I switched to OA three years ago! What a smart move on my part. Outside Agents goes beyond what I could ever hope for. Their commission structure is excellent, they offer more training then I can ever hope to complete and they are always developing more. In addition, the technology and back office tools that we have at our fingertips is absolutely fantastic AND they keep adding to it! The relationships between them and our suppliers is such that it greatly benefits their agents in so many areas, contacts and swift responses from the BDMS, training, offers and commission. The two owners, Chad and Steve, personally answer emails from their thousands of agents and in a very timely matter! Dan, the Sales Mangager, is always ready to help and is the mastermind behind developing training both on line and in person in which phenomenal training workshops both on property and off are offered throughout the year. The behind the scene staff is great as well, responding quickly to whatever questions we may have. Being a part of the Outside Agents family can ONLY bring positive changes to your business! Thankful to be a part of their "family"!
Outside Agents is truly the best host agency for travel agents. They are constantly improving all aspects of the "nuts and bolts," travel professionals use. They offer on demand training, amazing CRM program, weekly paychecks, and the best part, they are available for help with any questions you may have. They offer workshops at their training center, they will call you if you request to speak to someone, their commission split is excellent, and I could go on and on! I'm so thankful I have Outside Agents as my host agency. They make my job easy!
Outside Agents ROCK.
We have been with this agency a little over two years and my sales went from a part time of $7,000 last year to over $200,000 this year just by using all of the tools that they have to offer. I have my website thru them, my O&E with them and the support is out of this world.
In 2014, I made the decision to leave the stressful construction management world after 15 years, and take on new career. I wanted something I would feel alive & passionate about, and my research led me to becoming a travel agent.
Finding this site - hostagencyreviews.com - was a Godsend. The amount of information available, suggestions for what to look for in a host & most importantly, a personal call from Steph herself, gave me the momentum I needed to know that I was making good, well informed decisions with the possibility of having a viable career & income.
While each person will face their own challenges, I already had a decent business background and knew that my hot button was (and still is) technology. That was my main focus in finding a host. Other important key factors for me were honesty & integrity, a low price during my business building phase & more training available than I could humanly do, while maintaining a balanced family life.
Comparisons, location in proximity to me, reviews on here & the BBB and low start-up costs brought Outside Agents into my top 3 choices. Their promise to stay on top of technology and it's ever changing field, encouraged me to learn even more about them, and upon finding out what a computer nerd - affectionately speaking - that one of the co-owners, Chad Burt is, ultimately became my deciding factor. In addition to this realization; A family that can work together must be doing something right.
When you find an entity effectively managing over 4,000 IC's, and over half of the corporate office staff are family members, then you've struck gold. We all laugh about our dysfunctional families at times, but can you honestly say that you could work successfully with any of them? That's where integrity & honesty come in...from the top down. Co-owners & cousins, Chad Burt & Steve Muraca, Steve's mom & founder, Cheryl as well as his wife & sister-in-law are just some of the wonderful people you'll find working in this office, as well as others that may not be related by blood, but seem like family just the same.
When they tell you they're going to do something, they do it. They don't nickel and dime you to death, and they've never messed with my commissions. If a commission goes unpaid, they've always been quick to help you locate a reason from the vendor.
And then there's Dan. He is our sales manager. If you follow his methods - and his are very unique to this industry - the bookings will come. He doesn't sweat the small stuff and tends to over generalize in his broad statements, but I don't think you'll find a better trainer overall, than Dan Crutchfield. He's been around the industry forever and knows the ins & outs, so he's able to convey that in interesting ways that bring each of the suppliers and their reps into your world, face to face, no matter where you live. His knowledge is extensive and you'll find yourself repeating his mantra's throughout your daily life. I don't think I would be as successful as I am today, without Dan's invaluable training.
My personal track record involved maybe 2 small bookings my first year, then a few more and one big Sandals booking the next year. By year three, after creating my website, networking, registering with my local jurisdiction and all of the other preparatory things that OA spells out for you, I felt ready to face the retail travel world in a big way. Well maybe "ready" is too strong of a word, more like petrified - but in 2015 I decided to quit my full time job, and with the support of my husband, open a retail storefront agency, operated by myself & myself only, with Cruises & Tours Unlimited (aka: Outside Agents) as my sole host.
Within 6 months I had so many bookings that I had to bring on some help, and now, 2-1/2 years later, I have two full time sub-agents working in my office with me. That being said, it was about a year before I started making a decent income, as you don't get paid in most cases, until the guests travel, so when you're booking people for 6-12 months out, that's how long you'll wait to get paid on that trip.
When a client would come in asking me about going to a place that I knew nothing about, I at least knew where to start, by being able to quickly find our preferred supplier's that specialized in that area and could help me the best. We have a wealth of information at our fingertips within our OA community, training modules that allow us to learn more overnight than our clients ever could, and those things combined will give you the confidence to assure your client that you'll be able to give them a great travel package for a great price.
Now, in my fourth full year, we are closing out November, 2017 at 97% of the way towards our yearly goal of $480,000 in sales. I never knew I could do this, but I didn't let fear stand in my way or stop me, and again, I had a very supportive husband that let me quit my salaried job and take a loss for a year. He believed in me the whole time. I never could've done this without him or Outside Agents. OA Rocks! Give them a try, and you'll be a believer, too.
