More advisors are “betting on themselves” and going home-based: IFC

More advisors are “betting on themselves” and going home-based: IFC

We have heard the whispers for weeks. Agents are telling us their phones have started to ring again with clients holding travel credits asking them to “check a few dates.”

With recent announcements of approval requests of vaccines for the 5-11 age group as well as the long-awaited re-opening of the Canada-U.S. land border, those whispers are growing louder, and the data shows Canadians are ready to travel again.

Our agents aren’t the only ones seeing the uptick. Independent by Flight Centre (IFC) has also seen a marked increase in inquiries as travel resumes. Agents excited to start booking their clients again used the past 18 months to re-evaluate how they want to move forward in their travel career. For many, the resounding choice has been to become their own boss and partner with a host agency.

Agents who have spent years honing their expertise and building trusted relationships with their clients are now betting on themselves. As we start to emerge from the pandemic, they’re choosing to become Independent Contractors, allowing themselves more control over their business, the ability to focus solely on their clients, the type of travel they want to sell, and increased flexibility in their schedule.

IFC provides Independent Contractors the ability to run their travel business backed by a company that is well known and trusted throughout the travel industry. Our brand recognition provides confidence to our agent’s clients in the post-pandemic travel landscape and provides them with the security that, just as they have their clients back, IFC has theirs. Our global buying power ensures that agents can continue to earn top tier commissions on the products they sell, as well as the ability to book in-house air & land contracts resulting in less reliance on third party consolidators.

FCTG’s international presence also allows IFC’s Independent Contractors a unique opportunity within the Canadian host agency market, utilizing our Workplace platform to let them connect and share their knowledge with other independent agents associated with FCTG in the U.S., Australia and plans for more countries to be added in future.

Taking the first steps towards entrepreneurship can be daunting which is why it’s vital to ensure you choose a host agency that is aligned with your vision for your business. Be sure to investigate the systems and platforms they use. Are they ones you are familiar with, or will there be a learning curve? Are you penalized for booking with non-preferred suppliers? What are the terms of the contract? Talk to agents that are with the host you are looking at and see what they have to say.

Here are a few thoughts from two IFC agents:

Camille Hillis: “I joined Independent by Flight Centre as a completely green, new-to-industry agent 2.5 years ago and it was the best decision I could have made. With no knowledge of systems or the ins and outs of the industry, I was supported 100% while I went through my training. Now, as an experienced travel agent, I am still supported 100%! Independent by Flight Centre is a host agency that is there for their agents in every way possible. During this last year they worked one-on-one with agents to make sure we still felt secure in our careers. The support team and agents are one big supportive family. We all lean on one another for advice and there is no sense of competition. It makes no difference if you are new-to-industry, have been in the industry for 30 years, work part time or full time, we are all treated the same. The compensation is very competitive, the fees are reasonable, and as I have mentioned, the support is incredible. Being part of the Flight Centre Travel Group, we as agents are respected by suppliers worldwide. I am thrilled to be part of this team and can’t imagine working with any other agency.”

Caitlin Sheen: “I’ve been in the travel industry for 9 years and with Independent by Flight Centre for 5 years. I love the freedom and flexibility of being a home-based agent. Independent by Flight Centre is an amazing host agency to be aligned with! They provide great head office support, commissions are paid on time every month and the team are just a phone call away for assistance. Also, IFC has a lot of agents across Canada, and we are all supportive with each other. There is always another agent who can answer questions about a specific destination, system, business strategies, etc. I have enjoyed my time with IFC and know that my business is supported by a great host agency!”

Just like our agents answering questions for clients excited but nervous to travel again, IFC is doing the same with agents nervous about taking that initial leap but excited about the potential rewards: No commute, higher earning potential, the ability to focus solely on their clientele, better work/life balance, and finding reassurance that Independent by Flight Centre allows them the opportunity to work FOR yourself but not BY yourself.

Heather Baker