All that glitters is not gold
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Host agencies are actively competing to add agents and the industry is seeing a variety of incentives being offered to persuade agents to sign up.
Home based agents: know your power! You should be very wary of special offers. The key is to carefully examine a host agency’s full program and ensure that you are getting the best value and the most comprehensive program.
Recently we have seen host agencies waiving their annual fees or offering free membership. This kind of offer may look appealing at the outset but it is so important to always examine every detail before you sign.
If an agency is not charging you a fee then they are making their money in other ways – one way or another you will be contributing to that host agency’s bottom line.
And if the host agency is willing to negotiate with you, how do you know if you are getting the best deal or if other agents got a better one? You are better off dealing with a host agency that shows you all its cards and treats everyone as equal business owners!
Here are some things to look out for when you are thinking of signing with a host agency or switching host agencies:
- They say they offer you marketing tools. Ask what are the tools? What is the cost of each item and who pays to distribute it in the case of magazines or other mailers?
- They say they have digital marketing tools for you. Ask if they are customized? If so, is there an extra cost for this?
- Do you get your own website? If so, is there a charge? Is it a bookable website? How many booking engines does it have? Is there a charge for each booking engine?
- What is your commission split with the host agency? Does it always stay the same or is there a plan to increase your share based on performance? Ask to see their plan and ask what their other agents are getting.
- Is the commission split negotiable? (Remember the old adage: If you don’t ask, you don’t get)
- Ask to see all of the tools and programs the agency offers. Make sure you actually see the details.
Finally, always make sure you understand the out clause. How long do you have to sign for and how do you leave, if you want to?
Jill Wykes is a travel industry veteran who has held a series of senior management portfolios in travel corporations. A former chairman of the Travel Industry Council of Ontario, she is now an independent communications consultant and writer since retiring in 2011.
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