Questions to Ask Your Potential Host Travel Company

Feb 6, 2024 | Aspiring travel agents, Launch a travel business, Operations, Travel Business

Selecting a host travel company is a personal decision, but it's not one that you have to make alone. Read on to get support and guidance in choosing the right host for your travel business, plus the essential questions you need to ask each company to help you make an aligned decision.


By far, the most common questions we get from students and non-students alike is about host travel companies or agencies. And without a doubt, the top question is, “How do I pick the right host agency?”

We get it – there are so many to choose from! The amount of choices can easily feel overwhelming. Not to mention the conflicting information that you’re likely finding if you do a simple online search.

Because of this, everyone’s choice is unique to them and their goals. What makes sense for you might not make sense for another aspiring travel agent. Everyone is different so making the decision to host under an agency is personal – there is no right or wrong.

Our goal is to help give you all the information you need to make an aligned decision for you and your travel career aspirations.

Today, that means sharing with you our top questions to ask potentials hosts during their pre-screening. Their answers will hopefully give you a better feel for what it’s like to work under them and whether or not they’re in alignment with your personal goals.


Why Select a Host in the First Place?

First things first, you don’t have to work with a host travel agency to get your own travel business off the ground. In fact, if you want to have your own successful, portable, profitable travel business, you’ll certainly want to separate yourself from any host companies so you can maximize your profit and control.

Curious to learn more about starting as an independent agent? Check out this post!

But, if you’re just starting out and have never owned a business of your own, joining with a host travel company can eliminate a lot of roadblocks and make the entire start-up process a lot easier.

If you want to ‘learn the ropes’ of business, working under a host travel agency for a year or two is the perfect way to grow until you’re ready to branch out on your own. As long as you pick the right host company to support your short- and long-term goals, the hybrid model is a great option.


Pre-Screening Questions to Ask Potential Hosts

There are a lot of host options out there so we know it’s not easy making a selection. This is why we’ve compiled our favorite pre-screening questions to ask potential hosts. But know, this is just the tip of the iceberg. And, if you want even more support during selection, check out our Careers on Vacation Mastermind – we walk through this entire process with you!


Business-Related Host Screening Questions

  • What is your commission split for new agents?
  • Do you charge a monthly fee?
  • Do you have an IATAN, CLIA, and ARC affiliation?
  • Can I earn my IATAN card? What are the IATAN Card requirements?
  • Do I have autonomy to use my own company name and logo?
  • Do I have to use your system, or can I have my own for storing my client data?
  • Do you get any elevated commissions with vendors? Are those higher commissions passed on to the booking agent?
  • Is there a contract, or is the agreement month to month?


Support and Education-Related Host Screening Questions

  • Do you have a help desk?
  • Do you offer exclusive FAM (familiarization) trips and are new agents eligible to attend?


Community-Related Host Screening Questions

  • How many agents are you hosting?
  • Do you have training events or conventions?


A Note on Travel Agent MLMs

If you’ve decided that working under a host is the right option for you, please avoid multi-level marketing agencies/firms (MLMs).

MLMs are designed to funnel money up to the very top of their food chain by incentivizing only the recruitment of new members. We know how enticing their pitches sound but their model doesn’t benefit you if your goal is to actually sell travel.



At the end of the day, we hope you walk away remembering that not all hosts are created equal and it’s your job to do your due diligence.

And, if you’re still in the consideration phase, we highly recommend checking out our free masterclass. It's a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the diverse ways to enter the travel industry.

Until next time, happy travels!


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Questions to Ask Your Potential Host Travel Company

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