Wading Through the Options of Host Agencies
Written by: Andy Ogg
As many of you, my prior career was in a completely different industry. I worked for several different companies in the off-road market, which included positions in the manufacturing, distribution and marketing areas of that great industry. My knowledge in the field was well above average with connections that reached all over the world. When I made the decision to join the family business of the Ogg Marketing Group, my excitement was beyond words, but my fear was as well. Going from “knowing everything” to “knowing nothing” is quite the insurmountable feeling and although I love a challenge, it was overwhelming to dive in and educate myself on all of the different sectors and parts of this amazing industry of Travel.
Throughout the past year, I have learned a great deal regarding the Travel industry. To this day, I am constantly learning new things, bettering my understanding of this industry. After some discussions with well-seasoned veterans of the Travel industry, I have come to the conclusion that the learning never stops.
The Host Agency market is competitive, actually very competitive. There are options out there for each individual’s needs and goals, and while each Host Agency has a unique value proposition, it can be slightly overwhelming to decipher through the variety to find the best fit for you.
What is a Host Agency?
I asked myself this question more than I care to admit, but in doing so I became fairly educated about how a Host Agency can be extremely valuable to a Travel Professional looking to enter the industry and build their business or even expand their business to the next level of success.
Through my education, I can tell you that there is no two Host Agencies that are alike. Each and every one of the offerings presented is unique. Whether it is the commission levels, support offerings, marketing opportunities or communication elements, each and every Host Agency has their strengths and unique value propositions.
In my mind, a Host Agency can be defined as: A large agency with established vendor, supplier and tour operator relationships through which travel is booked, organized and executed. Defining this type of business is like throwing darts into a dark room hoping to hit a fly on the wall, nonetheless, that definition should encompass the basic essence of a Host Agency.
Is a Host Agency right for you?
This is a tough question and one you must ask yourself. I can tell you that many Travel Professionals that work with a Host Agency have seen increased success as a result of that relationship. The increased support, relationships, and structure can help a Travel Professional focus on selling travel instead of running the day to day operations. It can allow you to spend more time fine-tuning your pitch, and less time setting up relationships with a specific tour operator or vendor.
Working with a Host is not only a big decision, but it can truly be the deciding factor of your businesses success and growth. Some Travel Professionals choose to not associate with a Host Agency for their own reasons, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, I feel that with the right team, value proposition, and model, an agency not working with a Host can be equally as successful.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what the right decision is for you in a one-word answer. However, I suggest looking into every option that is available to ensure that you make the decision that fits your goals and follows your strategic business plan. Questions you might ask yourself include:
Do you want employees?
Do you want to grow beyond your own personal capabilities?
Do you want personal relationships with vendors and suppliers?
What kind of work schedule do you desire?
Do you want or crave social interaction with other Travel Professionals?
Do you enjoy being the wearer of many hats? (Accounting, sales, marketing etc.)
What level of success is your personal goal? Is it working monetarily or quality of life?
What kinds of tasks do you dislike about your business?
How do you learn about what (if any) Host Agency is right for you?
There are a lot of resources for Travel Professionals to learn about Host Agencies and what they offer. We operate www.FindaHostTravelAgency.com and have helped countless Travel Professionals find the right Host Agency for their goals and needs. Our site offers a great look into each Host Agency on their profile and lets Travel Professionals do their browsing and learning in advance of reaching out to learn more from the Host Agency itself.
Each Host Agency on FindaHostTravelAgency.com has a profile, which offers contact information, sales volume, number of independents and general information about the programs and commissions they offer. This allows for Travel Professionals to sort through the collection of Host Agencies and uncover those that could be a good fit for their business plans.
After your general research, my advice would be to call and speak to each Host Agency of interest. Ask the questions you have and don’t be afraid to ask, ask and ask again. This decision isn’t one that should be taken lightly. Your due diligence in your research, education and persistence will prove fruitful when you make the right choice for you and your business.
What are the benefits of working with a Host Agency?
Each and every Host Agency offer their own benefits and incentives. Some focus on commission, some focus on support, some off leads to help you build your business and some focus on marketing and backroom assistance. The question that you may need to ask yourself is, what area(s) of your business do you need support with in order to grow and prosper?
Do you need help with your Social Media marketing? What about Email marketing? Do you need help communicating with suppliers or operators? Whatever you are looking for, I guarantee you that there is a Host Agency that offers it and more. Do you have a book of clients or are you looking for leads to be offered? There is a perfect fit for you out there, rest assured.
The benefits of working with a Host Agency extend far past these few examples. It brings your business to the next level and helps you learn about your own limitless capabilities. With the sites and resource tools we have available on our sites, we believe you will make the choice that is right for you and your business success will soar!