If you're a new travel agent setting up a home-based business, finding a host travel agency is likely to be one of your first big challenges. The problem isn't that the agencies are hard to find—as a matter of fact, you'll have plenty of choices. The question is, which agency is best suited for you? There are many different types of host agencies, and there isn't one best one that will fit every agent. Instead, you need to think about what you need from a home agency and proceed with those qualities in mind. Take a look at some questions that you should ask yourself that can help you choose the agency that's right for you.
Do You Want a Local Company?
There's no requirement that you have to choose an agency that operates in your local area. Travel agents are increasingly working remotely—the number of home-based agents reached 40,000 back in 2011, and can only be expected to grow as working from home becomes more and more popular and easier to do. As a result of this boom, many agencies are set up to allow you to do everything that you need to do from anywhere that you happen to be. And if you're an independent self-starter who's happiest forging your own path, you may be most satisfied with an agency that never asks you to swing by the office.
However, there are some benefits to having a local office to visit, especially if you're new to the field. Networking in person with local agents and vendors can help you find your footing and give you the sense of community that comes from connecting with other professionals who have similar goals and passions. Think about whether face time with colleagues and in-person direction is important to you before deciding whether to go with a local agency or one that's located further away.
Do You Want to Specialize?
Do you have a passion for one particular location or type of travel? It's an important question. Some agents love cruises or Caribbean islands and are happy to spend their every work day dealing with nothing else and becoming experts in that niche. Others may quickly become bored with such a narrow focus.
When you're choosing an agency, consider whether or not you prefer to specialize or have a broader focus. If you only want to deal with cruises, then you should hold out for an agency that focuses just on that. If you definitely want to branch out, then look for an agency that offers the opportunity to work with many destinations and modes of travel. Don't settle for a niche that you won't be happy with.
How Are You Going to Get Clients?
Establishing yourself in the travel field requires getting your name out there, and you have to decide how you're going to make that happen. One of the biggest benefits that a host agency can offer you is strong marketing support.
Take a close look at what the agencies that you're considering are offering. Do they have direct mail programs? Mobile apps? What do their websites look and feel like—are they attractive and intuitive? Unless you have a marketing background or a strong network of your own already, you're going to want an agency that provides plenty of marketing support and that is willing to help their newest agents establish themselves.
Having a good idea of what you want before you start looking can save you time when you start searching for your host agency. You'll be able to bypass the agencies that don't offer the services, opportunities, and support that you're looking for and focus on the agencies that will help you achieve the career that you're looking for. Contact an agency like Gateway Travel to begin your search.