I started in the travel business in 2017 with Outside Agents as my host agency and I have been very pleased with the service they provide. We have access to LOTS of live and online trainings. The response time for questions is VERY fast... usually within an hour or so, or even minutes sometimes. I've had questions answered over the weekends too! They have great commission rates with suppliers and my take home percentage is good. I feel like I am really able to grow my business through OA like I would like to.
As a relatively new agent, I still have a lot to learn. I researched many options on Host Agency Review and finally narrowed my choices down to Outside Agents and another agency. My decision was based on my finances. Yours may be different. However, bear in mind that starting an agency requires more than an agency, it involves all the little things that will set your business apart from all the other, more established agents in your area.
I created a logo, purchased business cards and a domain name, etc, etc. Can you begin without any of these things? Of course you can. It's a choice. So, here is why I Choose Outside Agents.
Fully functional website. - You have the option of 3 options of website functionality. I choose the middle option and was advised to start at the lowest option since I was brand new. However, only the top 2 website options allow you to bring your own domain name, something I already owned.
Training! Outside Agents offers so much training. There were travel related options I never heard of, or considered. The abundance of training offered is also rewarded by associated badges. It is worth the time investment.
Mentoring - You can request to be mentored and an assessment will be made, by the mentor to exactly what level of assistance you need. This is your business. You are responsible for yourself, but you have plenty of assistance.
Customer Service has been gracious, even when I have not...
Financial outlay - My main reason was looking at what my budget could afford without commissions and for how long. Since the monthly charge is not that much, I will be able to withstand months without pay and not effect my monthly budget. This was a critical concern for me, since I am retired with a fixed budget.
I have made a bit of money. Not as much as I expected, but I am in a great position to make a lot more.
Finally, I also took the 7 Day Set-Up Challenge. I hope you will too! Good luck on your business venture! You picked a wonderful time to be in TRAVEL!
My B.S. was in hospitality and tourism, and I new for a long time that I wanted to become a travel consultant. In December of 2017 my husband and I finally decided to move forward with my dream. I even used this site to select in selecting a host agency. At the beginning of 2018 I joined OA and I've never regretted.
Yesterday I sold my first Disney vacation for a extended family of 13 today. Today I will finalize a second Disney booking for another family, and Wednesday an inaugural sailing on the Carnival Mardi Gras.
What’s most exciting is that with other sales I’m already 1/3 of the way to my total sales in 2018 and it’s only January!
The encouragement and help from OA staff, the training they provide, and the online community of other agents is such a blessing. I can’t imagine a better place to be! The best thing you can do is join OA and commit to the education so you can be the an amazing asset to your clients. I'll never go anywhere else.
Hello, I just had a phone call with Steve. I owned two travel agencies in the past, was in travel for years, decided to retire but still book personal, family and close friends travel. So to do so the past few years I have been with outside agents. Well I guess I Thought I had been!!! My credit card has been charged every month! In July I booked two $12,000 cruises, one for friends and one for my spouse and myself to travel with them. I tried to sign into my account last night to make a final payment on the cruises. It said I was unable to sign in so I called this morning. Steve answered the phone and was EXTREMELY RUDE. I thought this was a company for Everyone who wanted to sell travel, NOT only the top producers! If I was going to work full time I would still own my own agency!!! I will be going into a REAL LOCAL Travel Agency today to transfer these bookings to someone who knows that it’s Very Unprofessional to be rude to people!!! This is not a Company that I would EVER recommend anyone to use, being RUDE is never acceptable if you are a customer oriented company. My husband and I have owned several successful companies and being nice to people is what makes a successful company. Also I was told my credit card had not been charged since November. Why was I not notified that I was no longer welcome at this company? No response is expected or welcome. I have to time in my life for this very unprofessional company.
Dear Ms. Campbell,
I apologize if you felt Steve was rude during your conversation, I was sitting next to him during the call and he was very straight forward. I regret you found his candor in explaining your many contract violations to be offensive. The fact remains, unfortunately, we had to terminate your contract due to your numerous breaches of our independent contractor agreement. Let me explain.
First, you failed to report your bookings for nearly six months. Your contract clearly indicates that you must report bookings within 72 hours. We have this requirement to protect you so that if there’s a problem with a booking, we can contact you.
Next, you violated our 3 to 1 ratio requirement of client bookings to self-bookings. Your first and only booking was for you and your friends to go on a cruise. We are not a discount club.
Finally, we require our agents to make a booking for a client every 6-12 months (depending on how active the agent is in training, etc.) in order to stay active. We actually left you active for over a year and a half as a courtesy.
Given these violations, we had to terminate your contract. I sincerely regret this did not rest well with you, but we must treat all of our agent relationships equally, fairly, and with integrity.
Please forward the vendor, ship, sailing date, and reservation numbers in question to me. I’ll take care of it from there.
I wish you all the best with your new agency.
I have 25 years hotel management experience and 12 years of booking my own professional travel. This is to give you the context of my review. I spent several weeks making my choice, and I am glad I went with this one.
1. Customer service. Steve, Marty, Chad, Becky, and Allison have taken great care of us since we joined. We should have signed up my partner as a sub-agent. We signed him up as a Independent Agent instead. Not only did were they helpful in fixing the issue, the refunded the original fee for what was our error.
2. Help Desk. Great service here, even during the holidays. System is somewhat easy to use, but it is kind of a hassle to have to sign into it when you're signed into the Travel Agent Portal. That said, it works, and Kudos to the people there.
3. magCRM uses TESSA. You can automate a lot of tasks. Be prepared to spend some time setting it up.
I am going to state outright, their technology is slightly less than intuitive. I have an IT background, and I sometimes have to take a couple of seconds to figure it out. This is not meant as a negative comment, but do keep it in mind during your initial workings with Outside Agents Systems. It also can lag a bit.
I see some negative reviews on here who have the opposite results that I have had with this company. If you did not get support then you are doing something wrong as they are always there. We went from $45.000 in total sales in 2015 and are at $700,000 in sales this year and could not have done without their support and help. Some of the people in their forum think it happens by magic but it is a JOB. You have to work at it and have a passion for it. I have been with other hosts and what the negative reviews stated is what I found elsewhere. I can not imagine trying to do the amount of business we are doing now with host XXXXX. Well we wouldn't be doing that much business. LOL You can't go wrong with Outside Agents and Chad and Steve.
I began selling travel 11 years ago and joined one of the top rated host agencies . I was with that agency until July, 2018. From the very beginning I was frustrated by the lack of support and the incessant fees for little things like asking for access to a supplier for the second time. But, I am not here to complain about a prior host.
I started with Outside Agents (OA) in July, 2018. I could not be happier with my decision to change host agencies. OA has been phenomenal. They have put so much thought into the tools they make available to their agents.
Their Client Relation Management (CRM) has everything an agent could want and things we didn't know we needed. They have automated many of the functions agents do everyday. There is a client portal where clients can see their trip information, communicate with the agent, and enter passport and credit card information. The reports available allow the agent to know exactly where they are financially at all times.
There is an emarketing system that will send marketing information to clients on a weekly basis. But not without the approval of the agent. So you can opt out if information being sent is not in keeping with your niche.
Training is incredible. Every tool provided by OA is accompanied with sufficient training to allow agents to utilize all that is offered. Training is delivered through video as well as written documentation. All of which is easy to follow. I struggle some with the videos but I think they are being updated.
Support is readily available. As others have mentioned, staff at OA are incredibly responsive. When a ticket for help is submitted staff respond within an hour during the week and as soon as possible on the weekends.
In short OA does everything possible to insure agents have all the tools, training, and support needed to succeed.
What started as a way to feed the travel habit for me and my friends has turned into a pretty great business and I could not have done it without Outside Agents! They have always gone above and beyond when it comes to any questions, problems, concerns, etc that I have. After being with them for over 10 years, it still amazes me that the owners are both only a phone call away!
It is the leadershp that makes OA so successsful - two people at the helm who truly love the business and their agents! They never cease to amaze me with the continuous technology upgrades to help all agents growing.
Chad & Steve make me feel appreciated and they are always will to help all of us become successful. Truly thankful and blessed to be a part of OA!
Chad Burt & Steve Muraca, co-owners, are active participants in the business and make themselves as well as their staff available to agents on a personal hands-on basis. They give us numerous platforms and personal training (through Dan Crutchfield, Sales Manager), both at the headquarters in Jacksonville and on-demand in the form of supplier interviews, webinars, and pre-recorded in-depth training (which results in certification with various suppliers). I had returned from a FAM a week ago and had contacted a prospect who left their info on my business contact page, and upon research, I noticed a very large update had been installed on my website (and all other agents' who have their website) destinations page which makes us agents look very professional with detailed info regarding numerous worldwide destinations. This was a major upgrade and an example of how OA strives to give us all the tools to sell travel. There are numerous MAG (My Agent Genie) platforms which are continually upgraded with special features we ask for and some they just know we could use -- examples include: CRM (Customer Relationship) where we can build invoices, send welcome home letters, and send out emails, as well as many more options, in addition to all the customer details; training modules; promotions offered; preferred supplier contact details as well as other info; agent community portals to chat amongst ourselves; an SOS platform to address any current issues (manned by the staff) regarding any platform or supplier problems; and other general info such as top agent leaderboard (top leaders are also privy to special FAM-like trips rewarding them generously). On-site training at the headquarters is reasonably priced (averages about $100/week, with complimentary shuttle service to/from the office) provided by a top hotel who offers us reduced rates and breakfast as well. During this training, there is a friendly get-together with dinner at a local establishment. In short, if you are looking for a personable, hands-on agency who supplies all the needed tools, Outside Agents is your Host Agency (part of the Travel Leaders Group). They have also won numerous awards, exponentially increasing in the last few years.
I am fairly new to Outside agents and am very happy with my choice. The support and training is available for you and all you need to do is put the time in. I attended the New Agent boot camp in August which was outstanding. They are really here to support you, they don’t just say it they mean it. Dan helped transfer a large RCCL group booking to me, we were up against the clock and he provided the OA doc in less than 24 hours. If I had not attended the new agents training I would not have received this booking! I am not a techie but Amber is so on top of her game that she can explain website content in easy to follow terms. I have watched several of Ambers training videos and my non tech self was able to create my website, update content and transfer my domain! There is no way I could have done this on my own. If you get stuck no worries send in s SOS ticket and Amber comes to the rescue. I was recently watching Amber’s videos and creating a new booking and payment page, well I got stuck and couldn’t figure it out and just when I was about to pull my hair out Amber calls me and walks me through the process and answered any and all questions I had. I was even able to load a text module on my new page! Bottom line Amber is clear and professional and accessible and took the time to make sure I was comfortable. I really appreciated the phone call and her assistance has helped me tremendously!
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