I started HomeBasedTravelAgent.com over 20 years ago as a way to offer my books to folks looking to become home based travel and cruise agents. I should tell you a little about myself before going too much further. My name is Tom Ogg and I have been full-time in the travel industry for over 40 years. I have been fortunate to have dodged the many ups-and-downs in our industry and have been entrepreneurial for the last 30 years. Back in the late 1960s I started out as a agency sales rep for Aloha Airlines (I am a surfer and that is what motivated me to join Aloha) and after 12 years, left Aloha Airlines as Sales Manager. I opened a Hawaii wholesale tour company in La Jolla, California (Windansea Vacations) selling Hawaii vacations through travel agents in the western United States. After selling the tour company in 1984, I began acquiring travel agencies and bought and sold dozens of them over a ten year period. I also consulted and brokered travel agencies and wrote the book “How to Buy or Sell a Travel Agency” in 1986.
It became obvious to me that our industry was changing long before the general agency population realized it, so I made changes in the way that we did business. I sold all of our retail agency locations and then acquired one in a geographical area (Civic Center Travel in Escondido, California) that would allow us to open up (non-ARC appointed) branch offices around our centralized location. While the concept made sense, it didn’t work, simply because folks that were going to open a storefront wanted to have airline ticketing abilities right on the premises. But, we found out that the majority of folks that responded to our advertisements wanted to work from home. Joanie and I started one of the first credible host agencies in the industry (TBI) and subsequently recruited over 150 independent travel agents all over the country. Here is an article that mentions TBI that appeared in the travel industry trades in 1991. We decided we needed more help to grow the business and sold it to an industry icon with the idea of making it into an industry giant. That was a huge mistake, as the guy then had a couple of strokes with no health insurance and ran out of money.
I had just written “How to Start a Home Based Travel Agency” that was released in 1994 and the book had taken off like a rocket. All of sudden, I was speaking for all the travel industry trade shows, conventions, associations and other groups. Here is a trade article from 1994 about the seminars I was doing. One association, NACTA, (the original association for home-based travel agents approached me to either buy the association, or to help her find a buyer. I really wasn’t interested, but my wife, Joanie was. We purchased the association and the rest is history. Today, NACTA has been acquired by ASTA, the world’s largest travel agent trade association and continues to represent the Home-Based sector of our industry.
In February of 2006, I sold a major portion of my web sites for a ton of money and decided to give back even more to the industry that has taken such good care of me. In March of 2008, Joanie stepped down as President of NACTA in favor of doing her own thing again, so we are working together once more. And, in 2015 our son Andy joined the family business and will eventually take it over. Andy brings a wealth of knowledge and experience.While our industry continues to morph, now the mainstream is trying to catch up with the home-based travel agent revolution. The evolution of home-based agents is in more chaos now than ever before because you have folks trying to cash in on the phenomenon that really don’t even understand it, but are just convinced that the evolution can make them rich. It is truly sad. So, sign up for our monthly magazine, Travel Professional NEWS, visit this site and our sister sites FindaHostTravelAgency.com and TravelProfessionalNEWS.com. I promise that you will be glad that you did.
If you are already a professional travel agent, join our TravelProfessionalCommunity.com to stay in touch with travel professionals the world over. It is free and it is fun! I would love to meet you at one of the travel industry trade shows, on a cruise seminar, or at one of the many seminars I do around the country. If you would like to contact me for any reason, here is my information.
Additional Web Sites for Travel Agents
HomeBasedTravelAgent.com This site offers extensive information for those wanting to start a travel business including free video tutorials and articles.
FindaHostTravelAgency.com: If you have decided to start your travel business and are looking for a host agency, this is the place to come. It features complete profiles on every credible host agency (if you don’t see the one you are looking at there, there is a good reason) It also has thousands of agent reviews on just about every credible host agency so you can see what other agents have to say about a host.
TravelProfessionalNEWS.com Travel Industry News, updated daily with the latest from travel suppliers, host agencies and much more. Subscribe to the Newsletter to receive the latest news, offers and happenings right in your inbox.