A recent survey of home-based travel agents produced some very interesting results.
Here is Theresa Winchester of The Travel Agent Next Door with her personal response to the survey results.
SURVEY SAYS: Over 50% became home-based in last 5 years. Is this true of you?
Winchester: “I’ve been a travel professional for six years now. The first three years, I spent one or two days a week in the office but was working at home the other days. I’ve always considered myself a home-based agent as I was usually working alone even when at the office.”
SURVEY SAYS: 92% said they have a better work-life balance since becoming a hosted agent. How is your work/life balance better?
“Having boundaries has never been my strong suit and working at home has made it more difficult to turn the computer off and quit work. I’m sometimes still at work at 9 p.m. or start before 8 a.m., preferably not on the same day. However the timing is flexible so I can make medical and other personal appointments at any time of day. When my husband required many medical appointments, I was able to work around his schedule and continue to work in spite of very difficult personal circumstances.”
SURVEY SAYS: Almost 50% said they were earning more now than before. What do you attribute this to? Are you selling more? Getting a greater share of your commissions?
“It’s a combination, really. I’m selling more now as I’m more experienced and my loyal clientele has grown. But earning a great share of my commissions has been fantastic and really makes a huge difference in the bottom line for me. It’s definitely a motivator. In the previous agency, at 37% commission, there was no significant motivation for me to work hard on certain add-ons that earned more for the agency owner than for me!”
SURVEY SAYS: 89% of home-based agents are happier. Describe how you are happier and why.
“Working with The Travel Agent Next Door is a much better fit for me than the previous agency. The everyday philosophy of ‘we are here to support the travel agent without whom we do not earn money’ is a crucial component.”
What advice would you give to agents still working in an office about going home based?
“It is a mixed blessing, especially if you already have difficulties with boundaries. The flexible work hours are a definite asset and can make the difference between continuing as an agent during difficult times or having to quit. I do miss the camaraderie of the workplace but the Facebook group for our agents is helpful, and attending the yearly conference even more so.”