271 episodes

We’ve got two listening delights for you on this channel, folks! 😲

The first is Travel Agent Chatter (TAC), a spotlight interview of a wide variety of travel advisors that we publish every quarter.

The second is our shorter, but more frequent Friday 15 series, where every Friday we answer your travel industry questions for — you guessed it — 15 minutes!

Travel Agent Chatter -- a Host Agency Reviews audio series -- talks about all things travel. We specialize in-depth interviews with travel agents from all walks of life.

Whether you’re a new or experienced travel advisor, we help you up your game by sharing where other travel agencies have found success and offering inspiring stories from the front lines!

Transcripts, videos and show notes of the TAC episodes can be found at https://hostagencyreviews.com/TAC

And every Friday at 12pm CT we publish the Friday 15 to our TAC feed. It’s 15 minutes over the lunch hour, where we answer your travel industry questions. Submit your questions and watch videos of the Friday 15 at https://hostagencyreviews.com/friday15.

Travel Agent Chatter and the Friday 15 are hosted by Steph Lee, the founder of the website Host Agency Reviews and travel industry veteran. She's insatiably curious. A lover of travel, writing, gardening & the stars. Most importantly, she ♥'s her dogs, Fennec and Orion!

HAR's Travel Agent Chatter | Friday 15 Steph Lee | Travel Industry Veteran, Founder Host Agency Reviews

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 70 Ratings

We’ve got two listening delights for you on this channel, folks! 😲

The first is Travel Agent Chatter (TAC), a spotlight interview of a wide variety of travel advisors that we publish every quarter.

The second is our shorter, but more frequent Friday 15 series, where every Friday we answer your travel industry questions for — you guessed it — 15 minutes!

Travel Agent Chatter -- a Host Agency Reviews audio series -- talks about all things travel. We specialize in-depth interviews with travel agents from all walks of life.

Whether you’re a new or experienced travel advisor, we help you up your game by sharing where other travel agencies have found success and offering inspiring stories from the front lines!

Transcripts, videos and show notes of the TAC episodes can be found at https://hostagencyreviews.com/TAC

And every Friday at 12pm CT we publish the Friday 15 to our TAC feed. It’s 15 minutes over the lunch hour, where we answer your travel industry questions. Submit your questions and watch videos of the Friday 15 at https://hostagencyreviews.com/friday15.

Travel Agent Chatter and the Friday 15 are hosted by Steph Lee, the founder of the website Host Agency Reviews and travel industry veteran. She's insatiably curious. A lover of travel, writing, gardening & the stars. Most importantly, she ♥'s her dogs, Fennec and Orion!

    (164) Course to Learn Sabre? Benefits of Certifications? Paying 6K for a Mistake – Is This Legal?

    (164) Course to Learn Sabre? Benefits of Certifications? Paying 6K for a Mistake – Is This Legal?

    In episode 164 Steph is co-hosting again with Lindsay Taylor of Travel Leaders 365. Have a look at the questions below that they cover in this rich and informative edition of the Friday 15!

    1. Hi Steph. I worked as a Travel Manager at my previous company, however, it was a created position and I used a combination of Concur, Expedia, Hotels.com, National Car rental and all the other sites. I loved this position but it all went away during Covid. Now, I'd like to get back into it but everything I'm interested in requires some Sabre experience. I know it's easy and I know I could do it but do you think it's worth taking the 60 hour course with The Travel Institute? Is there a better place to obtain this training? It could add a few lines on my resume and I'm great with self-study. $149 doesn't seem high for getting some experience. What are your thoughts? Thanks for your time! :) —Anonymous

    2. Hi Steph. I have a diploma from Penn Foster and when I look at the CTA, I feel like I've already done all of the same lessons. Is it better to have one of these certifications over the diploma I've already received? Are these just better recognized and received by people in the industry and clients? It seems like these have a more elevated status over my diploma. Is that the case? —Anonymous

    3. I refunded a non refundable ticket by accident. The agency paid it back but now I'm on the hook for over $6000. The airline does not reverse the transaction so the traveler has a credit. Have you ever worked with this? I would like to find out how this is even legal? ---Anonymous


    RESOURCES:

    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/what-is-gds (In-depth information on what the GDS, global distribution system, is and which travel advisors use it.)
    https://www.thetravelinstitute.com/product/sabre-personal-trainer/ (Travel Institute’s program)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/become-corporate-travel-agent (Tips on how to become a corporate travel agent.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/travelagentchatter/molly-williams-the-optimists-travel (TAC episode with Molly Williams.
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-agent-certification (What travel agent certification is and isn’t. Plus, what are the certifications out there for agents?)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-agency-debit-memo (What is a travel agency debit memo?)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/what-is-gds (In-depth information on what the GDS, global distribution system, is and which travel advisors use it.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/hosts/travel-leaders-365 (TL 365’s HAR profile)

    https://TL365.com (TL 365’s website)

    ltaylor@tl365.com (Lindsay’s email address)

    https://hostagencyreviews.com/friday15 (Submit questions, sign up for reminders for the F15, along with that week's questions we'll be covering!)

