Best Host Travel Agency of 2021 | HAR's Luminary Awards!
In the good old days of 2019, before the term "social distance" was even a twinkle in our eye, the Host Agency Reviews crew got really existential during a team meeting one day and asked, "Who is the best Host Agency?"
This is a question HAR set out to answer in 2019. Lo and behold, now HARs Luminary Awards, which recognize the best host agencies out there, have become a time-honored tradition that carries into 2021.
You may be thinking, "it's impossible to say who is the best host agency! There cannot be just one!" And you're right. It's impossible. There are different hosts for different folks. There's so many great hosts out there, that we can't choose just one.
Which hosts made the list in 2021? Are there any new hosts on the scene this year? Are there any repeat hosts? Read on and we'll reveal the identity of these stellar hosts, shining their light on our 2021 HAR Luminary Awards! 🤩
And if you're someone that prefers hearing about the best host agencies in 2021 via video instead of reading, grab your popcorn and join us for our Luminary Awards ceremony on YouTube:
We Changed Our Best Host Agency Criteria in 2021.
The truth is there isn't a single best host travel agency in 2021—or any year, really—because there's a lot of subjective things you need to consider when making your decision. Do you like the company culture, do the reviews on the profile speak highly of the technology or tools that are important to you, and now that we mention it, what exactly is important to you?
We created the HAR Luminary Awards as a way to recognize companies we feel deserve recognition for their transparency and engagement on the site.
We're obsessed with finding the best host agency, so this year we made a two critical changes:
1. We added more size categories for host agencies
To keep our awards democratic, this year we added a few more host categories to acknowledge the different sizes of agencies. Some winners have two ICs, some have 2,000 (or more!). ANY host listed on our site can qualify. (Yes that's right, free listings can qualify!)
With our old criteria, we found it was more difficult for boutique hosts to hit our thresholds. We didn't want to leave anyone out, so now we have five size categories instead of only three. (You can see our size categories and requirements here.)
2. we added a new award! 🤩
In past year's we've offered four awards to recognize the best host agencies:
- The Nebula Award: Recognizing hosts with the most new reviews
- The Constellation Award: Recognizing hosts who engage with readers on their profiles)
- The Supernova Award: Recognizing hosts with 4+ star ratings
- The Data Scientist Award: Recognizing hosts who participate in helping us create leading industry data for travel agent income and travel agent fees.
But you know, we're an ambitious bunch. We were fiddling with the data and thought, you know what would be really cool? If we added an award that recognizes hosts who sweep in all categories! I'd like to introduce you to:
Did we accept bribes for this award? Heck no! In fact, we kept this award a secret until JUST NOW. (Not even the host agencies . . . not even the winner! We're iron-clad with our secrets over here at HAR 🤐.
We're extremely excited for inaugural Galaxy Award Winner! To make things even more exciting ONLY ONE HOST WON OUR GALAXY AWARD 😮!!!! Which, of course, we'll save for last (a no-brainer).
The Best Host Travel Agency Award Categories
Now, onto our award categories! HAR Luminary Awards recognize hosts in four different ways:
- Supernova Award: Recognizes the hosts that received at least one new review the previous year and have an average star rating of 4+
- Nebula Award: Recognizes the hosts with a certain number of new reviews
- Constellation Award: Recognizes the host agencies that engage with readers on their Host Agency Reviews' profile (responding to questions and reviews)
- Data Scientist Award: Recognizes the host agencies with the most participation in our surveys.
- The Galaxy Award!!!!: Recognizes hosts who received an award in every other category! (Psst! There's only one winner this year!!!)
Note: All the award data is from the host's aggregate info of the previous year (2020). To keep things super democratic, we're not going to separate them by host size (just in old school ABC order)
Is the suspense unbearable?! I know! Me too! Who are the best host agencies in 2021?!? Here they are in each category, listed in alphabetical order.
The 2021 Host Agency Reviews Supernova Award Winners
Sometimes a star gets so big and so bright that it's about to explode. That sums up our supernova awards. Its criteria recognizes the best host agencies in 2019 that have a 4.0 or higher average star rating, and have received at least one new review the previous year. Here are the hosts that burned brightly!
The 2021 Host Agency Reviews Nebula Award Winners
What is that faraway cloud of light brightening in the distance? They are the best host agencies of all sizes that have accumulated the most new reviews.
