· 24/7 telephone support, not just e-mail or web-based.
· Clear and easy-to-understand refund and cancellation policies.
· A track record of speedy resolution to customer service issues.
5. Choose a host travel agency with a fair commission policy.
Notice that money is not mentioned as the #1 thing to look for when you’re choosing a host travel agency. Sure, the commission is important; it’s how you get paid. But the best commission policy in the world does you no good if the host travel company that you choose to partner with is not aboveboard and honest.
Once you have found a travel company that meet the requirements of items 1-4, it’s time to check their commission policy. Here’s what to look for:
· Make sure that you know exactly how much commission you earn on every travel product you offer through your host agency. Be sure to find out if you earn commissions for add-on sales like trip cancellation insurance or lost luggage insurance. The best host travel agency partners pay you a piece of everything you sell.
· Be sure you know what their commission chargeback policy is when a client cancels a trip or seeks a refund.
· Find out at which point your commission actually gets locked in. Is it when the sale is made; when the client debarks on their trip, or when they return?
· Find out how long it takes to get paid. Some agencies pay Net 30, some pay longer. Whatever the payment period is, make sure you can live with it.
6. Choose a host travel agency with the best perks for you
The opportunity to go on a FAM trip is the most appealing benefit to travel agents. FAM trips are short for ‘familiarization trips’. These are special trips specifically for the travel agent. These trips are offered by hotels, cruise lines, convention and visitor bureaus, and tour companies.
The intent of the trip is to familiarize the agent with the product or service so that they can then sell the service or product to their clients. By experiencing the product, agents can sell it more effectively.
These trips are either totally free or have a small cost involved to cover the expense of the trip. These FAM trips are offered at a huge discount compared to what it would cost to the average consumer. If your host agency doesn’t offer FAM trips, you should think about finding one that does.
Also, since you will be working out of home and on your own, medical insurance plans or group coverage plans are sometimes offered. Check to see if the agency you are considering has a group plan that you can buy into. Group plans are usually less expensive than buying medical insurance on your own.
Some final thoughts
Owning your own travel business means you can take advantage of many tax breaks. Deductions are allowed for you initial investment, home office expenses, cell phone and land lines, automobile, computer, fax machine, insurance, and other equipment. In addition, when you travel anywhere in the world, it's a business expense!
Overall, becoming a home-based travel agent has some major perks and benefits. The important thing is to find a good host agency and become familiar with your product so that you can offer the best travel experience for your customers. Doing this will keeps a consistent flow of repeat and new business coming your way.
Good luck and Bon Voyage!
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