Welcome to TravelAgentSupport.com (TAS) – a website that helps travel agents and industry professionals quickly and easily find
information and resources about travel agent rates, industry discounts, familiarization (FAM) trips, learning opportunities, agent deals as well as best practices, marketing tips and insights, supplier resources or a myriad of other tools, advice and suggestions for starting, building, maintaining and improving independent travel agency businesses.
In short, my name is Steven Talbott and I am a full time travel consultant and agency owner trying to make a living selling travel.
I launched my agency in 2012 as a result of being laid off by Dell Computers after over 10, long years of service. I held several different positions at Dell, ranging from sales in the small to medium business segments, project and program management, reporting analysis, business intelligence development and Salesforce CRM reporting.
Prior to joining Dell back in 2001, I worked for the world’s largest travel agency where I started as a domestic agent selling airline tickets, car rentals and hotel reservations and worked my way up, adding tours, cruises and complex international travel to my skillset. I was also responsible for helping the agency migrate over 50,000 agents from Sabre to the Apollo GDS after the company purchased Galileo International.
Starting my own agency hasn’t been easy. Even after enlisting the help of more than one host agency, including Outside Agents and Travel Planners International, joining several different affiliations and associations such as the Outside Sales Support Network (OSSN) and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), I still found many things rather difficult, especially considering one some might call a “tight budget”.
I find that information, tools, support and marketing collateral specifically targeted to small business owners or home based agents is scattered all over the web and difficult to find.
Throughout the past year, I’ve collected hundreds of folders, links, urls, documents, tools and resources that I use on a daily,
weekly or monthly basis. In the long run, I hope to catalog and organize these for anyone out there who finds them useful.
One of the best things a new agent or an agent looking to find a niche or specialty can do it is experience destinations, services and properties first hand. To do that, agents can take advantage of travel agent deals, travel industry discounts, FAM rates, familiarization trips and other perks offered to travel consultants and industry professionals.
After spending countless hours and dollars on subscriptions to various websites, I decided my first goal of TravelAgentSupport.com would be to start a database of travel agent rates, deals and offers and allow agents 100% free access.
After all, individual business owners and home based agents just can’t afford to be “nickeled” and “dimed” to death and one of the last things we should have to worry about paying for is access to free supplier information that ultimately benefits the suppliers and the services and products they offer.
So, the first phase, of many, will be to share travel agent discounts, familiarization trips, travel industry rates, agent freebies and deals by starting this online database. I hope to write articles and first hand experiences of my journey along the way. I hope to help others trying to do the same. Please feel free to comment, rate, contribute and make suggestions as well. Cheers to us travel entrepreneurs and to our future success, together!
More about this “virtual breakroom for travel agents”, if you don’t mind…
We hope to provide a myriad of resources, information, tools, tips, advice and best practices to you, the travel agent, including travel agent rates, travel industry discounts, the latest on FAM trip offers as well as incentives, best practices, ideas, and posts related to my personal journey starting a travel agency. Please share the website with your colleagues and feel free to submit your own findings, reviews, comments and suggestions as well!
Over the next several months, you’ll notice constant updates and additions being made.
Our first phase of Travel Agent Support is to load in all the travel agent rates, agency deals, discounts, fam trips, travel agent rates and offers.
Why are we focusing on fam stuff first?
Well, the whole reason we decided to launch travel agent support was specifically because the lack of this information to travel agents, for free, was an obvious missing resource that needed to be provided. To be clear, there are still websites and companies out there offering access to the information but it comes at a cost.
Why are you providing this information free of charge, to travel agents?
Travel agents have been forced, for years, to pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee just to find out which suppliers were offering what deals. We think this is the last thing on earth we should be “nickeled and dimed” to death for so we set out to shake things up a bit!
C’mon, we all know the suppliers want us to take advantage of the familiarization trips, educational opportunities and special discounts so that we can experience their products and services first hand. Why would they want to do that? So we can sell more of that product to our clients which results in revenue generation for the supplier, that’s why!
Don’t get me wrong, consolidating all the data is not easy and we’re not saying the job should be done for free. After all, there is a lot to keep up with! To help with the costs associated with hosting the website, maintenance and consolidating/updating the data, TAS will likely participate in Google Adsense as well as offer upgraded listing opportunities for suppliers and service providers which we’ll roll out sometime down the road.
Why was the site taken down after its initial launch last year?
Interesting story… although we don’t know these companies personally, or their owners, the entire business of selling fam information as a subscription based service is absurd and there’s no doubt they’re taking lots of our hard earned money.
In fact, originally, we simply took the factual information about the rates and discounts from one of the fam websites we had a subscription to and republished it on this website – having no idea it was considered copyright infringement. Not even two days later, we received a seize and desist letter from one of their attorneys! Despite all the research we did regarding copyright protection on factual information and databases, one thing we hadn’t done was get a lawyer involved so decided the best thing to do was to take the site down.
So, have a look around, let me know what you think and I look forward to connecting with each of you during our journey’s to success!
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