    • 23 min
    2 DBAs under 1 LLC? Off-the-books flight-booking? Are agency fees a red flag?

    2 DBAs under 1 LLC? Off-the-books flight-booking? Are agency fees a red flag?

    In episode 163 Steph is co-hosting with Lindsay Taylor of Travel Leaders 365, If you have a question for Steph and her co-hosts, please submit it here for a future episode: https://hostagencyreviews.com/friday15 !

    1. I work as an independent contractor so I already have an LLC for non travel related business. I was wondering if I could just add a "second" DBA and use the same LLC to start the travel business but continue to work on my full time job as another name. So basically 2 DBAs under one LLC? I live in Florida. Thanks! —Anonymous

    2. Hello, so I live in the US and want to help people in Guyana, South America purchase flights to travel to and from the US and charge a small fee. I want to use sites like Priceline and Expedia and Booking to purchase the flights. Sort of an off the books business. Is this possible? —Mike S.

    3. Hi, I’m curious about startup/yearly/monthly fees. I keep reading that it's a red flag if a travel host charges. In your opinion and experience, what do you want to look for when searching for a host? Thanks! –Jamie K.


    RESOURCES:

    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-agency-business-structures (The options for your travel agency’s business structure — pros and cons)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/page/travel-advisor-research-reports/ (Travel agent survey data on fee charging practices: what they charge for, how much, fee structures and more.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/page/travel-advisor-research-reports/ (Travel agent survey data on fee charging practices: what they charge for, how much, fee structures and more.)
    https://www2.arccorp.com/support-training/fraud-prevention/ (ARC’s fraud prevention webinar)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-agency-debit-memo (What is a travel agency debit memo?)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/what-is-gds (In-depth information on what the GDS, global distribution system, is and which travel advisors use it.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/hosts/travel-leaders-365 (TL 365’s HAR profile)

    https://TL365.com (TL 365’s website)

    ltaylor@tl365.com (Lindsay’s email address)

    https://hostagencyreviews.com/friday15 (Submit questions, sign up for reminders for the F15, along with that week's questions we'll be covering!)

    • 17 min
    162 Do Airline Commissions Still Exist Travel Services Agreements - When Should A Client Sign

    162 Do Airline Commissions Still Exist Travel Services Agreements - When Should A Client Sign

    In episode 162 Steph Lee is joined by Chad Burt of Outside Agents. We’ve got some great questions from you all. Speaking of – if you have a question for Steph and her co-hosts, please submit it here for a future episode: https://hostagencyreviews.com/friday15 !

    1. Do the airlines still give commissions on flights? If not, what is the benefit of an $2300 ARC #? —Anonymous


    2. Hello! I have a quick question about workflows. If you have a travel services agreement, is it better to have clients sign that before or after you send quotes/proposals? I don't want to scare clients away before they see options, but I also don't want to waste my time! —Kristin R.




    RESOURCES:


    https://hostagencyreviews.com/friday15 (Submit questions, sign up for reminders for the F15, along with that week's questions we'll be covering!)

    https://hostagencyreviews.com/friday15/agent-etiquette-on-fam-trips-benefits-of-the-gds-should-i-belong-to-asta (Friday 15 going over benefits of GDS system)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/what-is-gds (In-depth information on what the GDS, global distribution system, is and which travel advisors use it.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/what-is-an-arc-number (What is an ARC number?)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-agency-accreditation (A list of the different travel agent accreditation options.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-agent-commissions (All about travel agent commissions, including airline commissions.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/what-is-a-host-agency (Explainer of what a host agency is)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/page/travel-advisor-research-reports/ (Travel agent survey data on fee charging practices: what they charge for, how much, fee structures and more.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/how-to-qualify-clients-travel-agent (How to qualify clients and recordings of real travel advisor conversations to qualify their clients)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/free-travel-agent-forms-clients (Free travel agent forms from HAR)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-waivers-protect-your-travel-agency (Travel waiver forms from HAR)

    • 22 min
    (161) Just Starting Out – And My Brain is Frozen! How Do I Present Options to a Client?

    (161) Just Starting Out – And My Brain is Frozen! How Do I Present Options to a Client?

    In episode 161 Steph is co-hosting with Lori Speers of Levarte Travel! We’ve got some great questions, so make sure you set aside the time to tune in this week! (Also, ICYMI, all of our podcasts are archived, so you can listen at your leisure!)

    1. I recently joined a host agency (exactly 1 month ago) and I do a ton of research but somehow I feel more lost every day. I feel a little overwhelmed with so much information and access out there that my brain is freezing. I don't know where to start off so I am doing all at the same time and freaking out. Do you have a "step list" of what to do first that you would recommend? - Build a website, contracts, forms, services guide, social media, training (do I prioritize supplier training or destinations?) I have a business and social media account set up and going but I am a mess behind it all. I would like to say thank you for making this website such a welcoming place where I feel comfortable asking beginner questions. TIA! —Camila S.


