Jennifer Dugan became an outside sales agent back in 1995. She was trying to make extra money doing leisure travel from her home while working as a corporate travel agent for the government full time. She teamed up with a local agency and found they offered no support and whenever she needed something, she had to come into the office and wait for an agent to allow her to use their computer. It was frustrating and once she got her first month's statement finding out she OWED money that she had never been even told about, she gave up.
Later on down the road, Jennifer had her first child. She tried going back to work and even at part time, it made her miserable. The agency she was working for part time offered her an outside sales position. She only made 40% commission and had to pay to have her computer access at home. It was the start of what she learned outside agents needed. From there she worked with several host agencies. There were several problems she encountered no matter what agency she worked with.
Low commissions paid to the person actually doing the work.
Commissions often not paid at all
Fees she was not informed about or more than she was told they would be
Shipping costs outweighed the commissions
No help when she needed it
The attitude of the host agency was doing her a favor by allowing her to work with them
The buck being passed to her anytime something went wrong even when it was the host agency's fault
Host agency acting as if she was owned by them
Host agency was behind on technology and if they offered anything at all, it cost her money to use it.
She felt alone
In 1999, Jennifer began to take on people who wanted to get into the travel industry but had no prior experience. It sounded simple at first, but those without experience not only needed guidance and education- they needed the basics that Jennifer herself needed from a host agency. She started off small taking on agents and word began to spread online about what she offered.
Each year the agency began to grow with more agents and soon she began to even get experienced agents looking for an agency to work with. Every year more training was added to the training program and the agency's handbook began to get more and more pages added.
Today with over 600 outside sales agents ranging in experience from none to 20 years in the industry- Dugan's Travels has done it all.
We keep up to date on technology and the industry. The very first agent who joined Jennifer as an outside agent is still with us today in charge of the training of new agents. We keep costs down low for agents. We work as a team and each year our sales grow higher. There have even been agents who have left our agency to start their own host agencies. We make it look easy, but really it is not. Taking on agents means being responsible for their actions.
A successful agent needs two things. A great host agency that is owned and operated by someone with experience and knowledge of what an outside sales agent needs and an outside sales agent who is willing to learn and go after the business that is out there.
When you are comparing Dugan's Travels to other agencies- consider these things:
We have been in business since 1997. We have had agents since 1999. Jennifer has been an agent since 1992.
We pay 75% commission. Agents who stay with us for 3 years- go up to 80% commission after their 3rd anniversary. We also have a 100% set up for $5130.00.
We have made it through rough times like Sept 11th and have a reserve so that if something happens- you are not left high and dry without your commission checks. New agencies have not been around long enough for you to know if they will be here 6 months from now. It sounds really easy to have a host agency, but many of them are unprepared to give up their own life savings to make the agency get through bad times.
Many host agencies are in it solely for the money. Many of them are run by people who have no formal training or years experience as a travel agent. They figure they know how to book things online using websites such as Travelocity so they can operate a travel agency. There is more to running a travel agency than that.
How many agents work with them? 3 or so? How can you know they are going to pay those 3 agents and how do they have a history long enough to know you will be okay 6 months from now? Be weary of someone who has been with an agency for less than 6 months and is trying to get you to join- they don't know if that agency is really what they say they are. You need a host agency with a history but is not so old they have no clue how to use the internet to your advantage.
Even if a host agency claims to pay a higher commission than Dugan's Travels, that does not mean you will ever see it. And if they are only making 10% with Carnival Cruise line and paying 80% commission you are making less than with Dugan's Travels.
For example: A cruise that is $2000 prior to taxes, port charges and fees.
An agency only making 10% commission would mean $200.00. If they pay 80% commission, you will be owed $160.00.
Our agency making 16% commission on the same cruise is $320.00 x 75% is $240.00.
Really take some time to get to know the agency you are interested in joining. Contact agents who work with them. Get a feel for what they stand for. Don't just pick the first agency that comes up in the web search engine. Anyone can pay any amount of money to be displayed first on the search engines.
We hope this helps and that you will compare our agency when looking for your host agency.
Having a host agency is very helpful to most independent agents. There are agents who become their own agency either by paying for membership into different options offered by companies or suppliers. However there is no way to do it all on your own. You need to be with a host agency to work with several suppliers. Or to get higher commissions you have to have more than yourself to meet the sales levels necessary to be noticed.
Things to think about when deciding what is best for you.
First in order to be on your own without a host, you will required to get id numbers to work with suppliers. Most will not allow you to do this without experience, a large sum of money and other reasons. To be ARC bonded (able to sell airline tickets) you must put up a bond of at least $20,000. Other options are IATAN which requires $250,000 in sales. There are ways you can do things solo but you will not be able to work with several suppliers and you will be 100% on your own with no help.
If you are solo- the travel industry is very hard to get outside help from. For some reason this industry is not willing to help each other out unless there is something to gain most of the time. Without a network of others who are willing to help you, it can be very lonely.
You can join organizations to help you with being alone. However most agents won't take the time to help you with a booking or give you advice.
Do you know the rules? So many people think you can go to school or read a book and become a travel agent. You need someone who knows the rules of the industry.
What about insurance? You need to have adequate insurance coverage if you are not working with a host agency and if you are with a host agency, make sure you are being covered by their policy.
Having someone to help you when you need help is very helpful. Having other ideas and thoughts can make your business a success.
Finding a host up on technology and can offer you an IATAN card or CLIA card is also a must in going to seminars, fam trips, etc.
A good host agency will help you with your business. I have had several agents who have left our agency to venture off on their own. They either quit the business all together after some time of being on their own or came back to the agency. Places that want to sell you a membership number don't always know how it is to be solo. I wouldn't want to be all by myself. Having my agents has helped me more times than I can count.
There is a good amount to know about this business and having someone with experience there to help you when you need it is very important. There are laws that agents must follow.
If you pick up a travel agent magazine you will read horror stories on agencies getting scammed and being sued for doing things incorrectly. It is important to have a safety net. You should have your own business but have an agency that you are associated with.
Don't worry! We will get you started and we start new agents every day who come to us with no prior experience. We train you about the industry, teach you how to use websites, and help you get the best prices for your customers. You don't have to worry, we will take care of you.
This opportunity is available for anyone who is interested, whether or not you have travel experience. The idea of this program is for people who do not know the travel industry to still be able to make commission off of helping people book their travel reservations.
Or for the agent with experience, this is a way to work from home without all the high costs most agencies want from you to work with them. We do not require a minimum amount in sales or productivity. However, there if you do more than $3000 in sales a month you are able to be exempt from the monthly membership fees
We are different!
What sets Dugan's Travels set up different from others is that you don't pay a set up to begin working with the agency. Our monthly costs are very low compared to other agencies and will be waived if you meet the minimum amount required each month. Plus you have someone to turn to for anything you need. We want to help you become a travel agent and the best way is to get hands on experience. You can go to school but it does not teach you how to actually be a travel agent. And there are a lot of scams out there who want to take advantage of people wanting to get involved in the travel industry. They take your $495 they charge for you to become an agent with them and leave you high and dry. No help- no support- nothing. Dugan's Travels gives you a way to get set up to do travel from home for almost nothing. (The $130 insurance is the only cost)