6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Searching for the Right Host Agency
Let’s face it: There is a lot of information online about becoming a travel agent at home. In fact, a Google search for “become a travel agent from home” turns up more than 25 million results.
It’s easy to get inundated sifting through the heaps of commentary and advice, especially if you have absolutely no knowledge of the travel industry or travel agents. A lot of successful travel agents start out that way!
Without travel agent training or experience, you can still start a travel business from home. All you need is a love of travel, an entrepreneurial spirit and the right host agency!
With a host travel agency, you can get on the fast track to getting educated and earning major commissions. Ask yourself these key questions before deciding on a host for your new travel business:
1. What type of travel do I want to sell?
Some host agencies focus on a specific travel niche, like romance travel or corporate travel. If you already know what you want to specialize in, this may be a good route. If you’d rather not limit yourself right away, work with a host agency that is experienced in training agents on a broad range of travel niches.
2. What is my budget?
Know what your budget range is ahead of time. Some hosts have monthly fees, some have one-time start-up fees, some charge a fee per booking and some charge a combination of these. Don’t automatically assume you’ll get the best deal with the cheapest host – remember, these companies have to make money somehow. A smart host agency will use these fees to invest in their agents through support staff, technology upgrades or marketing resources.
3. What kind of education program is right for me?
Knowledge is power in the travel industry. Determine how much time you’ll be able to spend on training before researching hosts, because finding one that fits with your schedule will be key to getting your business off the ground. In addition to start-up education, check out what ongoing travel agent training opportunities the host offers, like FAM (familiarization) trips and other live training events.
4. What kind of marketing support and resources do I need?
Whether you have marketing experience or not, there are plenty of resources out there to help travel agents market themselves without having to reinvent the wheel. Ask your potential host what kind of marketing support, training and materials they offer. It’s also a good idea to check out the host’s own website, Facebook page, and even their blog, if they have one. How the host agency promotes itself is a solid indicator of how they’ll help you promote yourself!
5. Would I prefer to work with a small or large host agency?
Some host agencies work with thousands of independent agents; others with a few dozen. There’s no right or wrong answer, although larger host agencies often have larger staff to support their agents’ efforts. For instance, KHM Travel has separate departments dedicated to Education, Marketing and Agent Support. Larger agencies also typically have agents all over the country to rely on as a valuable resource.
6. How much do I want to make in commissions?
Some host agencies might pay agents 50% of the total commission from the supplier; others offer 100% commission programs. Obviously you’ll want to ensure you get the highest commission rates possible, but compare the commission rates with your membership fees. For instance, a host agency that pays its agents 100% of the total commission might charge higher monthly fees. This might work for established agents who have developed a steady revenue from their business, but could be tricky for brand new agents who are still immersing themselves in travel agent training.
The right host agency will provide a solid platform for you to launch and build your own travel agency from home. The right host won’t just help you get started, it will provide the commission structure, learning opportunities, sales and marketing resources, and incentives to anticipate the needs of your growing business.
KHM Travel Group is one of the nation’s leading host agencies, providing education, support, tools, and resources for independent travel agents around the country. To learn how KHM Travel Group can help you build a fun, thriving travel agency from home, call 1-888-611-1220 or visit khmtravel.com.