What to Ask a Host Agency Before You Join

 

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Using a host agency to start your own travel agency is one of the most sound business moves you can make. That said, actually finding (and choosing!) the perfect partner can be exhausting.

Here’s the good news: MTravel can help! We’ve been in business for 60 years and have hosted independent travel professionals for over 40. Those years have taught us a lot about what a travel agent needs to be successful. Ready to make your move? Here’s what to ask a host agency before you join:

How long have you been in business?
Longevity is a big deal. It means that the host agency has gone through its growing pains, established itself financially, and strengthened industry relationships. Learn as much as you can about the company’s background and where it’s headed.

What kind of support will I have as one of your agents?
Every host claims to be the king of support, so get specifics. At MTravel we provide support via phone, e-mail, social media, and in person for agents near our main office. Our support team is available Monday–Saturday and we have a 24-hour emergency support for those unexpected circumstances.

Can you give examples of what kind of training and professional development you offer?
Professional development is essential to becoming a profitable, skillful travel agent. Your ideal host agency should offer an excellent cross-section of online (like MTravel’s Jump Start Series) and in-person training opportunities (like our Annual Educational Conference, Regional Training Events, MTech Academy and Jump Start LIVE!) that address the needs of new AND experienced travel professionals.

What’s your company culture like?
This is an underrated question that’s incredibly constructive. What does the host agency value besides profit? What are their business philosophies and ethics? Make sure they align with your own.

What kind of agents are you looking for?
Another underrated question, a successful hosting relationship is a two-way street where both partners trust the other. MTravel looks for entrepreneurial drive and a keen sense of personal drive to make sure we create the best host/agent fit.

Who are your preferred suppliers? Can I see a list?
A host agency works with select preferred suppliers to strengthen relationships and get the highest commissions possible for you. MTravel puts a summarized list online so you can see if our diverse suppliers will match the type of travel you sell.

Do you offer a website? Can I see an example?
All travel agents need an online presence today. Make sure the host provides a website for with booking capabilities and other features that can help attract and service your clients. See an example of MTravel’s consumer website here.

What marketing support do you offer?
Marketing is the lifeblood of your business. Whether you’re going after new clients or engaging existing ones, learn how the host helps extend your reach.

What are your commission splits and how can an agent move up?
The amount you’re paid is one of the biggest deciding factors when selecting a host agency. Ask how they tier their splits and how you can qualify for each one.

What is your pricing? Are there any hidden fees?
Be careful not to choose your host agency based on price alone. Determine what services and tools are included, then get a breakdown on fees: up-front, annual, ancillary, the whole enchilada. MTravel posts its structure visibly online and even wrote an in-depth breakdown to make it as easy as possible for prospective agent partners to know what they’re paying for.

Is there a contract I can read before joining?
Remember that joining a host is a binding business partnership. You host agency should not only be able to send you a contract, but be able to clearly address any questions you have about it.

Pick up the phone and call
In this modern age, we know it can be tiring to pick up the phone and move through these questions with a host agency. If you’re interested in starting your independent travel business with MTravel, explore our program at www.MTravel.com and call us today at 800-870-5799. Trust us—the knowledge you gain will be worth it when you can confidently select the best host agency partner for you.

>>> Read MTravel’s Reviews here!

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