Many folks find that working with a “host” agency is the most desirable way to operate their independent travel agent business. Host agencies specialize in offering independents sophisticated services, overrides, automation, quality control and support. By aligning yourself with a quality host agency you can catapult your business into existence with the great confidence that your clients will receive excellent service and a high level of expertise. This is especially true if you are brand new to the travel industry.
Finding a quality host agency is critical to your success as an independent travel agent. As you might expect, the agencies that advertise widely and have an aggressive recruitment program may not be the best choices. Here are a few things to look for in a host agency;
• They already work with successful independent agents
• They do not have any unresolved formal complaints against their agency
• They are committed to developing a professional independent agent network
• They do not have a “travel agent recruiting” program.
• They do not tout “travel agent ID cards” to obtain travel discounts.
• They do offer meaningful commissions and overrides
• You can understand what you are getting for your investment (if any)
• They do offer ongoing support where they make money if you do
It really doesn’t matter where the host agency is located, so don’t get locked into the idea that they have to be down the street from your home-based operation. There are several solutions to the issues of access, communication and delivery that resolve the question of location. Most of all you should feel comfortable with your new host agency and their ability to fulfill your needs as your business grows,
Feel free to check a host agency out with The Better Business Bureau, the FTC and any other organization you feel comfortable with. You should also check them out with some of their existing agents to see if they are happy.
Finally, almost every week I get a call from someone asking if I can recommend a host agency, or if I know that the host agency they are looking at is for real. Unfortunately, host agencies are very litigious (especially the flakes) and I cannot pass judgment on a host without facing some liability. However, I can certainly suggest those host agencies that have stood the test of time and have happy and successful independents working with them.
I have compiled a list of Host Agency that I feel represent the best of the best and am happy to share it with you. I think it is essential to your success whether you buy my books or not. The list resides at www.FindaHostTravelAgency.com. You will locate more information that you will need to succeed in finding a quality host agency located on the site.
Finally, here are a few quality host agencies that you should consider. These host agencies have stood the test of time and offer quality operations. They are listed in no particular order, as each one would be an excellent choice for you to make depending on your needs and desires. While there are hundreds of host agencies, these are the most stable and well established. Like all things in life, some are much better than others.
Recommended Host Agencies
TPI, Travel Planners International
Uniglobe Travel Center
Gifted Travel Network
ICT – Incentive Connection Travel
Dream Vacations / Cruise One
For much more information on locating the perfect host agency for you, be sure to visit: