Tips Agents Should Keep in Mind When Looking for a Host Agency
Whether you’re just starting out or have been in the business for quite some time, the decision to sign-on with a host agency requires a great deal of thought and consideration.
To help sort through this important career decision, TravelPulse reached out to Nikki Miller, a travel consultant and owner of Travel With Nikki, who has gone through the process already herself.
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“Signing up with a host agency is a fantastic career move,” said Miller. “When you partner with a host you increase your overall buying power, which helps you stand out to tour operators. The partnership can also give you a bit more clout when working through issues, or making specula requests. Not to mention the extra commission bumps.”
Here are Miller’s top tips and insights for selecting the right host agency for your needs.
A Host Agency Should Help You Grow
“Know that you’re the owner of your business,” says Miller. “You’re looking for a host agency to partner with that can help your business grow and flourish and give the best service to your clients.”
With that thought in mind, it’s a good idea for advisors to identify a host agency that will fit their needs for the “now” as well as for the future, said Miller.
“You want a host agency that will be able to grow with you,” she explained. This is harder for new advisors to really grasp…they are NEW and don’t know exactly where this career will take them.”
Read the Contract Carefully
Be sure to look at the fine print when comparing host agency contracts, added Miller.
“How much freedom are you comfortable with, and how comfortable are you with following a long list of requirements,” she said.
You May Need to Make Some Adjustments Down the Road
Yet another piece of advice offered by Miller is that there’s nothing wrong with changing host agencies at a later date.
“You don’t always marry the first person you meet or buy the first car you test drive. Once you have a been in the industry for a while you will learn what it is you need and can make adjustments from there,” she said.
Do Your Research
In addition to researching the host agency and reading the fine print of a contract, it’s also a good idea to do your homework regarding any affiliations.
“Are they part of a consortia? Look up the consortia offerings to see if they would be beneficial to your business,” suggested Miller.
Do You Specialize in a Particular Area? Keep That in Mind When Selecting a Host Agency.
“If you have a very specific specialty, looking for a boutique host that excels in that specialty is great,” suggested Miller. “If you’re a more broad-based advisor, then you might feel too smothered and restricted at a boutique host.”
Where to Start
Miller’s number one tip for travel agents who remain unsure of where to start when researching host agencies is check-out HostAgencyReviews.com. The site was founded in 2012 by Steph Lee, the former director for a $50 million host agency.
“They have the largest list of host agencies that I’ve seen, with great advisor written reviews,” said Miller.
HostAgencyReviews also offers lists of consortia and franchises, as well as a blog and archived episodes of the podcast Travel Agent Chatter.