In just five years, The Travel Agent Next Door has seen a meteoric rise towards success. How did they accomplish this? Through hard work and with the help of travel agents, says Flemming Friisdahl, Founder.
In this week’s Take Five, we ask Friisdahl about the company’s latest restructuring, why agents should join, and how the home-based segment will evolve in the coming years.
1. The company recently restructured into regions. Tell us, how did this idea come about, and how has it been working out so far?
Having worked my entire life as a supplier and taking care of travel professionals, I knew the importance of making sure the local BDM was receiving credit for the business done in their area. We had to change over 14,000 passwords with 26 suppliers so it was a lot of work. So far the feedback from our agents and the suppliers has been very positive.
2. The company has grown exponentially in the past five years. What would you attribute this growth to, and what are some early 2019 projections?
I wish I could say it was all luck, but it has been a lot of hard work by many people in the support office and also our agents proactively telling their agent friends of what we offer. TTAND will be launching five major technology programs in the coming year that no other host agency will have, nor are even working on. This has been our key – keeping it fresh and new.
3. How many agents do you have currently? And what would you say to sway any agent thinking of joining?
We are at about 400 primary agents and those primary agents have another 320 associate agents working with them. The four major benefits are:
- Everything you need for just $69 per month (no nickel and diming agents)
- We offer both print magazines and electronic marketing, at no cost
- The highest commission split in the industry, at up to 100%
- Support: We have 37 staff to help support our agent partners
4. What new trends in the travel industry do you find worrisome for home-based agents? And how can TTAND help?
The biggest concern I have is suppliers that go after the customer directly by offering them special added value/discounts that an agent cannot offer. Recently one supplier offered a friends and family rate to anyone that came to their site, and agents could not compete as the supplier gave away the 8% commission – not fair!
5. Where do you see the future of home-based agencies moving towards in the next five years? How do you think it will not only sustain itself, but grow to the point of gaining significant marketshare in the travel industry?
Home-based agents will continue to grow, this is for certain. However it will grow through traditional storefront agents moving home and also new entrants into the market looking for a second career as travel agents. This is good as there are not as many agents under the age of 30 entering the business at the moment and we need more.