What to Look for in a Host Travel Agency

Whether you are an experienced advisor with a book of study clients or new to the travel industry, ready to sell your first travel experience for a client, looking for the right agency to help you grow your business can be challenging. You want to make sure the agency offers all of the services and access needed to sell luxury travel.

When considering your future home in travel, make sure you check all of the boxes. A good agency should:

1. Invests in the Critical Technology to Book Travel

Technology is an integral part of almost all businesses today and the business of selling travel is no different. A host agency invests in the systems that make the process of booking travel as simple as possible. And they invest in the management and training of those systems with capable IT professionals and training staff.
Almost all travel agencies have a customer management system (CRM), a global distribution system (GDS), and a back office system for processing payment and commissions. Other helpful tools include itinerary building software, web development tools and presentation software.

2. Connects You to the Right People in the Travel Business

Relationships are at the core of any successful travel business. A Virtuoso agency connects its advisors to the players in the market who can help you create extraordinary trips for your clients. They have local connections and curated experiences that would be nearly impossible to develop on your own.

3. Provides Office Support for Running Your Travel Business

Running a business requires a fair amount of administrative tools and support. Travel advisors can take advantage of what a host agency offers in order to save time and money.
A host agency also provides important accounting functions liked invoicing, commission processing, unpaid commission reporting.
Another critical piece of accounting is an IATA number. Every agency is identified by an IATA number, used throughout the industry by suppliers to pay out commission. As a member of a host agency, advisors use the agency’s IATA number to receive commission as they book travel.

4. Supports your Travel Business with Sales and Marketing Tools

How do you translate your passion for travel to sales? How do you reach out to your network of potential clients and position yourself as a resource? How do you demonstrate the value of a using a travel advisor?
For any new advisor, sales and marketing are critical components in the success of their business, especially in the first year. A host agency has the resources and training that help advisors communicate the important messages that help grow their business. Advisors have access to social media training, sales messaging, direct mail and email campaigns, identity creation and much more.

5. Is Your Biggest Cheerleader

Starting a business from the ground up is an exciting and sometimes daunting task. New advisors need someone in their corner, cheering them on. A host agency gives a travel advisor a network of fellow advisors, both new and experienced, they can turn to for support, questions and advice. Advisors report this is one of the key factors in their first year success.

Finally, make sure it’s a fit. A lot of agencies will check all of your boxes, but does it feel right? Will the owner know your name when you visit, will you have mentors you can turn to when you feel stuck? Your host agency should feel like a first class seat; enough room to spread out and get comfortable with a standard of service that goes above and beyond for you.

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