TORONTO — The Travel Agent Next Door has signed up 130 agents in its first year of business and is getting ready to launch both a new lead generation program and a new agent program and website.
Sales are on target and the company has had to hire more staff. “It’s been a great year for TTAND. We had more agents then expected join us the first year and now we are at 130 agents and literally growing each day,” said company founder Flemming Friisdahl.
A special TTAND supplement is polybagged with the March 26 issue of Travelweek. It’s also available online. The supplement includes articles about being an independent contractor. “We want to show small agencies and independent contractors what we have been up to, and what kind of options we offer small agents to help them grow their bottom line and help them grow their top line and have a great life/work balance. We also want to show ICs what we have to offer but the key is to have them call and go over the program. We want to show them how this program can work specifically for them,” said Friisdahl.
A presentation about the TTAND program takes about an hour, he added. “The number one comment I get over and over again from agents, and it is great, is ‘I cannot believe your program has so many inclusions and parts to it’ once they have heard the full presentation.”
TTAND’s new lead generation program, coming in the second quarter, will help generate leads for cruises, wedding groups, rental homes and ITC packages.
TTAND is also developing a new agent program. “We are very excited to start this program. We will be training new agents entering the industry. With the current rate of retirement and shortage of young talent, this is crucial for the future.”
The new agent website, set to launch in April, will include testimonials from TTAND agents.
The home-based industry seems set to flourish with expansive growth in Canada, following the trend in the U.S. But retailers are converting from bricks-and-mortar to home-based at a slower rate than in the U.S. “One of the good things in Canada is we have government bodies like TICO and BCCP that help regulate who is or is not a travel agent and I would love to see other provinces do the same. The number of people who can call themselves travel agents in Canada is regulated, as it should be. Canada is still quite a ways behind the UK and the U.S. in the number of home-based agents, but home-based agents in Canada are all real travel agents who are linked to host agencies. There are some rules around it. I am certain it will continue to grow and flourish for many years to come and there certainly is plenty of room for a number of players,” said Friisdahl.
TTAND’s offerings including a referral program for agents to use to grow their business, an ongoing free trip giveaway that is used at all shows and a new destination guide that is designed specifically for one customer, and features all the agent’s information. Invoicing can be done completely in U.S. funds. Marketing support includes mail and electronic marketing, plus agents get their own fully bookable website with six booking engines. Commission is paid twice a month “and having that pay deposited within seven days of the cut-off has made life easier for all of our agents,” said Friisdahl.
See thetravelagentnextdoor.ca for details. View the video below to see the agent testimonials: