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What home-based agents sell might surprise you

  • Other
  •   11-15-2018  1:48 pm
  •   Jill Wykes

What home-based agents sell might surprise you
Jill Wykes

The proliferation of the home-based travel agent continues in Canada.  What's really interesting is what those agents are selling today, as compared with a decade or two ago.

In fact, it might be easier to list what they are not selling – incentive travel, corporate travel or ethnic air—but there are definitely some exceptions to that rule.

Agents are specializing

Today’s home based agents are branching out and specializing in all sorts of areas. In the past, about 75 per cent of what Canadian home-based agents sold was traditional ITC holidays – Transat Holidays, ACV, Sunquest, Westjet, Sunwing and others.  They were largely order takers.

There were some good reasons for that trend, some of which still apply today, including: 1) marketing money was available to support home based agents in promoting their products 2) ITC is easy and quick to sell and 3) ITC is a fit with wedding groups.

However, things are changing and today, ITC packages would represent only about 50 per cent of home based agents’ sales—and 50 per cent of those sales are in fact group ITC sales. One thing is clear, home based agents are becoming very successful at focusing on groups.

Group sales are in

It's not just ITC groups and wedding groups – today, many of the groups are on river cruises, ocean cruises and coach tours. So it is safe to say that groups are now an important part of home based agents’ growth.

Another interesting fact is that FIT travel is also a big component of this type of agent’s sales.  And this makes sense, independent travel professionals are often experienced agents who know how to put together a custom itinerary for their clients. They are also adding FIT components to cruise and river cruise holidays as pre or post stays – or to other types of vacations.

Clients are realizing that they can save a lot of time researching if they involve a travel agent who can do all the work for them. Home based agents are carving out a reputation for attentive service and offering a wide range of products and expertise.