So you’ve decided to start your career in the travel industry. But where do you begin? Will you start your own independent business or work within a host agency? Launching your own travel business without affiliating with a host agency is doable, but it will be extremely time-consuming and you won’t have the instant worldwide network and infrastructure most agencies offer. To get a head start, especially if you’re new to the travel industry, your best bet is to find a host agency.
The benefit of using a host agency is that you can operate as your own, unique brand, but you will have instant access to an established business framework. Here are a few key factors that answer why use a host travel agency?:
Sure, you may know New York City like the back of your hand, but your clients will want to travel the world. You can leverage a host agency’s worldwide network of travel partners (especially if the host agency is a part of a consortium like Virtuoso) to get insider info on destinations near and far.
It is so important to find a host agency that offers on-going training. Webinars, educational travel, an annual consortium conference, a company meeting, and any other types of training are vital in keeping you up-to-date with the latest travel trends.
An established host agency will have a wealth of knowledge for you to access. Ask potential host agencies if they readily share information on an internal database, private online forum, or some other platform.
If you’re new to the travel industry, you’ll need training from the ground up. A good way to start is to join a host agency with a mentoring program. This type of program will include comprehensive training on all facets of the industry—accounting, invoicing, air, cruises, hotels, tours, marketing, and more!
You decided to change careers to the travel industry—not accounting. Find a host agency that offers extensive accounting support, so you don’t spend your time claiming and chasing commissions.
Getting in touch with potential clients is key to starting your business, and staying on the top of clients’ minds is tough when your business starts booming. A host agency with an in-house marketing team can take care of that for you with newsletters, direct-mail pieces, and an online presence.
To manage your bookings, you will want the technology in place to keep things organized. Plus, since you’ll be most likely working remotely, you will need to be connected with the rest of the company. A robust database with hotel, cruise, tour, and client information will make managing trips much easier.
A host agency with a high volume of sales can negotiate higher commission levels with key travel suppliers—that means more money on your end! Decide which types of trips you will be booking, and find a host agency that focuses on that type. For example, if you will be booking luxury hotels, a host agency that is a member of preferred partner groups like Ritz-Carlton STARS or Four Seasons Preferred Partner will give you a sharp advantage over other advisors (and online booking engines!).
To learn more about Brownell’s Hosting Program, click here.