Tips on How to Find the Best Host Travel Agency
Many agents starting up their home-based travel agency have one question on their mind when looking for a host agency, “Who is the best host travel agency?” Wait, wait. Hold up. Rephrase that. Who is the best host travel agency for me? It’s key to understanding that there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ host agency.
FINDING the Best Host Travel Agency
Sadly, finding the best host agency isn't as simple as a Google search. Finding a good fit takes a lot of work. Prepare yourself mentally that finding the best host travel agency requires research, lots of it. You’ll probably get frustrated along the way as you hit information overload, but don't worry, it's normal. Going in with a realistic perspective will save you a lot of heartache.
If the idea of a host agency is new to you and you're not sure what it entails or what questions to ask, watch this video
RESEARCHING the Best Host Travel Agency
You have now accepted finding a host agency is no walk in the park. Congrats! Being realistic is the first step. Now let’s take another step towards your goal of finding the best host travel agency and start the research.
To help you along, download our comparison chart to help you track your host research process! With this spreadsheet, you can easily document information about what you learn about the different hosts your interview. Don't worry, we'll give you tips on how to narrow down your options, so read on after you download!
Home-based travel agents frequently ask me who I recommend as a host agency, and I rarely answer. This is because there are different hosts for different folks. I believe that you, the agency owner, are the best qualified to answer that question.
When you start your shopping, it's helpful to understand more about host agencies and what they offer. A quick look at our Top 10 Benefits of Using a Host Agency article will help you get a pulse on things.
Since you’re new to the travel host agency business, you may not think you know what you need, or even what to expect from a host, but trust me, you do. You just need a little help getting started in your brainstorm. Here are some questions to help you:
1. Large or small host travel agency?
Do you want the host you work with to have a smaller company feel or do you prefer working with larger companies? You can easily find out the size of a host agency on our profiles!
2. Is it important to you that your host agency is local?
With the ability to do everything remotely, location doesn't play as strong of a factor as it used to. But, there are unique benefits of a local host travel agency that may be extremely important to you. Examples include getting more face time with your host, potential education and supplier advantages, and access to BDMs (Business Development Managers). Figure out how much weight location will have in your decision-making process.
3. What type of training do you need/expect?
Do you need step-by-step directions or do you learn better if given the tools and left to explore on your own? Be honest in your assessment of what you need since training is going to be a key part of your success. The best host agency is the one that offers training to fit your learning style.
4. What marketing support do you need/expect?
Your phone isn't going to ring by itself, so think about how you're going to get clients. Many hosts have strong marketing programs including direct mail pieces, websites, mobile apps for your clients, and more. Ask them what they have and what most of their new agents use.
5. What type of travel are you going to sell?
You may want a host agency that specializes in your main niche (a Disney host agency, a cruise host agency, etc.) and surround yourself with those that share your passion. Conversely, those things may not be important to you, and you may really value a host that has knowledge about a broad range of products with strong commissions wherever you choose to book. If you're not sure how to find a niche, we'll walk you through it.
6. What is Your Budget?
When choosing a host agency, your budget is critical. How do you ensure your host is offering you the best value for your budget and your hosting needs? That's a great question and I answer it here in Friday 15 episode:
- Working out your finances and having a number in mind from the start helps keep you on target. You can always adjust the number, but not having a limit makes things harder on you. Keep in mind the savings a host offers you.
- One thing to mention; make sure your boundaries are realistic. You are investing in your future. While it would be nice if everything were free, you should expect to put out some money as you start your travel agency. I have heard people say be wary of a host agency that charges you. I say, be wary of the host agency that doesn’t charge. How are they making money and investing in their company?
- Also, remember that you're starting a business when you figure out your budget—it's more than just the cost of a host agency. While starting a home-based travel agency is inexpensive compared to most businesses, you'll be spending money on registering your name, business cards, talking with your tax advisor/lawyer about your business, marketing, etc. Make sure you're thinking big picture and taking being an entrepreneur seriously!
NARROWING DOWN the Best Host Travel Agency
Even with the reviews, how do you start to narrow your choices down with a number that large?!? Here are some pointers on how to narrow down your list:
1. Read the reviews on Host Agency Reviews for your prospective host agencies.
While you need to take some reviews with a grain of salt, it’s safe to say that peer reviews can give you insight into what you can expect. We have a host travel agency list where you can find peer reviews.
2. Contact the prospective host agencies
You'll be getting a LOT of information so make sure to download our Host Agency Search Comparison Chart to help you keep track of important information. If you have more than a few host agencies you’re thinking of, they may start blurring together so take careful notes!
Connecting with host agencies can't be easier! You can go directly to their profile to write them via Host Agency Reviews' Q&A feature. The beauty of this is that tons of agents will also get to learn from your question too!
3. Watch our video to help find a host travel agency
You may not think you know what you want, but grab a seat and we'll walk you through how to figure it out in the video below:
CHOOSING the Best Host Travel Agency
The most important thing you can do to find the best host travel agency? Know what you want before you start looking. You may also find our starting a travel agency or choosing travel agency names articles helpful as you get your home travel business started.
And lastly, it is a big decision but it shouldn't be keeping you up at night if you're doing your due diligence. While you may think there is one best host agency for you, the reality is there are many great host agencies out there. If you do the proper research, chances are there are quite a few host agencies that you'd be very happy with!
Ready to Get Started?
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I've worked with thousands of people looking for the best host travel agency for their needs and hope this article has helped shed a little light on things.
If you like what you read, drop by our home-based travel agent resources page for more tips and tricks!