OSSN Surveys Home-Based and Independent Agents

Despite threats of an economic downturn, the home-based, independent and outside-agent members of the Outside Sales Support Network (OSSN) are optimistic about 2008 and report that 2007 was a good year for the travel business. OSSN released the results of its 2007 year-end network survey, offering a snapshot of OSSN's growth and the growing importance of independent agents.

Founded in 1990 by Gary Fee, OSSN now has over 7,500 members and 60 chapters, with 30 percent of those surveyed reporting travel sales of $10,000 to $50,000 and 21 percent selling up to $100,000. Sales of $1 million were reported by 4 percent.

Other highlights: About a quarter of the respondents have a sales force. Additionally, 53 percent sell cruises and 31 percent tours, according to OSSN. Cruises were considered the most profitable product to sell.

When making a booking, 66 percent use their own agency and 34 percent a host agency. OSSN's TRUE ID codes account for 42 percent of respondents and CLIA's 31 percent. When booking air, 33 percent use online vendors and 28 percent use a consolidator. Only 7 percent use a GDS, while 20 percent call the airline.

More than 61 percent have a website, while 56 percent do not have a credit card merchant account for their business. Nearly half have a database management system, and close to a quarter plan on getting one. A total of 44 percent are CLIA members, 16 percent belong to Vacation.com and 13 percent NACTA. Visit http://www.ossn.com. (GD)

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