    2. What I'm still not clear on are things like this: how do I present options and prices to a client, and give them time to make a decision? Am I supposed to reserve all of the options first to guarantee the price, and then cancel the discarded options afterward? Or do you just present it and hope the prices don't change in the meantime? Are there other good places to find tips or suggestions for effective booking practices? --Christopher M.




    RESOURCES:

    https://hostagencyreviews.com/friday15 (Submit questions, sign up for reminders for the F15, along with that week's questions we'll be covering!)

    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/how-to-qualify-clients-travel-agent (How to qualify clients with 3 real life examples of advisors qualifying clients)

    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/what-is-tour-operator (What the heck is a tour operator, anyhow? We have answers.)
    https://alg.www.vaxvacationaccess.com/pages/pro-to-pro/ (Apple Leisure Group Pro training)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/how-to-ask-questions-to-peers-on-social-media (How to ask your travel peers questions on social media)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/best-travel-itinerary-builders (Best travel itinerary builders and comparison sheet)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/free-travel-itinerary-template-for-advisors (Free travel itinerary template for travel advisors)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/how-to-qualify-clients-travel-agent (How to qualify clients and recordings of real travel advisor conversations to qualify their clients)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/hosts/levarte-travel (Levarte’s HAR profile)
    https://levartetravel.com (Levarte’s website)

    • 28 min
    (160) How To Sell an Agency? Back into the Travel Industry 30 Years Later!

    (160) How To Sell an Agency? Back into the Travel Industry 30 Years Later!

    In episode 160 Steph is co-hosting with April Swales of Uniglobe! Please join us as this dynamic duo tackles a couple of important questions!

    1. I was wondering if I could pick your brain a little about the current status of the industry, the possibilities of finding someone interested in buying an agency, and what makes a travel agency attractive for a potential buyer. My mother isn't ready to stop working as an agent and loves helping her clients but I could see it being a good exit strategy for her in the near future. —Nathan

    2. I went to an actual school in 1988 on the Sabre system. Do you know if there are courses that might bring me up to speed & how much they cost?
    I spoke with IATAN & ARC today. It's not as expensive as I thought it'd be but I'd still like to start off maybe working with a national agency for a while first. Thoughts? —Anonymous



    TODAY’S RESOURCES:
    https://www.youtube.com/live/b8PvbmxA35U?feature=shared&t=8959 (Host Week presentation with Steph and Marc Casto on selling an agency)
    https://www.tvlacq.com/ (Broker specializing in travel agencies/tour operators)
    https://www.score.org/resource/eguide/small-business-owner’s-guide-succession-planning
    https://www.trinet.com/insights/small-business-succession-plan-101
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/general-guide-succession-planning-small-business-c-suitesupport
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/become-corporate-travel-agent (Tips on how to become a corporate travel agent with links to Sabre trainings.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-agency-accreditation (A list of the different travel agent accreditation options.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/travel-jobs (Find travel agent jobs on HAR’s travel jobs board!)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/how-much-do-travel-agents-make-travel-agent-salary (Info on how much travel agents make)
    https://www.travelleadersoftomorrow.com/business/ (Travel Leaders of Tomorrow is only accepting students who have already secured a job with an agency but are in need of training.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/what-is-gds (In-depth information on what the GDS, global distribution system, is and which travel advisors use it.)
    https://www.thetravelinstitute.com/product/sabre-personal-trainer/
    https://your.sabre.com/sabretraining
    https://www.linkedin.com/advice/3/what-most-important-gds-training-resources-travel-ihklf

    • 26 min
    (159) How to Build a Client Base? Leads Programs – Worth It? How to Handle Changeable Clients?

    (159) How to Build a Client Base? Leads Programs – Worth It? How to Handle Changeable Clients?

    entrepreneurship, entrepreneur, business, small business, home based business, travel agency, travel, marketing, travelagent, travel advisor, business, host agency, Friday15, podcast

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
70 Ratings

70 Ratings

bladesblah ,

Valuable information and advice

Thank you for these Friday Q&As! I’ve been an agent for two years and my old travel agent actually has allowed me to be under their wing and learn at my part time pace. The downfall is I don’t get a ton of training in the industry unless I’m booking something new so terms and business know how’s came slowly. I found your website and podcast so valuable for my growth and I’m just wanting to say thank you so much!

Piolin@88 ,

Wow!!

I love your podcast. I started listening to it a few weeks ago.
I love the different topics and success stories that are covered. I love the ideas that I’m hearing. It gives me new things to consider and try out.
Maybe I’m not there yet ( currently on episode 11) , but ……I would love to hear how travel agents deal with visas? Is that something they handle ? Or something they allow the clients to do on their own ?Do they charge a fee for this? 🤔

gusisamazing ,

Awesome resource!

I have been listening to TAC for about 6 months, and I have loved every episode! I’m starting my own travel company, and the advice Steph gives, along with the awesome guests she has on the show, have already given me tons of ideas. Looking forward to taking in each new episode as it comes out!

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