TORONTO — The news reports coming in from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are heartbreaking, and the images even more so.
A recent survey of home-based travel agents produced some surprising results. We decided to put a few questions to individual agents to find out how their personal experiences compared with the results of the survey.
Here are Rosanne Sewerynek of The Travel Agent Next Door’s responses to a selection of the survey results.
SURVEY SAYS: Over 50% became home based in last 5 years
Sewerynek: “Yes, this is true. I became a full-time home-based travel agent just over 3 years ago.”
SURVEY SAYS: Over 60% were experienced agents before going home-based
Sewerynek: “I was with a storefront agency for 5 years. There were multiple reasons why I decided to go to a home-based agency and I’d like to say one of the main reasons I made the change was all about coming to a company that was truly focused on ‘my’ success. I was looking for support, higher commissions, a company that has a good relationship with multiple suppliers and highly qualified top end management team.”
SURVEY SAYS: 92% said they have a better work / life balance since becoming a hosted agent
Sewerynek: “Absolutely, my life’s balance is so much better now that I work from home. My husband is now semi-retired, and if my schedule allows, we go play a game of golf or walk to the lake because we can – in the middle the day! My children have their young families now and I am thrilled that in the middle of the week I can visit them for a few days and I don’t even have to think about leaving the office – it comes with me! All I need is the Internet and my phone, how cool is that. I don’t have to wait for the weekends-only visit.”
SURVEY SAYS: Almost 50% said they were earning more now than before
Sewerynek: “I am earning quite a bit more on each booking, simply because of the commission program the company I am with offers. I do not necessarily sell more – but I sell differently. My clients stayed with me when I moved and I have focused on having them refer my services more – allowing for clientele growth. As well I became more active in my community, hence putting my face to a name –building relationships – and it works. Be involved in your community, it helps greatly. The commission I earn on a booking now is more than double from the past storefront agency I was with. I focus on working with our preferred and approved suppliers – commissions are higher and support is unquestionably the best.”
SURVEY SAYS: 89% of home-based agents are happier
Sewerynek: “I am extremely happy. When I was at a storefront I had zero relationships with our BDMs – we were not allowed to. Now I have wonderful working relationships with many BDMs and this in turn helps my business in a way that never was before. Imagine that! I am a home-based agent and now have better relationships with our suppliers! I choose this profession as something I can do as I lead into my retirement and certainly a profession that keeps my mind alert and well-exercised daily, this is important to me. However, more important to me is time spent with my family and it is never compromised now that I work from home.”