In the recent National Travel Agent Survey, 43 per cent of non-home-based agents said they would consider being home-based but hadn’t made the move.
So what, exactly, is holding them back?
The survey results reveal a greater understanding as to why these agents have not already taken the leap and made the switch. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about going home based.
If you look at the reported results of the survey so far, hosted agents themselves in fact help to dispel these myths.
Here are the top five myths that make agents hesitate to go home based.
1) Expensive start-up costs
More than 10 per cent of agents said that the financial cost of becoming home based was a factor. One agent said, "The regulations and cost associated with TICO make it impossible for a small business or a single professional to take this option."
This is completely false! Host agencies are registered with TICO and other regulatory bodies and this covers all of the agents affiliated with the host agency. However, agents must still write the TICO exam if they have not done so.
2) Not enough clients
Agents said they felt they would not have enough clients to be successful. In fact, home-based agents find that they can make the same income with less than half the clientele they had in their previous environment.
By working as a home-based, hosted agent, some agents report making two to three times the amount of commission, so the myth that you need high client volumes to maintain an income are dispelled. The home-based agents in the same survey reported that they work the same and have the same client base as before, but make between 30 to 50 per cent more because of the hosted agency commission structures that exist.
3) Fear of working alone without colleagues
One of the fears agents have about going home-based is that they will miss being in an office atmosphere. Twenty-one per cent said they preferred to have colleagues around them.
This is a common fear but host agencies have made great strides to ensure their agents have easy communication tools like intranets, as well as regular webinars, trainings and other opportunities to connect and support each other.
4) Lack of info about host agencies
Surprisingly, 7.7 per cent said they don't have enough knowledge about host agencies to make the decision. Yet, host agencies are very active in promoting their services at industry events and in the trade media.
One agent said: “I’m scared it might not be better than what I have currently” and another said “I simply don't know a company that allows me to work as a home-based agent, but I'm open to review new options."
Agents can easily find out about host agencies on those host agency websites, at industry trade shows and in the trade media. A lot of agents also found out about host agencies through friends in the industry or from their supplier reps.
5) Fear of losing your personal brand
Another reason that was cited came from agents who had their own brand.
Good news! When you go home based, you can keep your name, and your other agents, while losing all the high fees and back office work!
This is a big myth that both agents and small agencies need to give up their name to become a hosted agency that just simply isn't true. You or your agency can go home-based and keep your brand.
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