As travel agents, you’re on call at all times. And as independent, home-based operators, most of you are paying your own phone bills every month. How often have you returned from a hectic fam trip or trade show to be greeted by your wireless bill and a page and half of roaming charges?
Unlike agents working for a large company, you don’t get reimbursed for your charges. Technically you could charge it back to the client and many of you may do that, but that could come off as nickel-and-diming someone who just paid you thousands of dollars for a vacation.
It’s just one of the many expenses that occurs in the course of performing your services for the client. The best bet would be to come up with a figure that easily would cover the higher-ticket items in the “miscellaneous” category and present it as part of your overall fee. You don’t have to itemize all of the items required to provide the client the professional with a bill, but when you have roaming charges in the double digits for a single call you certainly can. It’s not like the $20 in petty cash is going to cover them—and besides, isn’t that petty cash actually your money?
Meanwhile, here’s some good news for home-based travel agents—and really anyone who travels: Canadian service provider Polar Wireless is working toward eliminating mobile roaming charges for customers worldwide.
The company is running a Beta launch of its global MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) solution in Eastern Europe and Russia, and is planning a global rollout in the second quarter of the year. Polar Wireless subscribers who have GSM handsets will be able travel to over 213 countries and operate on over 500 partner carrier networks seamlessly, without incurring roaming fees from their home carrier and without changing their existing mobile number or handset. This could be a big savings for you road warriors, not just for your business but for your personal life as well. There’s more details, of course, but it all sounds pretty real and pretty painless.
Check out their website, www.polarwireless.com.