Travel professionals are always on the lookout for opportunities to grow their business and increase their earnings. One significant aspect of this process is choosing the right host agency. But what if you find that your current host agency isn’t meeting your needs? You can switch to a new host agency that provides better services, commissions, and support. This comprehensive guide will take you through the process, including what a host agency is, why you might want to switch, and how to go about doing it. We’ll also highlight MainStreet Travel Agency as a prime choice for those looking to make the switch.
What is a Host Agency?
A host agency is an organization that offers support, resources, and a network to travel agents, particularly those who are home-based or independent. They provide various services such as marketing support, training, access to booking tools, and a higher commission split. Partnering with a host agency allows travel agents to focus on their clients and sales, without having to deal with the administrative hassles of running an independent business.
Why Change Host Agencies?
There are several reasons why a travel agent may consider changing host agencies:
Fees: High annual fees can eat into profits and become a burden for travel agents. Some host agencies charge exorbitant fees without offering enough value in return.
Low Commissions: A lower commission split means less money in the travel agent’s pocket. Some agencies offer very low commission splits, making it difficult for agents to grow their business.
Lack of Familiarization (FAM) Trips: FAM trips are essential opportunities for travel agents to experience destinations firsthand. If a host agency doesn’t offer these trips, agents may feel disconnected from the products they’re selling.
Poor Atmosphere: A supportive, positive, and close-knit community of fellow agents is crucial for success. Some agencies fail to foster a good atmosphere, leading to dissatisfaction.
Keeping Your Clients: Some host agencies out there require that their agents can’t own their book of clients. That means while you’re working for them you can continue to book any of your clients but if you leave the host agency gets to keep your book of clients. This is not fare to an agent who worked hard to build the book but not get to keep them.
How to Change Host Agencies: A 4-Step Guide
Switching to a new host agency is a vital decision and requires careful planning. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ease the transition:
Finding a New Agency: Research and evaluate various host agencies, considering factors like commission splits, fees, support, and the community of agents. MainStreet Travel Agency is highly recommended, offering no annual fees, a high commission split, and a range of other benefits.
Notifying Your Current Agency of the Change: Professionalism is key when leaving your current host agency. Give them proper notice, following any requirements outlined in your contract.
Registering Under the New Host Agency and Their Suppliers: Once you have selected a new host agency, complete the required paperwork, register with their preferred suppliers, and take advantage of the tools and resources they offer. Agencies like MainStreet can help you register with major suppliers again without having to create a new account or redo your training.
Start Booking: With the administrative tasks completed, you can start booking through your new host agency and enjoy the benefits of your decision.
Don’t let any kind of contract, agreement or existing bookings scare you from making the change. Every contract has an expiration or a way to get out. Sometimes this is just time and sometimes it’s just a matter of notifying your current agency. Some may not even have an agreement which makes things easier.
Read through any agreement or contract and find out what is required of you. Then start that process as soon as possible when you’re ready to make a change. Be professional throughout the entire process and follow all that’s required of you. Don’t try to be sneaky about anything.
If you have existing bookings with your current host agency, some allow you to transfer them to the new host agency while some require you to finish them out. If they do allow agency transfers make sure that it makes sense to do the transfer (you get a higher commission split) before doing the work. Also note that most suppliers have limitations on transferring bookings including a window around 30 days from booking and/or not paid in full.
Many times it can make sense just to keep the booking where it is (as most don’t meet the transfer requirements) but talk to both your current and new host agency.
If you are finishing out a booking(s) then be sure to let your current host agency know and that all future bookings will be done with the new agency.
During this entire process, be sure to stay professional with both agencies: give them the correct notifications and time that they have asked and be positive about your last agency. This helps keep the transition smooth.
Why MainStreet Travel Agency?
MainStreet Travel Agency stands out as a premier choice for travel agents looking to switch host agencies. Here’s why:
No Annual Fees: Keep more of your hard-earned money without worrying about yearly fees.
High Commission Split: Enjoy bigger commissions from suppliers and a generous commission split that supports your business growth.
Free Travel CRM: Benefit from a free Travel CRM tool that simplifies client management.
Keep Your Book of Clients: With MainStreet Travel, your clients are your clients, period. They do not ask or require you to give them up at any point.
Familiarization Trips: Participate in FAM trips each year to enhance your product knowledge and sales skills.
Close Group of Agents: Join a supportive community of agents who help each other thrive.
You can find more about MainStreet Travel Agency and the services they offer here.
Changing host agencies is a crucial decision for travel professionals who feel limited by their current partnership. By understanding what a host agency is and the reasons for making a switch, agents can take informed steps towards a more profitable and fulfilling career. Following the outlined process ensures a smooth transition, and choosing a reputable host agency like MainStreet Travel Agency can set you on the path to success. Explore what they have to offer, and take the first step towards a brighter future in the travel industry.