263 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!

    (157) Friday 15 Encore (Vol. 92)

    (157) Friday 15 Encore (Vol. 92)

    Welcome to Friday 15! For today's Friday 15 throwback, we are re-streaming Vol. 92 from Feb. 2023, where Steph chatted about acquiring a GDS system without a host, attending FAM trips through other host/consortiums, using a payment system without using a host, and do you need to be certified to work with a host.

    Helpful Resources:

    https://asta.org/become (Use code HAR149 to save 50%)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-agency-accreditation (More on IATA/ARC)
    https://gbta.org/ (Global Business Travel Association)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-agent-fam-trip
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/events (HAR’s event calendar with FAMs, conferences, ship inspections and more)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/credit-card-processing-for-travel-agencies (Few notes on things to know when doing credit card processing)
    https://www.nationaltransaction.com/ (high risk credit card processing in travel)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/events
    https://www.adventuretravel.biz/
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-agent-certification (See many of the certification options available)
    https://courses.hostagencyreviews.com (HAR’s new course on starting your travel agency!)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn4S0mV4zMk&list=PLdEeS4KrdBLqVDL24Cw8Mw2XeMQVBwmec (Host Week 2023)
    har.news/7DS
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/what-is-gds (What is the GDS and Which Travel Agents Need It)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-industry-lawyer-list (Travel Industry Lawyer List & Free Legal Docs for Agencies)
    https://www.carpentertaylor.com/ (Carpenter Law Office)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/friday15 (Sign up for reminders and ask your questions!)

    We do this every week! If you have travel industry questions, HAR likely has an answer :) Submit your burning question here Har.News/Friday15 and join us this Friday (and every Friday!) at 12CT for travel agent tips!

    📧 Never miss a HAR resource. Join 30,000+ agents and subscribe to our newsletter: http://www.hostagencyreviews.com/newsletter 🎧 Listen to our Podcast: http://www.hostagencyreviews.com/travelagentchatter 🤔 Travel Agent Think Tank FB Group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/TravelAgentThinkTank 🌴 Thinking of becoming a travel advisor? Join our FREE 7 Day Set Up program: https://hostagencyreviews.com/7-day-set-up ________________________________________________________________
    Facebook:
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    • 16 min
    [Ep. 156] Friday 15 (GTN Co-Host)

    [Ep. 156] Friday 15 (GTN Co-Host)

    In episode 156 Steph is so excited to co-host with Meredith Calloway of GTN! You’ve sent along some fabulous questions this week, so please join us for some great Friday afternoon conversation!

    Here's Today's Questions!

    1. Hi! I’d like to charge a fee for my business. I plan to specialize in luxury, which I think will make it easier to charge a fee, like Courtnie in your last podcast said. What is the best rate to charge? Any other fee-charging tips? —Anonymous


    2. I'm currently with a Virtuoso host agency but thinking of making a change. Is there a way to filter your hosts to select for Virtuoso? I'm not sure I want to give that up. —C.

    3. Hi there. I have a couple questions about becoming a travel agent and thought maybe you could send me more information. I would like to understand the difference between being a host agency and a franchise. There is so much information online that is untrue and it's hard to decipher between what's real and what people just put out there to take your money.

    Any information you could send me I would appreciate!
    Thanks, –Andrea C.





    TODAY’S RESOURCES:


    https://hostagencyreviews.com/page/tr... (Annual hosted travel advisor report gives idea of earnings over time for both FT and PT advisors to help with your planning.)

    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/tr... (Travel agent guide to charging fees.)

    https://hostagencyreviews.com/travela... (Luxury travel advisor Courtnie Nichols, who charges a $5k group planning fee and only takes on destination wedding a month.)

    https://hostagencyreviews.com/travela... (Italy Beyond the Obvious charges per person per day fees. They account for 80% of her income.)

    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/ho... (The different routes to become a travel agent.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/tr... (Differences between travel franchise and a host agency.)

    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/tr... (Learn more about travel MLMs, why HAR recommends staying away from them if you want to be a travel advisor, and what to look out for.)

    • 25 min
    Importance of HA with leads? Providing private info to an HA? Write-offs for cruises?

    Importance of HA with leads? Providing private info to an HA? Write-offs for cruises?

    In episode 155 Steph co-hosts with Jenn Lee of TPI and their new franchise Vacation Planners! We’ve got some great, in-depth questions from you this week, so let’s get down to business. Join us!


