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Home Based Travel Agent Registry - One Year Later

Written by  Doug Cooke

A little more than a year ago we launched the Home Based Travel Agent Registry (www.hbtar.com) as a way to help home based travel agents and travel industry suppliers connect with each other. We have been happy with the response from the industry - with over 75 suppliers and 2,000 plus travel agents registering. We have also received letters of encouragement and support for a service that has been needed and was long overdue.However, with an estimated 25,000 home based agents in the marketplace, we have a ways to go to make this service effective for both agents and suppliers.

 

Our idea of creating a Home Based Travel Agent Registry was born from the rapid evolution of this distribution channel and the challenges both home based agents and suppliers have encountered along the way. Ultimately, we are striving to enhance mutual awareness between home based agents and travel suppliers.Our goal with HBTAR is two fold; we want to create the industry?s first comprehensive database of home based agents, and at the same time create a database of suppliers who wish to embrace and communicate more effectively with this distribution channel.

For travel suppliers, the ongoing closings of brick and mortar agencies, and agents taking their business ?home? has led to challenges in knowing who the agents are, and how to support and communicate with them. Additionally, a large percentage of home based agent bookings are filtered through host agencies, it is difficult for suppliers to identify the individual agents who are selling their products, in order to support and recognize their efforts. Now with HBTAR, suppliers will have a ?go to? list of home based agents that will include their contact information, areas of expertise and annual sales information.Home based travel agents, on the other hand, don?t have the same direct relationships with suppliers as they did when working in a brick and mortar office where supplier BDM's (regional sales representatives) would call on them with product information. Just as the suppliers don?t know who the agents are, quite often the agents are unfamiliar with who their local BDM is, or who they can turn to for help or support. The HBTAR site includes a list of suppliers who are anxious to work with home based agents and gives contact information for either the VP of Sales and/or local and regional BDM.

Inclusion in the HBTAR is free for both agents and suppliers. I encourage both agents and suppliers to please take a moment and register today at www.HBTAR.comOn a personal note, I would like to thank our loyal travel agent readers and industry suppliers for celebrating our 40th year in business in 2012. We couldn't have done it without you. From myself and the JAX FAX staff, we wish all of you a very joyous and happy holiday season.

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