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23 Travel & Hospitality Business Ideas

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Reviewed by: Daniel Javor

Updated on January 26, 2023

23 Travel & Hospitality Business Ideas

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23 Travel & Hospitality Business Ideas

Are you a big fan of travel, dining, and entertainment? Well then maybe that’s the way to start your entrepreneurial journey.

If you have a spare room or available apartment, you can turn it into a money-maker by listing it on Airbnb. You could open a cafe, bar or restaurant, if you have the funds. If you don’t, you could start a travel blog or podcast and monetize it.

These are just a few of the excellent travel and hospitality business ideas detailed below. Read on to see if anything sparks your interest.

1. Travel Agency

How to start a travel agency business

Are you always planning your next vacation? Maybe you should start your own travel agency. It’s a great way to share your love of travel with others, and it can be quite lucrative. US travel agencies are expected to rebound strongly from the pandemic with a 38% jump in revenue in 2022, and the market is projected to grow steadily for years to come.  

If you have the resources, starting a travel agency business can be a breeze. First, you should 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 know exactly what makes a great package tour? Then starting your own tour business might be the right move. It’s a lot of work, but it can be very rewarding. The US tour industry is bouncing back big-time after the pandemic, with revenue set to increase more than $8 billion in 2022.

Tour operators are primarily responsible for arranging tour packages for tourists and travel agencies. Demand is rising for tour packages in the countryside, national parks and the outdoors. Before you can start operating, you should pick a niche, choose your target demographics, and understand the competition. You should also familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations that tour operators, travel agencies and other tourism-related businesses must follow.

3. Photography

How to start a photography business

If you’re an amateur photographer who loves snapping great pics, it might be time to take the plunge and go pro. The US photography industry is worth $11 billion and expecting steady growth in the coming years, so the opportunity is real. 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

How to start a circus business

They might seem old-fashioned, but circuses are still popular in the US, drawing crowds for their aerials, acrobatics, animal acts and more. They typically have clowns, cyclists, and pole artists too. As Americans head back out to enjoy live performances, plenty of opportunities await entrepreneurs thinking of starting a circus. 

But before you launch, you’ll need 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. Break a leg!

5. Event Planning

How to start an event planning business

The biggest events — weddings, reunions, graduation parties — are moments that people never forget. You can help create powerful memories for countless people with your own event planning business. As the pandemic recedes, the industry is growing fast and 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

How to start a wedding planning business

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

How to start a pet sitting business

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. As countless people take long-delayed travel journeys, 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

How to start a campground

Do you love the outdoors? If so, setting up a campground could be 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. Thanks in part to the pandemic, the number of campers has increased to nearly 50 million, as outdoor activities are seen as safer than indoor recreation.

Your biggest challenge in starting a campground will be finding a suitable location. The most visited US campgrounds 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

How to start a airbnb business

If you’ve stayed in an Airbnb, you know how easy it can be. It’s like having the perfect 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 a smart way to boost your income, whether you’re looking for a little extra money or looking 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. Many cities have laws in place that ban Airbnb rentals or limit 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

How to start a bed and breakfast business

Long before Airbnb, travelers loved booking a romantic getaway to a “B & B,” or bed and breakfast. Many Americans still prefer them for the warm hospitality, personal service, homemade cooking, and more. The US bed and breakfast market was worth $1.7 billion in 2021 and has begun 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 a great time to do it. 

When starting a B & B business, it’s important to know the latest industry trends. For example, many guests prefer a facility that offers live entertainment or is close to tourist attractions. Also, many travelers today prefer to book on popular online lodgings platforms, like booking.com, so you should be sure to get on there. It’s also to your advantage to research the market and learn all about 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

How to start a bike rental business

As more workers return to commuting, demand for bike rentals for last-mile connections is sure to increase. If you’re thinking of starting your own business, a bike rental shop might be a great option. The US bike rental industry, valued at nearly $800 million, is projected to grow in the next five years amid a bike-sharing boom. More commuters now prefer the eco-friendly commute of riding a bike.

There are a few things 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 start with? You’ll find the answers to these questions as you research the market. Just be sure to comply with all the legal and regulatory requirements and come up with a good marketing plan. You’ll be pedaling your way to success in no time!

12. Kayak Rental

How to start a canoe and kayak rental business

As more and more people get back outdoors, a kayak business makes sense. It can be a great way to make money while helping people get some exercise and enjoy nature. Sales of kayaks and accessories are expected to grow steadily for the next few years, so now’s a great time to take the plunge.

Aside from offering kayaks for rent, you could also carry accessories like paddles, apparel and helmets, storage bags, seats, life jackets, and safety gear. Selecting the location of your shop is crucial. It will have to be near a body of water, of course. 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

How to start a car rental business

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. 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 a million subscribers. As a result, there is real opportunity for a bold entrepreneur looking to start a blog and get in this 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, just 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 writers sign on, the paid ads will start rolling in and you’ll be on the road to success. Then it might be time to launch a podcast!

15. YouTube Travel Channel 

How to start a youtube business

Thinking of getting into online video? It’s definitely booming, and the best place to start is a leading platform like YouTube. 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

How to start a jet ski rental business

Do you enjoy spending the day on the water? Well, so does everybody else! That’s why a jet ski business is 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, preferably one that’s accessible and enjoyable for more than a few months of the year. Finally, you’ll need 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

How to start a glamping business

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 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 glamp-ground is the most appealing one in your area.

18. RV Rental

How to Start an RV Rental Business

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 starting an RV rental business.

You can either invest in a fleet of RVs, which requires a hefty investment, or you can just list your own RV on an online marketplace like 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 all this in place, your RV rental business will be up and running in no time.

19. Spa Business

How to start a spa business

For a lot of people, nothing is more relaxing than a day at the spa. That’s why it’s a growing $17 billion US industry. 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 making 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 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 therapeutic services to your clients. This is more convenient and means you can charge a higher rate, despite having lower overhead. There are many elements to consider for your spa, but what is not in doubt are your chances of success if you’re determined and deliver healing services.

20. Photobooth

How to start a photo booth business

After nearly being forgotten, photobooths are back in a big way! The market is expected to grow fast 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, and some come with touch screens, props, color printing, customizable backgrounds, and mobile hotspots to share images on social media. 

Today’s photobooths are popular at corporate events, weddings, birthday parties, proms, graduations and other big 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 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

How to start a party bus business

Ready to party? As the pandemic recedes, everybody’s looking to get out and have fun. For many, 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 a 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 nice 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

How to start a boat rental business

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’ll 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 half of the year. Finally, getting started will require a significant investment, as appealing, rentable 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

How to start a translation agency

Demand for translation services is expected to grow as more companies seek to capture a share of the global market. The US economy is expected to create more than 10,000 new jobs for interpreters and translators each year through 2030. That’s a lot of documents, websites, events and speeches going from one language to another. If you’re thinking of 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.