    1. Hello Stephanie, I am new to the industry and I am trying to find a travel host. If I am geared towards making money and want to make this a full-time job, would it be better to choose a host agency that offers leads? Would that make a difference? —Nina C.


    2. If I am signing a contract with a host agency, am I required to provide my SSN along with my driver's license? I am not very comfortable providing that information but would like to know if the host agency needs that information prior to the training and hiring? ---Hemangi S.


    3. Hi! I was reading your article on travel expenses travel agents can write off. What about writing off a cruise where you are escorting a group and while onboard you meet with them daily to answer questions, "herd cats" and also to organize and host group events both on the ship and at the ports? Sometimes a spouse goes along, sometimes just the TA. Typical Caribbean cruise, so not American-flagged (that pretty much limits it to Pride of America and American Cruise Line river cruises). –Mary S.



    TODAY’S RESOURCES:

    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-leads (More about travel leads and what to consider with a leads program.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/page/travel-advisor-research-reports/ (Annual hosted travel advisor report gives idea of earnings over time for both FT and PT advisors to help with your planning.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/role-reversal-thinking-like-travel-agency-fraudster-2017 (Learn more about travel agency fraud and the social engineering tactics fraudsters use.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/independent-travel-agent-contracts (Things to look for in your contract with your host agency)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-expenses (What travel expenses travel agents can, and can’t, write off.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/5-steps-to-finding-groups (5 steps to finding groups – it’s not as hard as you think!)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/group-booking-tips-travel-advisors-agents (10 Insider Group Booking Tips From Travel Advisors)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/supplier-want-you-know-booking-groups (Here’s What Suppliers Want You to Know About Booking Groups)

    • 20 min
    (154) Contract obligations after leaving a HA? Switch to Travefy? Balancing FT job with TA work?

    (154) Contract obligations after leaving a HA? Switch to Travefy? Balancing FT job with TA work?

    In episode 154 Steph co-hosts Stephanie Gries of Travefy. (It’s a special Stephanie and Stephanie episode!) They’ve got some big questions to cover, so grab your note-taking materials and get ready to study up!

    1. Hello HAR, I have learned so much from your site and have found it to be an invaluable resource, I only wish I had found it sooner!
    I been a travel advisor for about 3 years. I recently left my host. There were some areas of the business that I did not feel the owners were keeping the same priorities as when the agency was first started and not providing support that had also been promised.
    On top of taking a 60%/40% commission split- which I now know is not industry standard! In the IC contract that I terminated with my previous agency, there is a paragraph that reads:
    "Directly or indirectly, continuing for one year after the termination of this Agreement, contractor shall not, hire, solicit,induce, or attempt to induce any independent contractor working with the Company to terminate his/her/their Commission Sales Agreement with the Company, or otherwise cease his/her/their relationship with the Company."
    Do you think this holds any weight? Can they really hold me to not hiring anyone else from their agency for one year? We are all ICs, so I just don't see how they could actually enforce that?
    I appreciate any insight or resource you may have on this matter. —Anonymous


    2. Hi Stephanie. When does it make sense from a money standpoint for an advisor to join Travefy? With all the startup costs what would you say is the tipping point where it makes sense for an advisor to switch over? —A Fan Named Stephanie with the Last Name Lee


    3. What are some tricks for balancing a full time job with starting an agency? —Melissa A.





    TODAY’S RESOURCES:
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-industry-lawyer-list (List of travel industry attorneys)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/independent-travel-agent-contracts (Things to look for in your contract with your host agency)
    Jeff Ment’s website (the attorney we reached out to): Connecticut Law Enforcement Lawyer & Travel Lawyer | Ment Law Group
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/page/travel-advisor-research-reports/ (Annual hosted travel advisor report gives average commission split for new vs. experienced advisors.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/best-travel-itinerary-builders (HAR’s comparison chart of travel itinerary builders for agencies.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/free-travel-itinerary-template-for-advisors (HAR’s free travel itinerary building template.)
    https://travefy.com/ (Check out Travefy!)
    https://www.tiquehq.com/ (recommended Travefy resource)
    https://www.letslucia.com/ (recommended Travefy resource)
    https://travelindustrysolutions.com/ (recommended Travefy resource)
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/726852665417747 (Travefy user group)

    • 24 min
    (153) How to Manage Many Perks? Switching from Unsupportive HA? What’s a Trust Account?

    (153) How to Manage Many Perks? Switching from Unsupportive HA? What’s a Trust Account?

    In episode 153 Steph co-hosts with the one and only Mary Stein of HAR. Sponsored by Outside Agents - thanks Chad and team! Here’s a taste of the questions they’ll cover:
    1. I keep noticing offers from my host agency/consortia/vendors that would provide perks for my clients and bonus commissions for me…after it is too late to claim them. How do other agents manage the flood of consumer and agent incentives so they can make recommendations that are good for their clients and good for them? —Vince K.


    2. I am thinking about switching to another host agency because the one I am with really does not reach out to ask me why my sales are low. It is very difficult to find clients. I would like to sign up with a host agency that will reach out to their members to help them to figure out where they are struggling. Sorry for the long intro but my question is do I lose all my credentials that I already have with some vendors. I have completed my Disney Knowledge, Universal's course and some of Norwegian's courses. I appreciate everything you do for us agents. Thank you! —Lourdes P.


    3. I'm in the process of getting a business bank account, and I recall something being mentioned in one of the Friday 15s or in the 7-day Setup about potentially setting up a trust account for client deposits. Is this just a secondary business bank account specifically for depositing client deposits, or is it something official that is regulated by the state or another overseeing agency as it is for lawyers? —Ashley R.





    TODAY’S RESOURCES:

    https://www.spoiledagent.com/ (Spoiled Agent lists supplier incentives for advisors in an organized way.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/hosts (List of host agencies.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/tips-on-how-to-find-the-best-travel-host-agency (Advice on how to find the best host agency.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/independent-travel-agent-contracts (Things to look for in your contract with your host agency)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/5-steps-to-finding-groups (Article series with advice on how travel agents can find group bookings.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/best-disney-travel-agents-booking-secrets (Best Disney travel agents share their booking secrets.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/universal-studios-hollywood-map-pdf (Universal Studios Hollywood map for your clients.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-agents-guide-hars-disney-world-planning-booking-cheatsheet (HAR guide on booking Disney World.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-agent-license-seller-of-travel-license (Information on Seller of Travel registration requirements for California, Florida, Hawaii, and Washington.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/seller-travel-laws-service-fees (How seller of travel laws impact service fees.)

    • 23 min
    (152) Custom Terms and Conditions? Venmo for HA Payments? International Clients for US-based Agents?

    (152) Custom Terms and Conditions? Venmo for HA Payments? International Clients for US-based Agents?

    In episode 152 Steph co-hosts with the one and only Jenn of TPI and the chat on TPI’s new franchise, Vacation Planners!

    1. What is your view on terms and conditions? I see so much talk about them but do I need to invest in getting custom terms and conditions for my agency? That seems crazy to me. —Anonymous

    2. Hi Steph! I signed up for a host agency on your site and he asked me to Venmo over the payment to get started. He seems legitimate but it just has me worried. Is sending Venmo to a host agency normal? —Anonymous

    3. First I would like to say how helpful your website and podcasts are. I listen to Spotify, watch YouTube videos and read all the articles every chance I can. Everything is SO HELPFUL! Thank you so much.
    I am still in the process of finding the best host to join and here's my question: I am a Brazilian and US resident and I was wondering if I could have customers from other countries as Brazilians would be a huge network of clients for me visiting the US. Do host agencies accept that or does it depend on the agency?
    Do their software of payments accept international credit cards/currency exchange? I would still be a US-based TA under a US-based host agency. Thank you! --Camila S.



    TODAY’S RESOURCES:

    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/seller-travel-laws-service-fees (Tom Carpenter explaining how charging service fees interacts with seller of travel registrations)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/travel-industry-lawyer-list (List of travel industry attorneys)
    https://asta.org (ASTA provides free T&C templates to members. Use TPI50 for $50 off ASTA membership.)

    https://travelindustrysolutions.com/ (Legal templates for travel agencies with membership)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/hosts (List of host agencies.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/tips-on-how-to-find-the-best-travel-host-agency (Advice on how to find the best host agency.)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/blog/independent-travel-agent-contracts (Things to look for in your contract with your host agency)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/hosts/travel-planners-international (TPI’s profile on HAR)
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/fiercelyforwardtraveladvisors/ (Fiercely Forward FB group for all advisors. Doesn’t need to be a part of TPI)
    jennl@tpionline.com (Jenn’s email)
    https://vacationplannersfranchise.com/ (Vacation Planners’ website to get on the franchise waitlist)
    https://hostagencyreviews.com/franchises/vacation-planners (Vacation Planners’ HAR profile)

    • 20 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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