A common question I get asked is if it’s okay to belong to more than one host agency. The simple answer is yes. However, there is a lot more to the question of using multiple host agencies than you might think.
First off, beware of any host agency that tells you that you cannot belong to another host agency. If the host agency is restricting what you can and cannot do, you may not have the independent contractor status that is the basis for a host agency model. This has untold consequences that you should be aware of because if the host agency is audited, it may affected your company.
Second, why do you want to align with multiple host agencies? As a former host agency director, I ran into quite a few home based travel agents that did this and honestly, it utterly confused me. Power to you to do what you want to, but I’m not entirely sure they were looking at the big picture when they made their decision.
One agent explained to me the other host agency provided leads so she used them for some things. One agent said they were earning 1% more commission on a cruise line.
Let’s look at a few things.
Using multiple hosts means you aren’t going to get as much out of the host agency as you could. A few main places this will hurt you:
- Spreading your revenue between hosts affects the way the host sees you. When they aren’t getting the whole picture of your agency, they go off the information they do have, which unfortunately is lower sales figures. By putting all your revenue at one host agency, that host agency can see a true reflection of your travel agency.
- Relationships with the host agency staff suffer. Dealing with multiple host agencies means you’re working with multiple staff. This dilutes your ability to form strong relationships with the people that can help you.
- Learning Curve
Ever read two books in the same time frame? Did you get as much out of them as you would have if you were only reading one? Probably not. Same thing for having multiple host agencies, you are learning two different systems and chances are you’re going to miss or under utilize quite a few things that could be helpful to you. You’ll have access into double the resources but that positive becomes a negative if you don’t have the time or energy to retain the information.
If you’re going with multiple host agencies because you can make more money on certain bookings at one than the other, consider this. What is it worth to you? Factor in the losses above as well as plug in some real numbers. Sometimes it is worth it, but more often than not, home based agents are wooed by 1-2% more in commission for a certain vendor. When you break that down to real numbers and factor in the time, energy, and problems with associating with two hosts, there may be better ways you could be spending your time. Ways that will make you more money than the 1-2% more commission you’d earn on a few bookings.
If you are or have been associated with multiple host agencies, I’d love to hear your take on things and why it works/didn’t work for you. Tell us your experiences in the comments below.