TOP 8 FACTORS TO CONSIDER: HOST OR FRANCHISE?
TOP 8 FACTORS TO CONSIDER: HOST OR FRANCHISE?
ARE YOU ONE OF THESE?
- An entrepreneur with a passion for travel and are looking for the best option to start your own successful travel business?
- A travel professional with experience working in, or running, a travel agency for someone else, but you’re ready to work for yourself?
- The owner of a travel agency that’s looking for a new network relationship to help grow your business into something more successful?
Whichever boat you’re in, there are many, sometimes confusing, options to consider but first you need to narrow it down to only three main choices – do it alone, join a Host, or buy a Franchise? We’ll answer the ‘go it alone’ questions now. DON’T. In our honest opinion, there’s not one good reason to ‘go it alone’. None. So, let’s move on and discuss what we see as the Top 8 Factors in choosing between a Host or a Franchise.
Initial and ongoing costs are an important consideration when choosing between and among hosts and franchises. We’ve all heard “you get what you pay for”, but in selecting between hosts and franchises that’s really not the case. Some have no initial affiliation or operating fees and instead charge monthly fees. Others charge every type of fee – from initial startup costs of up to $10,495, to marketing fees and booking fees, additional fees to add an associate to your business, and everything in between. So, before you sign any contract – short-term or long-term, exclusive or non-exclusive, make sure your prospective network isn’t nickel-and-diming you, or as is often the case with a franchise, it’s a lot more than nickels and dimes. Unlike other travel networks, Avoya is NOT fee-based; Avoya is a Shared Success™ model. When you do well, we do well. On top of this, Avoya is also the leading host agency; offering the highest levels of support, marketing, commissions, technology, and more compared to other hosts and franchises. Sound too good to be true? Read on to find out for yourself!
To help with your search and save you some time, we’ve put together a chart listing some of the differences between joining Avoya and becoming a member of a different host or franchise network. Find it here. Remember, Avoya is NOT a fee-based model.
2. LENGTH OF THE COMMITMENT
When researching your list of potential travel network options, be sure to ask how long of a commitment you need to make. How long is the initial contract term? How about the length of the renewal term? Once these questions have been answered, ask yourself if you’re okay with those terms. What if it’s not the right fit and you signed a long-term contract? You could be stuck paying for years. At Avoya, we want your independent travel business to remain a member in the Avoya Network for years because you want to, not because you had to sign a long-term contract. At Avoya the initial agreement is for 6 months, then renewals are for 1 year.
3. FLEXIBILITY AND EXCLUSIVITY
Another important consideration to think about is the flexibility you’ll have to run your business as you wish, with you in complete control, on your own terms while you’re part of that network. For example, franchise contracts are usually far more restrictive and controlling than host agreements and usually require you to follow specific guidelines outlining how your business is to be operated, including where you operate your business — some even say you can’t move or sell your business without the permission of the franchisor.
Does the contract require you book all your travel exclusively with that one network, or do you have the flexibility to do what’s best for your own independent travel business? Are you required to pay a percentage of the gross sale regardless if you had to offer a discount to match another offer? Don’t let the math confuse you — paying 3% of the gross sale can leave less in your pocket than paying 20% of the net commission.
At Avoya it’s really simple - as an Independent Agency in the Avoya Travel Network™, how, where, and when you work, sell travel, and manage your agency is up to you, as long as it’s done with Integrity and Professionalism™. We encourage you to manage your business in a way that works best for you, but with all the resources, American Express branding, and programs to help accelerate the growth of your business that only Avoya has to offer.
Are you set up for success? As you research the initial investment and requirements of a prospective travel network, also look at what advantages each can offer you. Many networks offer a variety of programs and benefits to their members, some are included and some can be utilized at an added cost. Some are bare-bones where you’re really left on your own to build your business, others are nothing more than commission clubs and others looking to charge you a fee whenever they can. The Avoya Travel Network, like most other good host and franchise networks, offers support, marketing, technology, professional development, and high commissions.
So, what makes Avoya a different, better kind of travel network?
Avoya offers new clients via Live Leads™, patented technology – Agent Power™, top-tier commissions, world-class educational programs, award-winning marketing, and the highest support ratio, to name a few – and Independent Agency members in the Avoya Network on average sell many times more than their peers at other host and franchise networks. As a member in the Avoya Network, your independent agency will also benefit from Avoya’s stellar brand and reputation, plus the added instant credibility and benefits from Avoya’s affiliation with American Express Travel. Built on a foundation of Integrity and Professionalism, Avoya has been an American Express Travel Representative for 30 years, and has a long-standing reputation for being one of the world’s most innovative marketing and travel technology companies.
In addition to being able to offer your clients exclusive Avoya and American Express Travel deals and benefits, as an Independent Agency in the Avoya Network, you will have access to the best supplier offers and competitive pricing using our award-winning and easy-to-use technology to search, plan, and book. The Avoya Network has the highest commission tiers, very exclusive promotions, amenities, and pricing from top cruise, tour, and resort suppliers because of the world-class reputation and high sales volume of the Avoya Network.
Recognized as the best and most-awarded host agency, Avoya is committed to helping Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network live a lifestyle of happiness and success. We don’t expect you to just take our word for it though, read on to see what a few of your fellow travel independent business owners are saying about their membership in the Avoya Network!
“What sets Avoya Travel apart from other travel networks is their technology, their leadership in innovation, their stellar reputation, the quality of their Live Leads, their marketing, everything is just amazing! Avoya Travel is just way above anything else I could ever consider.”
Diane Bower, Owner of CruzDiva Travel, an Independent Agency in the Avoya Travel Network Diane booked over $3 million in sales last year!
