by Betsy Geiser
Uniglobe Travel Center
Before choosing your Host Agency you need to do your homework. Make sure they are legitimate, that the owners are credible business people that do not have a shady past, and that the company has been in business for a significant amount of time.
After you have done that you start making your calls to see if they are the host for you.
The most important thing you need to look for in a host is how they will support you, what tools they have to offer and if they fit the needs of your business. Make sure you like who you are talking too because this is a good representation of the company attitude.
What about after you are with your host agency, other than the booking tools and support and commissions, what are you getting from your host agency? Most host agencies offer so much more that many do not take advantage of. What should you do to make the most of your relationship with your host agency?
1. Get involved! If your Host Agency offers supplier webinars attend them!! This is the best way to stay on top of what is new from suppliers and what is specific to your agency.
2. Join the network! Many of us offer online forums for our agents to chat with each other. This is a place where you can ask questions about new destinations or just to get to know the other agents in the network. If you are looking for help to cover your business while you are away this is a good place to find someone.
3. Let your host know what you are happy with and not so happy with about their program. Sometimes we dont know if there is something that is not working so well for our agents and we wont know unless you tell us. We always what to hear the good news stories! At UTC we send out occasional surveys to get feedback if your host does that be sure to respond so they know what you are thinking. That is why they ask!
4. Attend Events! There are so many opportunities for networking and education from the various trade shows throughout the year. Many host agencies attend them too and would love to spend some time with their agents, even if it is a quick get together or a stop at their booth if they have one. If your host has their own event that is a must attend!! Your host is getting their suppliers and network of agents all together and the networking is SO valuable.
5. Use the Hosts intranet site and make sure you are up to date on what is posted. In many cases that is where you will find most of the communication and industry information and is a great way to get quick answers to questions.
6. Who you gonna call? Feeling alone, unmotivated and bored? Call your hosts Business Development Manager or the GM or any other person in the office that you enjoy talking to. We love to hear from you! We are always happy to give you ideas on how to get back on the fast track. One of the reasons to join a host agency is so you dont have to be out there on your own.
7. Take advantage of the supplier relationships. One of the reasons you joined your host is for supplier benefits such as higher commissions, right? The suppliers are also there to help you grow your business. The collective volume your host gives many suppliers allows you marketing benefits if you are planning an event or promotion. Are you asking for Co-op dollars? WHY NOT!
Even if you do only one of the above you should feel the benefit of getting more involved. If you do all of the above you probably feel very good about your hosting relationship. If you dont do any of the above ask yourself why? If your host does not offer these opportunities then that is unfortunate. If they do, and you just dont take advantage, you are loosing a big benefit of working with a host agency.