When we look back on 2020 and 2021, we may well see it as the year our retail model changed for good.
Just like after the financial crisis of 2008 in the U.S., where many travel agents were without a job and became independent home-based agents, COVID-19 may well bring about another wave of agents who will permanently work from home.
In 2020, we have better technology than we had in 2008 and this has enabled working from home and made interfacing with clients, suppliers and co-workers much easier.
COVID-19 has forced most Canadians to work from home, including travel agents who normally worked in a storefront agency or call centre.
As bad as the situation is right now in travel, for some agents working from home has been a welcome development and they have become very comfortable – so much so that they do not want to go back to the office or call centre.
A lot of agents will tell you that they don’t miss the lengthy daily commute. They don’t miss the office gossip. They have discovered a better work/life balance that they don’t want to give up. These agents have had a taste of what it’s like to work from home … and they are loving it.
And many agents have concerns about the risks of returning to the workplace because of their own health, or the health of a vulnerable family member.
Agents who switch to home-based now will be in a position to take advantage of a higher share in their commission when the rebound happens. Independent contractors can earn considerably more than when they were in a storefront or call centre – with the right host agency.
Agents who were afraid to take the leap of working from home are now contacting hosting companies like The Travel Agent Next Door –and they are switching in big numbers.
“I am booked solid almost seven days a week on calls with agents who want to join,” says TTAND Founder, Flemming Friisdahl. “Many office and call centre agents have seen the light about the benefits of working from home, plus they are amazed at how much MORE commission they can earn by being independent after we have a conversation.”
“Although COVID-19 has created many challenges for our industry, just like with so many other industries, it is re-shaping our thinking and how we can work from home in the future – with the added benefit for agents who join to be their own boss without all the overhead and costs,” he added.
Friisdahl adds that now is the perfect time to make the move to becoming independent. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand out there and people will be looking to book, sooner or later. Agents can retain a lot more of their commission as independent contractors and take advantage of the wave when it comes.”