6 Key Questions to Ask When Starting a Travel Agency from Home
Written by: Amanda Bailey on January 25, 2016
Let’s face it: There is a lot of information online about becoming a travel agent at home. In fact, a Google search for “become a travel agent from home” turns up more than 64 million results.
It’s easy to get inundated sifting through the heaps of commentary and advice, especially if you have absolutely no knowledge of the travel industry or travel agents. A lot of successful travel agents start out that way!
But there is a simple solution. Without travel agent training or experience, you can still start a travel business from home. All you need is a love of travel, an entrepreneurial spirit and the right host agency!
With a host travel agency, you can get on the fast track to getting educated and earning major commissions. Ask yourself these key questions before deciding on a host for your new travel business:
1. What type of travel are you going to sell?
Some host agencies focus on a specific travel niche, like romance travel or corporate travel. If you already know what you want to specialize in, this may be a good route. If you’d rather not limit yourself right away, work with a host agency that is experienced in training agents on a broad range of travel niches.
2. Would you prefer a large or small host agency?
Some host agencies work with thousands of independent agents; others with a few dozen. There’s no right or wrong answer, although larger host agencies often have larger staff to support their agents’ efforts. For instance, KHM Travel has separate departments dedicated to Training, Marketing and Agent Support. Larger agencies also typically have agents all over the country to rely on as a resource.
3. What kind of training does the host offer, and how is it structured?
Knowledge is power in the travel industry. Determine how much time you’ll be able to spend on training before researching hosts, because finding one that fits with your schedule will be key to getting your business off the ground. In addition to start-up training, check out what ongoing travel agent training opportunities the host offers, like FAM (familiarization) trips and other live training events.
4. What kind of marketing support and resources does the host offer?
Whether you have marketing experience or not, you don’t want to have to start from scratch building a brand and a professional presence online. Ask your potential host what kind of marketing support, training and materials they offer. It’s also a good idea to check out the host’s own website, Facebook page, and even their blog, if they have one. How the host agency promotes itself is a solid indicator of how they’ll help you promote yourself!
5. What is your budget?
Know what your budget range is ahead of time. Some hosts have monthly fees, some have one-time start-up fees, some charge a fee per booking and some charge a combination of these. Don’t automatically assume you’ll get the best deal with the cheapest host – remember, these companies have to make money somehow. A smart host agency will use these fees to invest in their agents, whether that be through support staff, technology upgrades or marketing resources.
6. How much are you expecting to make in commissions?
Some host agencies might pay agents 50% of the total commission from the supplier; others offer 100% commission programs. Obviously you’ll want to ensure you get the highest commission rates possible, but compare the commission rates with your membership fees. For instance, a host agency that pays its agents 100% of the total commission might charge higher monthly fees. This might benefit established agents who have developed a steady revenue from their business, but could be tricky for brand new agents who are still immersing themselves in travel agent training.
With the right host agency, you’ll be able to basically start your own travel agency from home in a matter of hours. A top-tier host agency will have the commission structure, training program, marketing materials, and industry accreditations already laid out for you.
With a host agency like KHM Travel Group, your path to success will be crystal clear! For more information on getting started, fill out the form on the right side of the screen or call 1-888-611-1220 to you can access our Travel Agent Information Guide.