I have been with Outside Agents for Almost 3 years now. Once making the change to OA I went from a few clients to being in the top 30 Agents out of over 3000! They are always eager to help you with everything from small to large. I owe my success to OA and all their endless amount of training offered, the wonderful staff that goes above and beyond for each and every agent. As well as the endless contacts with so many Vendors from Cruise lines, Destination vacations etc.
If you want to succeed in this industry I would recommend Outside Agents!
I have been with Outside Agents for roughly 7 months. I am extremely happy. There is plenty of training. I wasn't promised to "get rich quick". I am working slowly, completing training, and there is always someone to answer my questions, whether it is an email or a phone call.
Commissions are paid in a timely manner and everyone I have spoken with has been very helpful, even if I am doing something wrong.
You get what you put into it. If you work hard and follow the advice in the training videos you will see your business build slowly, but I can honestly say it is worth the investment. I don't see me changing host companies and I have been approached by others with different host agencies.
OA has been my one and only host agency and I have nothing but praise for them. Easy to reach anytime, wonderful support if I have issues and technology that improves all the time. What was supposed to be a hobby for me has exploded into succes beyond anything I could have imagined. This is s family owned business and they all go above and beyond to offer training and tools for success.
I picked OA after 2-3 months of research and have never looked back. I truly cannot imagine paying a monthly fee to another host and receiving anywhere close to the service and support Chad and Steve provide to each of us.
Like anything, you have to work hard, pay attention and do the training and you will succeed!
Chad, Steve and Dan, along with all of the office staff bend over backwards. If you are looking for a get rich quick scheme, this is not the company for you. If you are willing to put in the work and want a team that is dedicated to you and want to build a foundation that will grow year after year, than Outside Agents could be the perfect choice. I could not be happier. Even with 5000 agent, there is no "you are agent number blah blah." That just don't happen here. They make it a point to know their agents and know them by name. Best thing of all is I can pick up the phone 24/7 and call one of the owners and they would be willing to talk to me about anything.
I am new to the travel industry, so I did a lot of research before I decided on a host agency. OA always came out on top, I had decided to call the agency to ask some questions, and the owner answered the phone! To me, that was impressive. Chad answered all my concerns, he was extremely helpful, and didn't pressure me. The training for someone new is outstanding, and there is a lot of it. The OA community is great, ask a question, and there is always someone to help and steer you in the right directions, all my fellow agents will go out of their way to make sure you succeed. There are no hidden fees, the technology is outstanding. OA also has the best relationships out there with all the vendors. Commissions are great and the OA/agent split can't be beat. I work this part time, but our business is growing at a better rate than expected. I don't ever see changing agencies, OA has it all, from great staff, to being low cost that helps you get started. Sihn up today, you won't regret it!
After decades in the travel industry, I left to pursue other interests, but continued to have former clients ask me advice.
I decided to go back into travel on a very part time basis, and help a few of my clients who couldn't get the service they were used to, when planning their complex custom trips. I signed with another agency who charged a hefty monthly fee, and were difficult to reach.
After about a year, I left that host agency and signed with Outside Agents.
There are a few cons, but having been in the business for as long as I have, they're not out of the ordinary. The requirement to change the Revelex password every so often (I rarely use it, so it turns out I need to change it every time I log in, at which time I've forgotten it anyway), that time my account was suspended accidentally because I was mistaken for someone else (it was reinstated immediately when I emailed to ask why), and when you work for yourself, your only coworker is the cat (and she is never going to grab lunch for me).
The pros, however, are countless. When I have an issue, I can look on the website and find the person who can help me. They email me back within the hour (during business hours), and after hours, the owners give their cell phone numbers, so help is available virtually any time. Who does that? I don't even give my cell phone number to my own family! That accessibility is everything. Then, the commission structure. I am no longer a high volume agent, since I now do this very part time. They don't care how much business I do, and treat me like I'm the most important agent in the company. In spite of this, I get the benefit of the override commissions of the agency as a whole. A small brick and mortar might get 10% with a vendor, yet a home agent with a low volume could get 16% or 18% with that same vendor. The E&O insurance is included with the lower priced premium package. That's a big deal. When I need access to a vendor booking system that I haven't used before (that doesn't have self registration), I get a login super fast (during business hours). Even when I worked IN a travel office, I would often have to ask repeatedly for logins before the right person would be found, promising to do it "after lunch" and I'd end up spending a week on the phone with the vendor, booking and altering that reservation, and playing phone tag with the client. Outside Agents really gets it. They know how agents work, and they want to make sure we can function in the ways that make sense. Commissions are paid twice monthly, and are easy to track with the new system. I can see what vendor has paid, which ones haven't, and then I know which ones to shake down for payment. My client management system is easy to use (with provided training) and I'm not using my rolodex anymore. The start up fee was low (and refunded after my first booking, a single hotel night) and the monthly is so low, compared to other host agencies. On demand training, recorded webinars, and continuing education. They really do have it all.
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