The holidays are almost here and it is always a crazy time for everyone – but especially for travel agents who have clients travelling, and others who want to get away last minute, adding to the pre-Christmas rush.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it is impossible to avoid the decorations, the music, the shopping frenzy, the parties and the trees!
And travel agents don’t get much of a break right after Christmas when (hopefully) clients take advantage of the deals that are offered after Boxing Day and in the New Year.
But this is also a time of year for reflection – it is the end of the year and most of us make New Year’s resolutions. If you are a home-based agent, is it time to think about whether you are with the right host agency?
Choosing the right host agency can make a world of difference to your everyday life as a travel professional – in so many ways. New Year’s resolutions are usually about improving ourselves and our lives. Deciding to change host agencies could be the most important resolution you make!
If your current contract is up for renewal now – or soon – here are some things you need to consider:
. What is the ratio of support staff to agents at my host agency? This is important because it will be directly related to their response time to you.
. Do I get my own website and is there a fee? Websites are a complex issue, with some host agencies you have to pay, with some you have to have their brand not yours, and with some it is a generic website.
. How many booking engines does my host agency give me access to? This can vary widely, be sure to ask.
. What is my earning potential? How much of my commission do I get to keep? Can I earn up to 100% of my commission? There are many different plans out there, make sure you can keep as much of your hard-earned commission as possible.
. How often does your agency pay your commission? You will want to be paid as often as possible.
. Does your host agency send magazines to your clients from YOU to promote travel? How many do they offer and how many times a year are they distributed? Magazines can be a great tool to get people thinking about different types of travel and some bucket list trips as well.
. Does your host agency offer a deferred payment program? These are making a big comeback in the travel industry and are a useful tool for agents. Make sure your host agency offers one and learn about the differences in the programs. They are not all the same!
. Does your host agency have an annual national conference? This is a great experience especially for home-based agents to network with suppliers and fellow agents and learn.
. Does your host agency have dedicated fams with different suppliers? These are always preferable and a perk of being associated with a host agency that has earned this!
. Does your host agency allow you to have associate agents? Many home-based agents have discovered the benefit of having associate agents working for them. Not all host agencies are set up to handle this smoothly. Be sure to ask about this because even if you don’t have them now, you may want to in the future.
If your contract expires at the end of the year, be sure to shop around! In the meantime, from everyone at The Travel Agent Next Door, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season.