Part A: Tangible Reasons to Take Advantage of a Travel Business Opportunity
All Independent Contractor (IC) travel agents need to be hosted by a reputable host agency. According to new Federal Trade Commission rules and regulations, this relationship is called a Business Opportunity. Here’s why you shouldn’t try to enter the travel industry alone.
A travel business opportunity relationship (also known as a host agency) keeps costs down. If costs are down, profitability is up. A travel business opportunity (or host) bears the cost for industry certifications like CLIA, IATAN and ARC. A host also bears the cost of compliance with state Seller of Travel registrations and assist with the costs of technology like web sites, booking engines and client relation management packages.
A travel business opportunity relationship like hosting gives ICs many other ways to be smart about expenditures. Marketing materials and technology applications can often be secured through host contracts at lower costs. This volume purchasing may extend to long distance services, web hosting and travel insurance.
The second tangible reason is that a travel business opportunity relationship results in higher supplier volume which means higher commission. If commission is greater, profitability is too. Very few ICs, standing alone, have enough volume with a supplier to generate more than base commission. A host provides collective supplier sales volume. A hosted IC gets the benefit of this volume, from their first booking, through the host.
The next reason is travel business opportunity ICs can expect training and mentoring. The more you know, the more you can earn. Most hosts don’t just offer supplier training, which is the primary need of the stand alone IC. Instead hosts provide training for a broad variety of skills from selling to web design, from business planning to time management, from setting up files to setting up an office and much more.
Travel business opportunity ICs may have vacation and training coverage for their business. A reputable host will provide this coverage so that the IC does not miss sales opportunities and the IC’s clients have seamless service even while the IC is out of the office.
Host agencies, also known as travel business opportunities, pay attention to the details. This is both tangible and intangible. A host keeps up with industry and regulatory changes. They may have notice of changes months before the knowledge hits the mainstream information loop. When a host complies with regulatory change, the IC is covered. ICs can have greater profitability because they can focus on selling rather than rooting out these changes and their significance.
Part B: Intangible Reasons to Take Advantage of a Travel Business Opportunity
There are some intangible reasons to have a travel business opportunity (TBO) relationship with a recognized host. These are not as easy to quantify but are often just as valuable. A TBO will usually make work easier or more fun. Hosting through a travel business opportunity relationship keeps isolation at bay. Most ICs work in a solitary environment. There is no shared problem solving. The quiet can become deafening. A hosted agent is part of a larger network. Other agents are available to brain storm. Support is present, by email and phone, for dealing with both client and supplier issues. The hosted agent is no longer alone.
A hosted IC benefits from the travel business opportunity’s image and reputation. An independent contractor told me about approaching a supplier at a conference to try to get a client complaint resolved. The IC’s name badge listed her personal business name and not that of her host. After a very brief non-productive conversation, the agent told the supplier who she was hosted with and got immediate resolution. The host had a reputation and image that the independent could not achieve individually.
A travel business opportunity company provides friendly support. “Atta-girls”, sounding boards, helpful hints and shared defense against internet marketing gorillas round out the support you can get from a reputable host. Whether you’re new to the industry and need tons of help starting and developing your business, or you’re an accomplished travel professional looking for more clout, a reputable host is the way to go.
The first and most important decision the business owner must make is how to align themselves for increased profitability and quicker success. Choosing a reputable travel business opportunity to host you will not only increase profitability, it will provide solid success through both tangible and intangible incentives … all without sacrificing individuality.