About Us

Plain and simple? We’re here for both newbie and veteran travel agents—to educate and connect. We’re passionate about reinvigorating the travel industry and bringing in new blood!!

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Why We’re Here

Hey! I’m Steph, I own the site.

Steph Lee

As a former host agency director, I spoke to thousands of new and experienced travel agents. Many people I worked with were confused about starting their agency or becoming an agent, and found it difficult to find in-depth, reputable information.

They were bombarded with less-than-stellar looking sites, making some big claims about traveling the world and not working. Many of the agents didn’t know how to get started and many struggled with how to tell if a host agency was for realz.

I love the travel industry and I set out to provide a solution to these problems. So I left my job at a $50M agency to do just that. I started writing information about starting and running a travel agency, created a list of host agencies in the US and Canada, and provided a venue for agents to share their experiences with using those host agencies.

And that’s what you’re reading… right now! Yay! *high five*

About Me, Your Hostess

Steph and RigelYou should know that it’s not actually me who runs the shots here. It’s Rigel (Ry-gel), my 90 pound Collie mix. Any spelling errors on this site can (and should) be attributed to the fact he has no opposable thumbs. Same for grammatical errors; English is his second language, after all!

Why should you trust I know what I’m talking about? I grew up in the heart of it, my family had a home based travel agency. I was lucky enough to receive a few industry accolades including ASTA’s Young Professional of the Year award and Travel Agent magazine’s 30 Under 30.  Awards in general are great but it’s an extra bonus when they make you feel young and spry! 😉

I’ve spoken at SMBMSP social media events such as Social Media Breakfast—Minneapolis as well as a fair share of travel industry events such as Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld; LeisureWorld, The Home Based Travel Agent Show; and ASTA’s, THE TRADESHOW. On the media front, I have been a member of Travel Market Report’s Editorial Board and have published columns with industry publications such as Travel Research Online and Travel Market Report. I’ve also served as a Professional Educator at The Travel Institute.

I don’t say all this to brag, but to assure you I do know my stuff. Rest easy my friend, this site is legit.

So, I’m your host, Stephanie Lee. Pleasure to meet your acquaintance. Please introduce yourself and don’t be shy, ask me questions! I know the world of host agencies can be confusing but do not despair. It just so happens I know a little bit about these things called “host agencies” and am here to help you out!

Meet Mary, My Copilot.

IMG_0827Hey there! I’m Mary Stein and I’m the Editor at Host Agency Reviews. When I was twelve, I started saving up babysitting money for more than three years so I could take my first trip over the ocean and I’ve been hooked on travel ever since. Now, I couldn’t be more thrilled to land here among folks who love travel and work hard to turn their passions into their livelihood!

I just joined HAR’s motley crew in 2016, but Stephanie and I have known each other for a loooooooong time and we share aIMG_0412 love for travel (obviously!), dogs, and ice cream—ask us both who won our legendary ice cream eating contest, and you’ll get two vastly different answers. 🙂 But when it comes to love of travel and a deep-rooted desire to help folks build their own business we definitely stand in solidarity!

I’m a writer by trade and when I’m not tooling around on Host Agency Reviews crafting emails and writing newsletters, I write stories and teach creative writing workshops! You can always find me with my nose behind a book and food in mouth.

As much as I love travel, I adore my home, Minnesota, and I am truly Minnesotan to the bone. The MN State Fair is like a holiday to me (read: I love to eat food) and I bicycle commute all year long (yes, even during a Polar Vortex!). I love art shanties, art sled rallies and camper cabins. But as we all know, my the real star of the show is Nova, who is new to the HAR crew and is filling the large paws of her predecessor, Gilbert. (Do not be fooled by how calm she appears in her photo!)

Let’s Stay in Touch, Shall We?

You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, InstagramSlideshare, and Google+. Drop me a line anytime. We’ve also got the good ol’ contact us form.


This is an independent site that contains the ever-sensitive matter of reviews. We try to be as transparent as possible while making sure our site contains relevant and helpful reviews. As a general rule, we don’t mess with reviews unless they violate our rules.

In keeping with the transparency theme, you may want to read our disclosure. Normally disclosures aren’t exciting but… we spiced ours up with a picture of Ryan Gosling! Yummy! I daresay, our disclosure is the best looking one around.

Warm Fuzzies.

I love that Google suggested you stop in for a visit! But, I’m a little embarrassed … I left some ads out. I apologize, I didn’t have a chance to clean them up before you swung by!

I know, ads are ugly. Beyond the fact that they help spoil Rigel and feed my insatiable sweet tooth, there is another reason to feel good about them. 5% of net profits from our site are donated to a charity.