Over the past couple of months I’ve been out in the field more, meeting with home-based agents and suppliers at events such as NEST Fest in Xcaret, Mexico, and the Home-Based Travel Agent Expo in Las Vegas. During this same time, the economy has been plummeting even lower, but what impresses me is the resilience and resourcefulness of the home-based agents I’ve met. Agents are eagerly seeking out new ways to build business and new tools with which to do that—and more and more of them are looking to established host agencies to help guide them through these times.
“When the economy starts to shift, more and more independent travel agents and agencies start to look for a firmer foundation on which to place their business,” says Randy Yaroch, co-owner of Denver-based The Travel Society.
Agents would be well-advised to use the vast resources of their host agency and associations. Today’s home-based agent has a great range of assets upon which he or she can draw to build a successful business. Agents should understand all the resources available to them from their hosts, from booking procedures to technical and marketing support. Likewise, they should also know their host’s policies and programs and be aware of any potential conflicts.
As part of Home-Based Travel Agent’s initiative to keep you better informed, we have revamped and strengthened our Internet presence. This website now features daily news as well as more features, destinations, deals for your clients and will soon be adding more guest columns, blogs and video presentations. We’ll also be running online polls, and look forward to your interaction and feedback.
On top of the relaunch of the website, this month we’re introducing an e-newsletter targeted exclusively to you, the home-based agent.
We also recognize the growing importance of social networking in business overall, and particularly in the home-based travel segment. Last month, we kicked off the new agent community site at http://community.travelagentcentral.com as a place for agents to share videos, audio, photos and stories. We encourage you to join and get your own profile page, blog and unlimited media uploads.