5 Things that Every Travel Agent Should Consider when Choosing a Host Travel Agent Partner
When selecting a host agency to partner with it is very important to have a clear idea and plan of where you want to take your travel business into the future. Your business objectives will help you easily see the direction you should take in finding the right host agency with which to align. Have a good plan of they type of travel you are or will be selling and what elements of support you will need from a host in order to accomplish your goal of operating a successful travel business.
Choosing and working with a host agency is really just like building a relationship of mutual benefit and is not something that should be rushed into. Take your time and do your homework to ascertain the best host agency partner for your business goals. There are many different types of host agencies and visiting www.FindaHostTravelAgency.comand utilizing the many resources there will help you with your search. Be sure to take advantage of the search filters to help you narrow down your options.
While there are many key considerations when choosing and negotiating your host agency arrangement, we are going to highlight 5 Vital Things to Consider during your search and in your decision making process.
1. Industry Reputation and Experience
In your search for a host agency partner it is vitally important to look for a host agency with a strong and ethical reputation within the travel industry. The last thing you want to do is find yourself partnered with a company that lacks respect and recognition from any sector of the industry. A reputable host agency will have strong and solid relationships with the various travel suppliers they work with which include cruise lines, tour operators, airlines and other industry vendors. The primary focus and goal of a strong host agency will be of helping their independent agents to grow and prosper. We will discuss the importance of the supplier partnerships further in this article.
Look for a host agency that has successfully operated an independent agent program for a good number of years. An effective and solid track record of supporting an independent agent network is really vitally important to your business. If an agency you are looking at has just started working with outside agents/independent agents, be very wary. Operating with a diverse group of independent travel agents is difficult and requires a very strong skill set and years of experience to perfect the skills. A record of successful integration of independent agents is your best sign to proceed. It is also prudent and suggested that you request and check references if at all possible.
2. The Support System
One of the reasons you have chosen to go the host agency route is most certainly for the support you believe will enable your business to grow and prosper. While you are going to be in business for yourself, working through a host agency will mean you are really not all by yourself. Support to your business can come in a variety of different ways and each host agency has their own support systems in place.
If you are new to the travel business the level of support you may need from a host may be quite different from a more experienced agent. Therefore, know your own business needs and search out those host agencies that offer the specific support features that you are looking for with your host partner. Support may be in the form of training, education, networking, mentoring, consulting and more. It is just important to clearly identify well in advance what support features you feel are necessary for you.
3. The Supplier Portfolio
One area that we see some agents over look when searching for their host agency partner is that of the supplier portfolio. Keep in mind that you will be working with those suppliers that the host agency has agreements and a relationship with. If you are aligning yourself with a host that focuses on a product or service that you have no plan on making a part of your business, then keep looking. An example might be a host that primarily supports corporate travel. If you do not sell corporate travel, then those airline contracts and other business focused agreements will do you no good at all.
While looking at the supplier offerings through that host agency, you will also want to focus on the commissions and overrides. Host agencies act as aggregators for suppliers who pay commissions for revenue volume. Carefully review the supplier portfolio keeping in mind those suppliers that offer good commissions and overrides on those products that you intend to sell. Look for a host that has a similar sales portfolio to yours to maximize your commissions and supplier support.
4. Marketing & Sales Programs
Many hosts offer a wide variety of marketing materials and programs that you can take advantage of to build your business. These can come in the form of printed pieces or digital options. Since a host is typically working with a large group of independents the cost of production for printed pieces comes down considerably. Personalizing marketing pieces is also a great option offered by most host agencies thus building your brand awareness with your clients and future clientele. If this is important to you, be sure to carefully research the offerings of the host agencies you are considering.
In addition to marketing materials, there are many host agencies that offer consumer sales leads to help you build your clientele. When you are new to selling travel, this can be a game changer and really launch your sales efforts. How the host agency provides the leads and any fees associated with that will depend on each hosts unique offerings.
While we have listed this as the 5th and final thing to consider when choosing a host travel agency, it might well be the most important of all! While you will be operating your own unique travel business, you are still aligning your self with a business partner in a sense. You will be working closely with your host agency and the synergies and business focus you share must be aligned and going in the same direction.
Probably the only way you will really know if the agency you are choosing to work with is the right fit for you is by picking up the phone and having one on one multiple calls with them. Even better would be to visit them physically if you can make that happen. Remember, this is your business we are talking about and it is very important for you to align yourself with the right host to suit your needs. Additionally, you need to fit into their system as well. There has to be a comfort level and compatibility for this to work to benefit both parties.
As you can see there are so many great benefits for you when you choose the right host agency to align with. Take your time and use all the tools available to you at www.FindaHostTravelAgency.com and enjoy your journey!