Many independent consultants find that working with a "host" agency is the most desirable way to operate their travel business. Host agencies specialize in offering independent consultants sophisticated technology services, commission overrides, booking automation, consumer marketing programs, best practices and support for running your travel business. Make sure to align yourself with a quality host agency that caters to your business style. This will ensure your success when you trust your business operations with a host agent.
Finding a quality host agency that meets your needs is critical to your success as an independent travel consultant. As you might expect, there are a variety of host agencies which operate under different financial models. From monthly fees to commission splits, to the diversity of marketing selecting the one that fits your model and growth plan is important to get right from the start.
So spend some quality time researching which host agency makes sense for your business. Here are a few things to look for when making your selection:
- They already work with successful independent agents.
- They do not have any unresolved complaints against their agency.
- They are committed to the development of a professional independent travel agent network.
- They do not have a "travel agent recruiting other travel agents" program.
- They do not tout "travel agent ID cards" to obtain travel discounts.
- They offer meaningful commissions and overrides
- They are active ASTA and/or NACTA members
- There is a clear contract outlining your and their responsibilities.
- They offer ongoing support in the form of technology, marketing, and supplier service issues.
The location of the host agency is less important than the services they provide. Many are experts in offering services remotely. Most of all you should feel comfortable with your new host agency and their ability to fulfill your needs as your business grows.
NACTA qualifies host agencies before they join NACTA. Here are a few of those qualifications:
- Must have been in business as a host agency for at least one full year.
- Must carry at least one million dollars in Errors and Omissions Insurance or require all independents to maintain their own current policies.
- Average sales volume per independent agent must exceed $10,000.00
- There are no unresolved complaints against Host agency
- Committed to the development of a professional independent travel agent network
- Registered to operate as a host agency with all local, state and federal governments as required
- Do not have a "recruitment program" whereby consumers recruit other consumers into the network as a higher priority over supporting the career of the individual travel seller.
- Do not offer a "Travel Agent Photo ID Card" for the purpose of consumers to obtain travel professional benefits.
Click here to access the NACTA Host Agency Partners.