as dangerous as they are enjoyable. 

Once that’s all settled, just start advertising on local outlets and events, posting on relevant social media groups and online vacation platforms. You’ll have your first few customers in no time, and soon be cruising toward success.

17. Glamping

Glamping

A decade ago nobody had heard the word glamping, which is short for “glamorous camping”. Today it’s a nearly $3 billion global industry and among the fastest segments of the broader travel and hospitality market, expected to more than double by 2030. If you have a bit of land in an appealing location, or have the funds to purchase such a plot, you could start your own glamping business and make a good living offering appealing luxury experiences to discerning travelers.

There will be some serious work involved. In addition to acquiring the property, you’ll need to outfit with all the bells and whistles — from tents and teepees to high-end beds, furniture, lighting and air-conditioning and heating units. If your location is on the water, you could boost your revenue by also offering sailboats, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and more rental. But before you get started, this is a new and fast-evolving industry, so it’s best to take some time, research the marketplace and learn the latest, hottest trends before you commit to any specific style. 

To attract customers, it’s important that your glampground is the most appealing in your area.

18. RV Rental

RV Rental

RVing, or traveling in a recreational vehicle, is a popular way of exploring the US with family and friends. It’s showing no signs of slowing as more than 70 million Americans are expected to go on road trips in an RV they rent, own, or borrow, according to the RV Industry Association. If you’re looking to tap into this lucrative market, then consider and start an RV rental business.

You can either invest in a fleet of RVs, which require a hefty investment, or you can just list your RV on online marketplace Outdoorsy. Before setting your rates, it’s a good idea to scope out the market and find out how much the others are charging. You’ll have to factor in insurance and other costs in order to make a profit. Finally, it’s important to keep your RVs well-maintained and clean to attract customers, most of whom prefer to rent out new units. With these in place, your RV rental business will be up and running in no time.

19. Spa Business

Spa Business

For a lot of people, nothing is more relaxing than a day at the spa. That’s precisely why it’s a growing $17 billion industry in the US. If you’re a massage therapist or esthetician, you could open your own beauty salon and nail spa, luxury spa, massage studio, medical spa or even a mobile spa, and make people feel better while you make a good living.  

You will need to get licensed, which can take some doing, and you will need to deliver excellent services to compete in an increasingly competitive and saturated market. Another crucial aspect will be the location of your spa — preferably somewhere with steady traffic. Or you could go the mobile spa route and make house calls, bringing your massage and therapeutic services to your clients. This is more convenient for them, which means you can charge a higher rate, despite having lower overhead. There are many elements to consider for your spa business, but what is not in doubt are your chances of success if you’re determined and can deliver healing services.

20. Photobooth

Photobooth

After nearly being forgotten, photobooths are back in a big way! The market is expected to grow strongly in the years ahead and hit $1 billion in revenue by 2027. Keep in mind, these aren’t your grandfather’s photobooths, with the little curtain and four-photo black-and-white strip. Today’s photobooths offer a slew of technological advancements, as some come with touch screens, props, color printing, customizable backgrounds, and mobile hotspots to share photos on social media. 

These days, businesses are renting photobooths for corporate events, while consumers are renting them for weddings, birthday parties, proms, graduations and other major events. The possibilities are nearly endless, and the opportunity is vast. Getting started requires the purchase of an appealing, technologically advanced photobooth, which is a significant investment. The smart move is to look in your area and online for a used one at a reasonable rate. Once you’ve checked that box you’ll just need to get the word out and you’ll be snapping your way to serious success.

21. Party Bus

Party Bus
ccpixx photography / Shutterstock.com

Ready to party? As the pandemic recedes, everybody wants to get back out there and have some good times. For a lot of people that means renting out a party bus and dancing and drinking the night away while cruising down the streets. Party buses are part of the $8 billion US limousine industry, and expected to see strong growth as more and more people schedule long-delayed bachelor and birthday parties, graduation events and just fun nights out on the town. 

Starting your own party bus business will require considerable investment. The major cost will be, of course, the bus itself. Hopefully you’ll be able to find a reliable one at a reasonable price and then deck it out with all the trimmings, from a bar and disco ball to a DJ booth and more. Once you’ve done some marketing and gotten the word out you’ll be able to charge as much as $700 per night, so it shouldn’t take too long before you see a major return on your investment. 

Just be sure to get all your licenses, permits and insurance — the last thing you want is for the party to get parked on the curb.

22. Boat Rental

Boat Rental
LukeandKarla.Travel / Shutterstock.com

Who doesn’t love a day out on the water? There are so many things to do from skiing and tubing to cruising, socializing, swimming and just taking in the sun. That’s why boat rentals are a $5 billion US industry expected to see smooth sailing and steady growth in the years ahead. If you like spending time outdoors, you could start your own boat rental business and help people enjoy their time off while making a good living. 

There are several possible constraints. For one, you will need to live near a sizable body of water, and find an available access point or marina to base your operations. Second, you’ll likely need to accept the seasonal nature of this line of work, which in most areas of the US will only bring in revenue for 6-7 months of the year. Finally, getting started will require a significant investment, as appealing, rentable speed boats and other watercraft do not come cheap. 

But if you’re OK with all this, and able to acquire the necessary permits and insurance, once you start putting boaters on the water you’ll be cruising straight toward success.

23. Translation Business

Translation Business

Demand for translation services is expected to grow as more companies seek to capture or increase their share of the global market. In the US, more than 10,000 new jobs for interpreters and translators are expected each year through 2030. They translate documents, localize websites, and interpret speech from one language to another, including sign language. If you’re thinking about starting a translation business, you’re not alone. But if you have the skills and the right talents and tools, you could edge out the competition. 

In this internet age, finding translators who can work remotely across the globe has become easier. Promoting diversity among your staff could also be good for your business because you’ll be able to offer translation services for more languages. Do the paperwork to register your business, keep yourself updated with the latest technologies, promote your services, and you should be able to gain traction as soon as you start operating.