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How to Start a Profitable Medical Tourism Business

Are you interested in Medical Tourism Business? Here is a detailed business plan guide to starting a medical tourism business.

Before we discuss the fine print of setting up a medical tourism company, it is important to understand what is medical tourism all about.

What is Medical Tourism?

A medical tourism service is all about helping patients to find the right doctors and healthcare facilities and coordinating the entire trip plan abroad or in other states and counties. A medical tourism facilitator works as a bridge between the patient family and the doctors or healthcare providers. Furthermore, they are also responsible to make the health trip an enjoyable one by providing recreational activities to the patient parties.

The medical tourism business is alternatively called health tourism and wellness tourism. It is a term that has arisen from the rapid growth of an industry where people from all around the world are traveling to other countries to obtain medical, dental, and surgical care at the same time traveling.

The medical tourism business is a greatly lucrative potential opportunity for entrepreneurs who know the medical services and facilities available in the places they will be catering to.

Is Medical Tourism Business Profitable?

Over the past decade, the medical tourism business industry has exploded. New companies are emerging to help people in developed countries obtain health care services in developing countries. This is due to a convergence of factors in both developed and developing countries.

The reasons for the growth of the medical tourism business are as follows:

  • Aging populations in developed countries.
  • Rising health care costs and/or long waiting periods in developed countries.
  • Inadequate health insurance coverage in developed countries.
  • Technological and care standard upgrades in developing countries.
  • Relatively lower medical costs in developing countries.
  • The added value of leisure and tourism activities in addition to receiving medical care.

In the United States alone, the latest reports suggest The U.S. medical tourism market size was valued at USD 6.7 billion in 2018. Industry experts predict a CAGR of 8.7% over the coming years.

8 Steps to Start a Medical Tourism Agency Business

To be successful in a career in medical tourism, the two most important aspects are networking and excellent customer service. You need to provide your clients with the opportunity to receive top-quality medical services in foreign countries at lower prices than in their home countries. To ensure the highest levels of customer service, you will need to be competent with the knowledge of premier medical facilities and service providers in foreign countries.

1. Understand the Market

It is extremely critical to find out the market potential of the medical tourism industry. Before investing, it is advised to conduct exhaustive market research and gather information regarding the opportunities and threats in medical tourism. If budget permits, hire a professional market survey agency and find out the feasibility of the business.

2. Tie up with the Best Medical Care Facilities

The single most critical factor in establishing a successful medical tourism agency business is to tie up with the best and most reputed healthcare facilities and doctors. It is always advised to visit them in person if possible and check the facilities yourself. Otherwise, collect information about their credibility online.

You need to negotiate with them and get the best pricing packages. It is without saying unless you get a low-price package, you won’t be able to offer competitive prices to your customers.

3. Create a Business Plan

After you receive the market research report, it is time to document the business plan. This report will not only help you in properly planning but also arrange finance. Some of the critical issues the medical tourism business plan must address are the following:

  • How much initial and recurring investment is needed?
  • What would be the earnings?
  • Market Research Report
  • Operational Plan
  • Manpower Plan
  • Financial Plan
  • Marketing Plan
  • Services to be Offered
  • Tour Plan Packages

One essential aspect while documenting the plan as a beginner is to decide how many patients can you handle at a time. Do keep in mind medical tourism agency business is a service-centric venture and customer service plays an extremely critical role in the make or break of the business.

4. Services You Can Provide in Medical Tourism Business

There are many kinds of services you can offer to customers in the medical tourism business. Some of them are the following:

  • Help with procuring a medical visa
  • Booking travel to the country where the services will be provided
  • Airport pick up and drop off
  • Consultation with appropriate specialists
  • Pre-operation accommodation
  • Booking into the hospital for the operation
  • Accommodation for post-operative recuperation
  • Arrangements for post-operative care in a foreign country
  • Book travel home from the country where the services have been provided
  • Arranging emergency insurance coverage for any unexpected serious adverse events arising from the surgery that means prolonged hospitalization
  • Arranging Travel Insurance

5. Form a Business Structure

Depending on the state and country you live in, you need to decide the appropriate business structure under which you are going to run the business. Talk to the local competent authority or a professional and find the appropriate form of company structure based on your scale of operation.

For example, if you are from the United States, forming an LLC is preferred by most serious business owners, as it provides certain benefits with nominal investment. There are many online LLC  formation providers you can contact to get your company registered without much headache.

6. Get Certified and Procure Licenses and Permits

To be a serious player in the medical tourism industry, it is extremely important to enhance your credentials as a medical tourism operator. Check with the tourism authority of the government, and try to arrange the required certificates.

Since the medical tourism business is related to the tourism industry, you will be required to deal with foreign customers. If you are not aware of the licenses required, hiring a professional makes your job easy.

7. How to Setup Medical Tourism Business

Initiating the medical tourism business demands substantial capital investment. As you are entering the service industry and going to offer top-class hospitality facilities, you will need to concentrate on hiring people for your organization. You will need to set up an office at a good retail location for the activity. Establish paneled vendors for your company.

Fix proper pricing for the service packages offered to customers. As medical tourism business service provider, you are supposed to advise your client on specialized, cost-effective medical facilities within their budget.

In addition, talk to the local competent authorities for required licenses and permits to operate medical tourism ventures.

8. Promote Your Medical Tourism Business

It is advisable to recruit a PR agency for advertisement activity. Focus online and offline. Create your online presence by having a business website. In today’s world, 87% of travelers use the internet for the bulk of their travel planning. Concentrate on SEO and the most important element in enhancing your SEO is to simply create engaging content.

As people’s time and attention span decrease, a heavier focus is increasingly placed on eye-catching visuals. Capture enticing visuals and post them on your website, blog, and social media. It makes it easy for your audience to share, which in turn spreads genuine awareness about your service to others.

Focus on crafting customized tour plans for every client. Focus on customer satisfaction and ask them for feedback. Plan the trip carefully to ensure that you will have eminent, very experienced physicians – effectively the best that country has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do medical tourism companies make money?

Here are some common ways in which medical tourism companies generate income:

  • Service Fees for their assistance and coordination services
  • Commission from Healthcare Providers
  • Package Markup
  • Affiliation with Insurance Companies
  • Additional Services like concierge services, airport transfers, local tours and activities, language interpretation services, and post-treatment follow-up care.
  • Consulting and Medical Concierge Services

What are the popular medical tourism destinations?

There are many popular medical tourism destinations in the world. It includes Canada, Japan, Thailand, India, Mexico, Turkey, Singapore, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Dubai, Spain, and South Korea.

How do I determine the pricing for medical tourism packages?

Pricing for medical tourism packages depends on various factors. It includes the type of procedure, destination, quality of medical services, accommodation, and additional services provided. It is advisable to conduct market research to understand the average pricing in your target market and then fix your pricing.

What are the challenges involved in starting a medical tourism business?

The biggest challenge in creating a successful medical tourism business is to establish trust and credibility among prospective customers. In addition, the other challenges are building a strong network of medical professionals and service providers, managing language and cultural barriers, and ensuring smooth coordination between healthcare and tourism services. Also, you must stay updated with changing medical regulations and advancements.