Archive for the Category "Host Travel Agency"

How To Create Your Home Office
Sep 23

How To Create Your Home Office

As an independent KHM Travel Agent, you will enjoy the many benefits of working from home.  You are able to set your own hours, with no rigid schedule to keep or time clock to punch.  Your commute time may only be as long as it takes you to walk the few steps to your desk.

You also have control over how you would like to set up your office.  Creating a comfortable and organized workspace is key to making sure that your time spent working at home is as productive as possible.

First, choose a location in your home to use as your office.  Even if you can’t devote an entire room to your business, try to find an area that can be set aside exclusively as your workspace — even if it is just a quiet corner or a converted closet.  Having a dedicated spot where you can work and make phone calls without being interrupted is ideal.

Next, assemble the key equipment necessary for your business.  The main things you will need are:

  • Work surface – A desk or table that allows enough space for your electronics and keeping any vital paperwork close at hand.
  • Comfortable chair – You may spend a considerable amount of time sitting, so make sure to choose something that is comfortable and provides proper back support.
  • Computer – You will need reliable internet access, and the ability to print is a bonus.
  • Telephone – You may choose to have a dedicated landline, a cell phone, or both.  Consider purchasing a headset or other device for hands-free talking, which will come in handy if you are trying to take notes during a call or keep busy while on a lengthy hold.
  • File Storage – You will need to keep track of paperwork related to running your business, as well as client information.

There are many other items that can be added to help keep you organized:  A calendar or planner to keep track of appointments, a memo board on the wall to plan out projects, a spot to keep reference material from suppliers.  You may also consider shelves or bins to hold brochures and marketing materials, although these don’t necessarily have to be stored directly in your main workspace.

Your office décor doesn’t need to break the bank.  You may be able to find used furnishings at a thrift store or for sale online, or you could repurpose some items from other areas of your house.   Start off with a smaller space and basic equipment, which you can add to or upgrade as your business grows.

Once you have the basics in place, don’t forget to add a personal touch to your workspace.  Have some fun with it!  Display pictures from your travels, frame certifications you have earned, or add other decorative items that bring a smile to your face.  Being happy in your office will help you look forward to sitting down at your desk each day to work, and you will be off to a great start in your career as a KHM Travel Agent!

Not a KHM Travel Agent yet?  Visit www.KHMTravel.com to learn more about the training and support available to start your career as a home-based travel agent.

How To Handle Competition
Sep 16

How To Handle Competition

Competition – a dreaded word in any business. Most people don’t like to deal with “competition” as it means there may be someone out there that could sell the product or perform the function better. Competition in any form can be healthy. It keeps you sharp, on your toes, ensures you are always trained, and it encourages creativity and innovation.

Since the travel industry is not immune to competition, the key to overcoming it is to earn the competitive EDGE. It all starts with being “pro-active” and knowing how to deal with each competitive situation with confidence.

First you have to identify your competition. Once you recognize who your competition may be, it will be easier to strategize how you will overcome and win in each situation. Here a few examples of potential competitors.

Other Travel Agents – It won’t take long before you run into a client who may know or have used a travel agent before. Instead of looking at another agent as competition, view it as opportunity. Another travel agent is one more person out there that can sell the “value” of using a travel professional. Educating the public is important and you can’t do it all by yourself. Get to know the travel agents in your area, learn about their specialties, and you may even be able to send each other leads. But more importantly, learn their strengths and weaknesses so you can capitalize on them.

Travel Suppliers – It is no secret that the travel suppliers who train agents and pay commission can also be your biggest competitors. The best way to combat losing business to travel suppliers is to “nip it in the bud” from the very beginning. Let your client know that the supplier you are using sells directly to the consumer. Be sure to explain to them that suppliers always encourage the consumer to use a travel professional if at all possible. Since not all consumers know and understand the value of using travel agents, suppliers have to be prepared to work with travelers that call and book direct. Being aware of this issue and educating your client from the very beginning will ensure that your client will feel comfortable using your services.

Online Booking Engines – It’s a fact that online booking engines have been around for awhile, and will probably be your biggest competition. However, they can be one of the easiest competitive situations to overcome. This is where educating your prospect and selling yourself effectively will help beat the online booking engine almost every single time. Follow these few simple steps and online booking engines won’t even be an issue.

First, build a relationship before you start selling. This is key because online booking engines don’t have the ability to build relationships. And generally travelers want to work with people they know and like.

Second, educate your prospect on the history of online booking engines. A decade ago, the online booking engine was a viable option when storefront agencies started to close their doors. But now the world wide web of travel has become so populated, that it is a confusing place for any consumer to navigate. The consumer gets faced with far too many options and pictures and they can’t even tell what’s real and what’s not. Booking online has become an extremely overwhelming process for the traveler. This is where you can step in as a travel professional.

Finally, sell the value of using a travel professional versus booking it online themselves.  You will save your client time and money, and offer them sound advice based on your training and/or firsthand experiences.

Competition is basically a confidence game. And that confidence begins with YOU. Once you find your niche and get trained, your confidence will grow. Don’t be afraid to let others know how confident you are about your industry and the product that you sell, which is yourself. You will find that confidence is contagious and your prospects will want to do business with YOU! And more importantly you will be able to welcome and deal with the healthy competition the world of travel will bring you.

Not a KHM Travel Agent yet? Visit www.KHMTravel.com to learn more about the training and support available to start your career as a home-based travel agent.

How to Stay Organized for Tax Season
Aug 22

How to Stay Organized for Tax Season

Operating your own home-based business at a KHM Travel Agent provides a wide range of benefits: Flexibility, independence, unlimited income potential … and even some potential tax advantages. But don’t wait until income tax season to start thinking about your taxes! The key to maximizing your tax benefits is staying organized as you operate your business throughout the entire year.

