Flemming Friisdahl, founder of The Travel Agent Next Door explains why his company has launched a new division for small agencies – The Agency Solution.
1. Can tell us why you are launching The Agency Solution?
FF: Based on many conversation with smaller agencies they would like to have a dedicated company to support them, not just a consortium, as this is not what we are, but an actual organization that allows them to be them, does not tell them what to do other than the legal requirements like TICO or CPBC.
And, they don’t want to have to pay for everything such as a website, electronic marketing, print marketing, insurances, phone systems, insurance if they want to escort a group, paying their own associate agents. This program even enables a storefront to build their own team of independent agents.
2. Who will this appeal to?
FF: Any agency owner that wants to have a better work life balance, have a company that is there to help meet their needs, support them with new technology and make sure that their marketing and systems are relevant, all while bringing and creating new systems in travel.
3. What special challenges to small agencies face?
FF: The general comment I hear is that it is hard to stay on top of it all, while still remaining independent.
One agent I talked to last week said to me:
“So, what you have shown me is that if I join The Agency Solution, then I could save $24,000 in costs, and since I presently bring in about $100,000 in commission before any expenses then that’s a lot more I get to keep. Plus, based on the commission you explained to me, I would make more commission with most of the suppliers I presently sell and even if you take a small cut on some suppliers-- because I receive a 100% on many-- I would make more money and I would have less headaches, is this correct?”
And the answer is actually 'yes!'"
4. What do you offer them?
FF: The needs are different for each agency, as we can do everything from BSP ticketing, to paying their commissioned sales agents to helping them get a reduction in phone costs and reduce their insurance costs.
No agency has the same needs, and that’s why we don’t have a cookie cutter approach.
5. Why not join a consortium?
FF: Many of them are in a consortium, and so are we, as a part of Ensemble, one of Canada’s largest and most successful. As a side note, I am proud to say that for 2019, we are the number one agency for Ensemble!
The difference between The Agency Solution and a consortium is that in short, you are still on your own, you are judged on your own agency sales with a supplier, which means you have to produce a lot to get the top tier commissions, sometimes that number being 18 per cent.
Also, in a consortium, you still have to do all the regulatory requirements such as TICO, trust accounting, audit engagement review annually, carry your own insurance, pay into the different funds, pay your commissioned agents and create a contract for those commissioned agents, manage your own website, and the list goes on!
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