The pressures from COVID-19 are forcing small agencies to look for new ways to improve their business even to remain viable.
ROSWELL, Ga., Sept. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The host agency phenomenon is not a new development in the travel industry. Still, now entire agencies are joining a new program from Travel Quest Network, one of America’s largest host agencies. Some individual independent agents outgrow their host agency, while even small agencies don’t always get the best commission rates or access to marketing programs and technology. The pressures from COVID-19 are forcing small agencies to look for new ways to improve their business even to remain viable.
Travel Quest Network’s new Associate Agency Program is designed for small agencies that produce $2 to $10 million in annual ticketed sales (pre-COVID). Unlike a traditional hosting program, the Associate Agency Program is designed for agencies, not individual agents. Small agencies are seeing the clear value of the new program and flocking to join.
“The Associate Agency Program is a different kind of model from our existing individual independent agent program, though they share many similarities,” says Jason Block, CEO of Travel Quest Network and its parent company WorldVia Travel Group. “Agencies with multiple agents have different needs than individual independent agents, and we wanted to create a program that catered to this large group of agencies that are hurting right now to give them a better opportunity to thrive in the inevitable rebound.”
The program offers many benefits to its member agencies, but the central advantage Travel Quest Network offers is the ability to increase their commission revenue without losing control of the business or being forced to sell, all without any setup or ongoing membership fees. While Travel Quest Network offers GDS support and advanced corporate technology tools, the program also features user-friendly technology products for booking air, hotel, and cruises at no extra charge, as more and more small agencies abandon the GDS.
Bonnie Lee, President of Travel Quest Network, thinks that this program can help these agencies weather the storm. According to Lee, “Ensuring the survival of all agencies of every shape and size is essential to preserving a vibrant and diverse agency community. Small agencies like this, most with brick and mortar storefronts, are among the most vulnerable. We think they deserve to survive, and we’re thrilled to offer them this opportunity, to give them more tools to help rebuild their businesses, and to work with them to overcome these challenges.”
While the program was under development before COVID, the global pandemic has accelerated its market introduction, according to Block. Small and not so small, agencies are taking notice. “As we have quietly rolled this out into the marketplace, we’re seeing tremendous interest and have added six new Associate Agencies to the program during our testing phase. Beginning in September, we are officially bringing the program to the market, and if our early adopters are any indication, we expect it to be very successful,” says Block.
One such early adopter, Pack Up + Go, is thrilled to have joined the Associate Agency program. Pack Up + Go is a “surprise travel agency,” offering short, thoroughly planned custom trips to its clients to surprise destinations.
Jordan Tobe, Pack Up + Go’s Director of Operations, says, “Leadership at Pack Up + Go was so thrilled when we found Travel Quest Network’s Associate Agency program in our search for ways to streamline our very manual booking process. For years, in an effort to avoid the commitment to operating our business using a GDS, we booked directly with each airline on their individual booking sites. When we realized that through the Associate Agency Program, we could make our booking flow more efficient, gain commission on domestic bookings, and see all of our air reservations in one place—all without needing to be GDS trained—we knew we needed to make the switch immediately!”
ABOUT TRAVEL QUEST NETWORK
Travel Quest Network is one of the fastest-growing host agencies in the United States and serves thousands of leisure and business travelers annually through its network of independent travel professionals. Travel Quest Network’s award-winning marketing, technology, supplier partnerships, and educational programs empower its members to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, grow their business, and thrive within the travel industry. Travel Quest Network is wholly owned by WorldVia Travel Group, a Travel Leaders associate agency and branch of Tzell Travel Group.