Most of the expenses to operate your home-based travel business can be deducted from your income, which will reduce your tax liability. Potential deductions may include office supplies, advertising costs, travel and vehicle expenses, having lunch or coffee with a client, business equipment purchases like a laptop or printer, and more. Even your cell phone bill and internet access charges may qualify! It is highly recommended that you consult a professional tax accountant, who can help you understand exactly which expenses can be legally deducted.

Once you know which expenses you will need to report, develop a system to track and document these expenditures. As you make each purchase, take a moment to make a note on the back of the receipt. Write down a few details about why the purchase was relevant to your business. For example, if you take a client to lunch, make a note of the client’s name and what was discussed.

Periodically—perhaps weekly or monthly—enter the information from these receipts into a tracking system. You can use accounting software, a simple spreadsheet, or an expense-tracking app on your smartphone. Whatever you choose, you will want to record several details about each transaction: The date, where the purchase was made, the item purchased, and which expense category it will fall under on your tax return. Find a central place to save hard copies of these receipts, or scan them and store them electronically.

One expense category that deserves particular attention is the use of your personal vehicle for business reasons. Accurate record-keeping and mileage documentation are essential! You will need to keep a written or electronic record of the date, the distance driven, and the specific reason for the trip. A copy of your calendar or appointment book will also help to document your mileage claims.

Keeping track of your expenses and mileage throughout the year will ensure that you don’t miss a single deduction. And instead of being buried in a pile of paperwork at tax time, you will be able to breathe easy and reap the rewards of your home-based travel business!

Not a KHM Travel Agent yet? Visit www.KHMTravel.com to learn more about the training and support available to start your career as a home-based travel agent.

How to Sell Value Over Price
Jul 26

How to Sell Value Over Price

As a new travel agent, it is perceived that selling travel seems to be all about the “price.” Some new agents will scour the Internet and travel supplier sites to look for the cheapest prices, least-expensive excursions, lowest category cruise cabins, and off-the beaten path resorts, just so they can quote the lowest price to their potential client. Inexperience says “to be the best, you need to be the lowest.”

The phrase “you get what you pay for” is a cliché for a reason. Offering the lowest price, isn’t always the best. And trying to have the lowest price or setting yourself up to be known for “cheap travel” is a recipe for disaster.

When a travel agents focus on price and price alone, they end up being just a “vending machine” for travel, trying to compete with the travel megasites on the Internet. This is the worst mistake you can make as a travel agent when positioning yourself in the marketplace.

And besides, if your prices are the lowest, and your client chooses you because of it, they will probably only be loyal to finding that lowest price and not loyal to you as their agent. Your goal as a travel agent is to gain and retain clients, so you need to ask yourself, what about service and quality? What about YOU?

As you become more experienced, educated and confident with being a travel expert, what you sell becomes less about the price and more about the value you offer. A little tip…Instead of thinking of yourself as a travel agent, consider yourself a “travel professional.”

A travel professional is someone who is trained and experienced in planning travel and vacations for clients. Planning travel is about the services you are going to offer your client that will result in a stress-free vacation experience that will create memories to last a lifetime. These services can include researching and comparing vacation options, sharing your expert knowledge, coordinating excursions and arranging activities, answering questions, processing the booking, handling documents, and being your clients’ advocate before, during, and after their trip.

Over time as you become educated, try to visit destinations and resorts for trainings, so you can provide firsthand experiences on what is great and what just “looks great” on a website. Showing clients photos and videos that you personally took while being trained at these destinations, resorts, or cruises is the greatest marketing tool you can have when selling yourself, selling a destination and selling value, NOT price.

Remember, ultimately if you decide to sell on price, everyone loses. Your client loses because he or she may have not gotten the best service and product and you lose because you may not have gotten the sale. Warren Buffet said it best, “Price is what you pay, VALUE is what you get.”

Host Travel Agency – Steps on How To Choose The Right Host Travel Agency?
Sep 01

There are a number of benefits to working with a host travel agency, if you are interested in moving forward quickly with your career path as an individual travel consultant. However, there can be a wide range of different agencies out there, and a few qualities to look for when you are narrowing these agencies down.

One of the first steps to take to choose the right host travel agency would be to verify the agency’s credentials and background. They should be certified by a professional hosting organization, or be active ASTA members. The exact credential can vary in between agencies, but there should be some sign that they are a valid, professional organization.

Another tip to keep in mind when comparing each host travel agency to find the right one is to look at their business track record. Ideally, they will already work with a number of top travel agents, who should be willing to give testimonials or positive reviews to new agents that might want to sign on board. One of the benefits of working with a host agency is having access to other professionals for advice and support.

When conducting initial research into the different host travel agency options, it’s also worth taking into consideration how their organization is run. Some work as multi level marketing schemes, with agents recruiting other agents and doing little travel agency work themselves. The best agencies will instead focus on customer service, and helping each independent agent receive the tools that he or she needs to succeed.

Narrowing down the best host travel agency options will also involve investigating how the pay scheme works. This includes what percentage the agency might take in exchange for helping you find new clients and providing valuable support and resources. The cut that they take from their agents will vary widely depending on how the agency is run, how large it is, and what types of fees that the agents are charging clients.

A little bit of organization and advance research can make a world of difference in finding the right host travel agency. Be sure that no outstanding complaints have been filed against the company, and that they are able to provide testimonials from their agents and the clients that the agents have helped. These should be readily available either on their website, or offered to prospective agents when asked.