Success is often built on the pillars of support. And, it’s no different for independent travel advisors, which is why seeking the right host agency to align with their business is a critical choice.
Independent advisors enjoy the benefit of being their own boss, but the right host agency can help them significantly grow their client base, income and business longevity. Not all host agencies are created equal, though, so it’s important to consider what truly makes a host agency’s team a cut above the competition.
A Partner During Tough Times
It’s easy to be helpful and encouraging during good times, but a host agency’s true colors are revealed when challenges arise.
COVID-19 has severely impacted the travel and hospitality industries, requiring travel advisors to face unprecedented situations. The right host agency team provides seemingly endless support and much-needed guidance and assistance, making advisors feel as if they are not alone in a sea of uncertainty while still providing the highest levels of customer satisfaction. Having the right team behind them can be the difference between keeping a client and losing a client.
Throughout the pandemic, Direct Travel’s supplier management team has been busy advocating on behalf of advisors and their clients when cancellation and refund issues developed, leaving advisors to stay close with their clients. The company also holds Town Halls with their leadership to share updates and field questions as an additional resource.
Flexibility To Meet Individual Need
What independent advisors need to cultivate their businesses is as individual as their clients, so a host agency’s adaptability to those needs is extremely vital.
Access and choice are paramount. A nurturing, solutions-focused team offers a comprehensive suite of services without a la carte charges. Independent advisors have access to all the available tools without worry of incurring increased fees if they require more services at different times of the year. They select what they need when they need it to effectively grow their business. Think easy-to-use customer management platforms, booking tools to drive reservations, and training to build knowledge and connections – game-changing resources all at an advisor’s fingertips to use when necessary.
The best-fit team is flexible, allowing independent advisors to excel in the way they want to excel and be the advisors they want to be.
Maximum Access To Resources
Operating a thriving independent travel advisor business means managing everything from the back-end and technology to customer outreach and curating travel journeys. Maximum support from a host agency makes the difference in the kind of success independent advisors achieve.
Seek out a host agency that carefully examines an advisor’s challenges and presents solutions to optimize results. This should encompass the full scope of the business – accounting, administration, human resources, legal issues, meetings, IT infrastructure, operations, sales and travel management.
The right team has technology that facilitates targeted, efficient marketing and communication with clients from a centralized platform, plus delivers constant support and proven strategy to enhance the overall marketing effort. With a robust marketing program including individual, customizable advisor websites, Direct Travel provides personalized campaigns to maintain client engagement and help strengthen an advisor’s business.
A Home For Individuality
A partner that makes you feel like the only client they have is a partner to align with for business success. The best host agencies make independent travel advisors feel like a person, not a number, and create a true home where they can maintain their individual identity while being backed by a host agency’s extensive resources.
The relationships an independent advisor chooses impacts the travel advisor they become. Advisors can build their own distinct brand by connecting with a larger support system that creates an environment where advisors concentrate on bringing a wealth of travel knowledge to their customers and delivering personalized service to consumers.
Encouraging Confidence To Charge Service Fees
Travel advisors deserve to be paid for the value and expertise they possess, along with the time spent handling a client’s travel needs, but not all advisors know the best ways to incorporate fees into their business model.
In-the-know host agencies can provide travel advisors with the necessary guidance in implementing a thoughtfully-built structure for charging service fees, including guidance on how to normalize the practice of charging service fees, creating a well-defined fee model, developing targeted pitches for different types of clients, how to invest in their own professional development, and how to showcase an advisor’s travel expertise and experience through social media and e-mail communications.
Ensuring advisors don’t get distracted by operational challenges, keeping them abreast of all the changes impacting today’s travel and hospitality industries, and providing them with the tools and environment where achieving sustainable success is the norm is at the heart of a client-focused supportive team.