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Training Opportunities and Support for Home-Based AgentsOctober 1, 2008 By: Travel Agent Central Contributor Home-Based Travel Agent
NEST Offers Fall Virtual Training
The Network of Entrepreneurs Selling Travel (NEST) is offering a new series of virtual training webinars for home-based agents, available this fall.
The one-hour sessions will take place two or three times a week over a secure server. Suppliers provide sales and marketing strategies tailored to their products and benefits, which will help home-based agents increase their revenue.
To find out more, NEST agencies can log onto the Agent Extranet at www.inthenest.com or contact their local service director. To learn more about joining NEST, home-based agents can visit www.jointhenest.com or contact Andrew Wainer at 888-245-NEST, ext. 3008.
NEST is holding its fourth annual NEST FEST 2008 "fiesta" conference in Xcaret, Mexico, on November 13-16. The event will take place at the Occidental Grand Xcaret, with pre-fam opportunities in Cancun and the Mayan Riviera.
Nexion Launches PowerUP! Program
Spurred on by an April study by PhoCusWright called "Travel Agency Distribution Landscape," host agency Nexion (www.nexion.com) has come up with a program for "empowering agents to run their business successfully with full access to selling and earning commissions from their first day." Called Nexion PowerUP!, the program focuses on four goals: a greater understanding of the travel industry and its history; business planning and legal issues; basic travel knowledge; and using Nexion effectively.
The PhoCusWright report stated that home-based agents were a "surging phenomenon in the agency world." But according to Nexion General Manager Jackie Friedman, not much was being done to recruit new agents, which was worrisome considering that so many agents are nearing retirement age. "Recruiting at Nexion has always been focused on seasoned, high-producing travel agents," said newly appointed Director of New Agent Development Robbi Hamida, "but times are changing, and we see the need to cultivate strong relationships with serious, experienced businesspeople who may be relatively new to our industry. We know how to help them become powerful, successful agents."
For a one-time fee of $495, agents will receive a four-to six-month training course. According to the company, "Agents within the program will be on a 70/30 commission split until they have reached the industry standard of $5,000 in earned commission. Nexion plans to make PowerUP! available to existing Nexion members for the same price as new members and will allow those agents to retain their current commission split." For more information, visit the website.
ASTA Reports Growth in Agent Service Fees
Since 1999, the percentage of agencies that collect any type of service fee has increased steadily and has now leveled off in the mid-90 percent range, a new 2007 Service Fee Report released by the American Society of Travel Agents (www.asta.org) says.
A key finding of the survey is the continued expansion of service fees collected beyond just those for air bookings. Half of the respondents now have service fees for hotel, rental car, trip planning and rail tickets. Just three years ago, fewer than one-third of agencies charged service fees for any of these segments, according to the report.
"As ASTA's research shows, there is pressure on all sides to cut costs and increase revenue, whether you're talking about travel agencies or suppliers," said ASTA President and CEO Chris Russo.
For additional information, contact Melissa Teates at [email protected] or visit the research page on ASTA's website.