Finally Taking the Plunge, pt duex

So, yeah...corporations can't be good Host Agencies.

On the other hand, your friends can be worse.  After leaving ECSC, I bopped around, placing bookings with various people, mostly to help new Hosts get their numbers up.  Finally kind of settled in with an agent I had known for a couple years.  Or thought I did.  She knew from Day One that I wasn't there for the long haul, and that I intended to break out on my own.  Her right hand girl of many years said the same thing.  She always told us both that when we were ready, she would let us go, with her blessing.  And, you know...she was paying me 100% commission, so it's not like she was losing anything.  She kind of kept me on the outside of her core group, which was fine with me.  I really prefer NOT to be all up in people's business.  But things started getting weird and political, so me and her right hand started making plans to form our own agency.  And we did.  And then the shit started REALLY flying.  I shant bore you with all the sordid details, because it is pretty sordid.

 So, here we are:  Bridges & Holman Worldwide Travel!  Pretty lofty name.  I run the Host side as Holman Travel, because, well, it's easier to remember.  For me.

And let me tell you what I have done:  As in everything in my life, I have harnessed my varied experience, put in place some of the things that made all of those Hosts good.  Removed all the things that made those Hosts bad, and come up with a little twist of my own.

First off, I am small potatos, and will always stay that way.  I don't believe bigger is better.  I am going beyond even Peter Stilphen in maintaining a personal touch.  My agents have my home phone number, my address, my email.  We have a secret Facebook Group that I check in several times a day.   If anyone wants to know how Holman Travel does things, they can ASK HOLMAN!  Not some faceless office drone who takes several hours to respond to a voice- or e-mail. 

I will find 100 good agents, or create them.  And that is all I will ever carry.  See, in my previous business, a cleaning supply distributorship, I trained salesman literally, off the street.  I am good at it.  I have been a closer and team leader, developing new car salesman.  I am good at it.  That, more than anything else, is what I bring to the table.  If you are brand new in the industry, or just sorta new, I will work with you and develop your talent.  It is my hope that, every year, a few people who came to me as new agents, leave me and go off on their own, to make room for new people at the bottom rung.  I have no problem with that.  Conversely, if you are an experienced agent with a $1million dollar book of business already, you will keep more of your money working with me than with any other Host Agency in North America.  True fact.

Second off, I am not looking to make a lot of money.  Fact is, I am okay, financially.  I have created a commission structure that is fairly unique.  It is based on the commission structure at the first real estate office I worked in about 100 years ago.  We start new agents at 70% for their first $5000 in earned commission.  I know that sounds a little low, but some place put newbies at 50%, so...and, let's face it...it's getting someone to their first $5000 that takes a lot of my time and effort.  After that, most travel agents pretty well know what they are doing and don't need a lot of input from their Host.

After the $5,000, commission goes to 90% for the next $20,000 in earned commission.  Now, 90% is as far as any host I know will go.  Period.  But, me...I'm a nice guy.  After you have $25,000 in earned commissions, you are at 100% for the rest of the year.

 In your second year it drops back to 90% for the first $25,000, and then to 100%.  Yeah.  100% commission, with no monthly fee and no annual fee.  Bottom line is, if you start with me, today, and earn $25,000 in commissions in the next year, you will pay me $3500 total.  If you earn $50,000, you will pay me $3500.  If you earn a million dollars this year, you will pay me $3500. 

And the second year, you will pay $2,500.  Total.  All year.  No added fees, monthly, annually, or for access to programs and services.

Really, it doesn't get better than that.  Especially for some of you Big Dogs.  Even at 90%, you are getting screwed.  Why are you paying your Host $5 or $10,000 a year?  It just doesn't cost that much to run a host agency. 

So, yeah, we've got the family feel, and we've got the best commission structure...but do we have the goods?  After all, those big corporate guys all have higher commission percentage, right?  And all that great software for booking and marketing and customer relationship management, right?  I can't compete with that, can I? 

Well...yes.  Yes I can.  How about I aggregate your sales with 10,000 other agents in 3000 companies?  You only have to be so big to hit the top, you know?  And with my affiliations, we get bonus commissions, value added amenities, and all the things you need to compete with the majors.

How about a cruise booking engine designed by TravStar?  How about I get you commissionable domestic air ticketing?  How about a hotel booking site where you can set your own commission level, and add a service fee if you want?  Maybe turnkey marketing emails?  Where you keep your customer database to yourself, so you don't have to worry about anyone accessing your clients?  How about direct mail with 150 pieces, free.  And more, for cheap?

I set up webinars with suppliers for just my company, so you can stay up to date on the latest information.  Seriously, there is nothing Expedia or Nexion can do for you that I can't.  All they can do is charge you money.  I will get it for you, free to you.

So, yeah...what are you waiting for?  Honestly - if you are new to the business, don't you want someone who is committed to holding your hand and walking you thru it for the first little while?  Don't you want to belong to a community of agents that are, really, a team and a family? 

And if you are an experienced agent, I just have to do the reality check question:  If you thought you could make more money, faster, and with exactly the same tools you are using now, would you switch to a new Host?  If you said "Yes", give me a call at 760.265.3687.  If you actually read the question and said "NO", please don't ever call me.  You're just being silly.

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