“The best thing about being affiliated with Avoya Travel is the growth potential for my agency. We go into business for ourselves with success in mind. When I joined Avoya Travel, the size of my business and my income tripled in about a year. In the 6 years I have been affiliated with Avoya Travel, my business has tripled again.”
David Walsh, Owner of CWCruises LLC, an Independent Agency in the Avoya Travel Network
David booked over $3 million in sales last year!
5. FINDING NEW CUSTOMERS (AKA MARKETING)
‘Where is my next customer coming from?’ Whether you’re an experienced travel professional with decades in the industry, or you’re just getting started, you’ll be asking yourself that question regularly. Ask the host or franchise travel networks you’re considering if they have a proven solution to find new customers. Most will tell you that they offer ‘free or low-cost’ or award-winning marketing programs, such as direct mail, flyers, newsletters, social media tools, etc. to help you – but you’re still burdened with the task of marketing to prospective clients, which can be extremely time-consuming, challenging, and sometimes expensive. And if you’re just starting and don’t have a big list of past customers and prospects to market to, then what?
Now, go ahead and ask Avoya the same question. The answer? Of course, we too have proven, amazing and award-winning marketing programs available, but we also have something no other host or franchise network has, Live Leads - the ultimate travel lead generation solution – for both experienced travel professionals and those new to the industry. In fact, it was the first, and is still by far the best, travel leads program that sends new clients directly to you via phone, web, and even mobile app. At no additional cost, this optional program gives you 24/7 access to new clients who have shown serious interest in booking a cruise or vacation, right at your fingertips. Avoya does the marketing for you, so you can spend less time searching for customers, and more time doing what you do best – selling and building relationships with your customers! Independent Agencies in the Avoya Travel Network can sell and earn more than their peers in other leading networks, with many making six figure incomes. Avoya’s elite Network has proven you can live a lifestyle of success selling travel as the owner of your own business.
In addition to marketing programs, what advantages are offered through the other host or franchise’ technology that will help you run your independent business and support its growth? Most networks have a system that features back-office tools, such as customer relationship management, accounting and commission tracking, and more, to help your independent business stay organized and efficient. When choosing a travel network for your independent business, be sure to ask for all the details to ensure that what the network offers meets your business’ needs.
Independent Agencies in the Avoya Travel Network have exclusive access to Avoya’s easy-to-use, award-winning Agent Power technology — the industry’s best and most comprehensive Travel Agency Operating System™ offering 24/7 access to Avoya’s Live Leads, integrated booking engines, agency support resources including a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, professional development programs, accounting and commission tracking, and so much more. Avoya also offers Independent Agencies a custom website, which provides customers with real-time pricing, promotions, and rich content that is automatically updated. Agent Power is accessible via web and mobile app so you can manage your agency from anywhere!
As a travel professional running your own business, having a powerful support system can be one of the largest factors contributing to the success of your independent business. While most host and franchise travel networks make claims of having the ‘best’ support, the amount, accessibility, and quality can vary widely. At Avoya, our support ratio is the highest among other leading host and franchise networks, and the quality is second to none. It underlines our key focus, which is to support and help Independent Agencies in the Avoya Travel Network become more successful than ever before. Avoya’s support staff is there to help your business in all ways imaginable; from securing the best exclusive deals from suppliers, to helping with group bookings and applying the best promotions, to suggestions and ideas important to operating your own business. Another support resource is the Avoya Community Forum, an active and very useful, peer-to-peer, online resource to connect with all the other members in the Avoya Network. You’re truly never in business alone in the Avoya Network, and you have access to live support and the Avoya Community Forum 7 days a week.
8. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Not only is it important for your travel network to provide you with the best support and resources to kick-off the start of your business, but you should also consider what they can offer that will help you and your business stay on top of the game in the months and years to come. In an industry that is continuously evolving, it’s crucial to be able to adapt and improve in order to evolve with it. Is your network providing you with the right resources to help you stay up-to-date with the marketing and technology programs they offer, sales best practices, vendor products, and more? Some networks offer training to help get your business started as part of their program, with others charging thousands to help get you setup and going. Remember, Avoya is a Shared Success model (not a fee-based model), so unlike some others, don’t expect to be nickeled-and-dimed for access to our world-class professional education and development programs designed and proven to help Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network achieve their maximum potential.
The Avoya Mastermind Program™ is an exciting, fun, very valuable and optional resource offered exclusively to Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network looking to improve their overall success and profitability. This program includes Peer-to-Peer Think Tank, One-to-One Strategies, Sales Best Practices, Business Foundations, Role Playing, and Business Coaching, and more. This award-winning program has created a very special community within Avoya that provides motivational support, networking, and valuable shared knowledge. Many Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network find the Avoya Mastermind to be exactly what they were missing at other host or franchise networks. Avoya also broadcasts a weekly webinar exclusive to Independent Agencies in the Avoya Travel Network to provide updates, sales tips, and the latest exclusive offers in a live and interactive format. Hundreds of other supplier and destination educational opportunities are also scheduled regularly, as well as sales-focused webinars. Other opportunities include the Avoya Academy, Avoya [email protected], and the very, very popular annual Avoya Conference that includes educational programming, networking, and entertainment.
“I am passionate about travel and providing value to customers, so when I was ready for a new and fun challenge I found Avoya Travel. Their desire for my business to grow is refreshing, and they provide world-class learning opportunities for me. In just six months I’ve sold $700,000, and the credit goes to my affiliation with Avoya Travel.”
Rachel Mooney, Owner of Changing Your Latitude Travel LLC, an Independent Agency in the Avoya Travel Network
Rachel sold $700,000 in her first six months!
To learn more about the differences between host agencies and franchises, and how the Avoya Travel Network is a different, better type of travel network that can help amplify the success of your independent business, visit www.JoinAvoya.com or call 1-855-875-5861.
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