Who are these hosts attracting the attention of new travel agent ICs? Drumroll please . . .
The 2021 Host Agency Reviews Constellation Award Winners
Sure. Stars are bright and fun when they fly solo, but they're a lot more interesting to look at when they gather in groups and hangout in the sky in the shape of a horse, dog, or a mythical Greek hunter with a fancy belt and bow and arrows. The HAR Constellation Award is for best travel host agencies who engage on their profiles. They answer your questions. They respond to your reviews. They want you to be as informed as possible!
The 2021 Host Agency Reviews Data Scientist Award Winners
We like data A LOT. You probably know by now that we proudly consider ourselves nerds, geeks, data-dorks, eggheads, dweebs . . . you get the idea. Every year we publish delectable data through our income survey and fee survey.
But guess what?! That great data doesn't come from thin air. Not even close. We partner with host agencies and franchises, who do a lot of legwork in reaching out to their ICs to participate! The Data Scientist award recognizes the best host travel agencies and franchises who make these sometimes-Herculean efforts so our data is all the more stunning in our infographics. Who are these hosts this year?
The 2021 Host Agency Reviews Galaxy Award Winner is . . .
We got so excited about 2021, that we decided to make a brand spanking new Luminary Award. I'd like to introduce you to: The Galaxy Award!
As its name may suggest, The Galaxy Award, is for hosts who've gone the extra mile and received an award in EVERY category. I got excited so excited about our new award category that I decided to reveal the Galaxy Award winner with a video.
That's right. This year, only one host agency received the award.
Drumroll please . . . 🥁
HUGE congrats to KHM Travel Group for receiving our first-ever Galaxy Award! And thank you to all our Luminary Award winners for your industry engagement on our site and (more importantly) beyond! 🎉
See Past Luminary Award Winners!
This isn't our first rodeo! You can find past Luminary Award winners here:
That's a Wrap (for Now)
*High five* to all the best travel host agencies and franchises in 2021 that were recognized with Host Agency Reviews' industry awards!! We know they'll keep shining on, providing stellar (get it, stellar) resources and support to burgeoning and established agents alike.
And stay tuned for next January to see which hosts will return to claim their prize, and which one will be newbies on the HAR award circuit!
You Want to Win a 2022 Luminary Award? Here's how!
So you're chomping at the bit to win a Luminary Award? This year, we expanded the host size categories to make sure Luminary Awards were an even playing field regardless of a host's size! (Previously we had 3 categories, now we have 5.)
With the exception of the Suprernova award (which awards a high average star rating), we tally up our data from the previous year to determine our award winners. Here's the deets:
- Supernova Criteria: All hosts must have a 4+ star rating and at least one new review from the previous year. Additionally: XS (≤24 ICs) hosts need ≥2 total reviews; Small hosts (≤24 IC 25-99 ICs) need ≥7 total reviews; Medium hosts (100-499 ICs) need ≥12 total reviews, Large hosts (500-999) need ≥50 total reviews; and XL (1,000+ ICs) need ≥100 total reviews.
- Nebula Criteria: Nebula rewards hosts for new reviews: XS (≤24 ICs) hosts need ≥1 new review; Small hosts (≤24 IC 25-99 ICs) need ≥3 new reviews; Medium hosts (100-499 ICs) need ≥5 new reviews, Large hosts (500-999) need ≥10 new reviews; and XL (1,000+ ICs) need ≥15 new reviews.
- Constellation Criteria: This award tracks a host's number of interactions (via onsite Q&A) and/or responses to reviews. The number of interactions to receive an award are: XS (≤24 ICs) hosts need ≥1 interaction(s); Small hosts (≤24 IC 25-99 ICs) need ≥3 interactions; Medium hosts (100-499 ICs) need ≥5 interactions; Large hosts (500-999) need ≥10 interactions; and XL (1,000+ ICs) need ≥15 interactions
- Data Scientist Criteria: This award is for the number of host's ICs who take our surveys. The number of respondents needed are: XS (≤24 ICs) hosts need ≥2 respondents; Small hosts (≤24 IC 25-99 ICs) need ≥7 respondents; Medium hosts (100-499 ICs) need ≥12 respondents; Large hosts (500-999) need ≥50 respondents; and XL (1,000+ ICs) need ≥100 interactions.
- Galaxy Criteria: I like to refer to Galaxy Award winners as "the sweepers." These are the hosts who've won an award in every other category.