What Does a Host Agency Do?
Written by: Amanda Bailey on December 11, 2015
Host agencies are often misunderstood. They aren’t travel agencies, and they aren’t travel suppliers. To say that host agencies are middlemen between the two isn’t false, but it is an oversimplification.
Another common misconception is that host agencies are only designed for those with no experience in the travel industry, or those who don’t feel confident about running their own business.
The truth is that a well-rounded, forward-thinking host agency will be a lot things, including a travel agent’s accountant, teacher, support system, and marketing firm. It will be versatile enough to allow both new and experienced agents to thrive.
So… what exactly does a host agency do for its agents?
One of the most important things a host agency provides is a solid foundation of travel knowledge and practical training. This includes industry-specific information like which suppliers to use for which destinations, and general business knowledge, like how to develop a marketing strategy. The best host agencies are continuously offering new educational and professional development opportunities to keep agents up-to-date on all the latest travel trends, supplier products, and business practices.
Allows for Low Start-Up Costs
In order for airlines, tour operators and other travel suppliers to consider your travel agency legitimate, it must meet several standards. It can take years, and thousands of dollars in business to obtain CLIA and IATA credentials, the most widely accepted marks of an authorized seller of travel. Agents that partner with host agencies have access to their established credentials, as well as their Errors & Omissions insurance policy, which allows them to book travel with confidence, right off the bat.
Provides Access to Suppliers & Networking Opportunities
Host agencies already have established relationships with the BDMs (Business Development Managers) of their Preferred Suppliers. These connections are invaluable for agents when dealing with booking issues, or even to help them work out an issue when a client is traveling. At KHM Travel, agents even get a chance to network with supplier representatives in person at our live events, Seminars at Sea, and FAM trips!
Acts as a Bookkeeper
A host agency keeps track of your commissions for you, and should allow you to track the money you’ve earned and run reports. The system that KHM Travel Group agents receive to do this is called myTravelCRM. At the end of the year, your host agency will send you a 1099 with all your earnings. More advanced host agencies will offer tips for keeping track of your finances and taxes as an independent contractor, saving your new business a lot of hassle.
Supplies Marketing & Technology Tools
The biggest struggle many new agents face is figuring out how to promote their business. Host agencies know this, and use their resources to educate agents on the best ways to attract clients. With KHM Travel, agents get their own private label website to launch their web presence, plus access to an entire library of marketing templates, tools and graphics.
Offers Higher Commission Rates
Host travel agencies have the buying power of an entire collection of agents. This allows them to have more weight with suppliers, which translates into higher commission rates for travel agents. Plus, suppliers work with host agencies to provide exclusive sales incentives and prizes just for travel agents — sometimes, just for the agents under a specific host agency!
Provides Personal Support
With the right host agency, a travel agent will never feel like they are alone in trying to grow their business. Being able to reach a real person on the phone, or via email, or even through Facebook, is an invaluable benefit of working with a host agency. A host agency’s support team should be available to answer your questions, whether you’ve been an agent for just a few hours, or for many years!
Ready to get started? We invite you to find out why over 4,000 home-based travel agents have chosen to partner with KHM Travel Group and become successful entrepreneurs. Request your free Travel Agent Information Guide today by filling out the form on the right side of the screen or by calling us at 1-888-611-1220.