Criminals in Travel? | Travel Research Online


Criminals in Travel?

Dear Stephanie,

A host requested that we give them a background check. Is this normal? Why do they need that info?


Hey Ali,

Rest at ease when your head hits the pillow tonight; your host is being totally legit.

It’s normal for a host to run a background check on people entering their program. In fact, you’ll find hosts that run background checks and credit checks on applicants to their program.

I’ll assume, since you wrote in, you’re wanting to hear my open thoughts on the matter. Here it is. Be grateful you’re joining a host that runs background and/or credit checks. There are bad people out there that make a living out of fraudulent bookings. You don’t want your host to get hit with that. Ouch.

When your host is proactively screening their agents, it means they’re less likely to have an evil-doer join their network. Happy smiles!

That’s the simple reason why I give kudos, thumbs up, cookies, etc. to host agencies that incorporate background/credit checks into their sign-up process. They’re being smart.

If you’re thinking, “That’s really too bad for the host if they get hit with fraud, but it doesn’t really affect me”, think again. If your host has an agent that runs up $250,000 in fraudulent activity and they have no insurance to protect them… well, you can imagine how that affects you and your not-so-sure-if-you’ll-get-them-anymore commissions.

Despite how my last paragraph may have left you feeling, there is hope.

A smart host protects themselves by not only being proactive with phone screens, background checks, and credit checks; they also protect themselves with insurance against cyber fraud and/or independent contractor theft with an insurance policy.

I’m not an insurance expert so don’t quote me on the exact name of insurance policy, but there are affordable policies available and they should be carried by all hosts. Side note: Any hosts that are wondering about this magical insurance, drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch with someone. Now you, too, can sleep better at night.

Joining a smart host that takes these preventative measures means you’re protecting yourself and your future commissions. Congrats!

If you’ve got questions on host agencies, getting started in the travel industry, growing your home-based agency, etc. drop me a line:

Until next time,


PictureAfter a 6 year stretch as director of a national host agency, Stephanie Lee started Host Agency Reviews – a resource website with host reviews and articles to help travel agents start and grow their travel agencies. She was awarded the ASTA’s Young Professional of the Year and Travel Agent Magazine’s 30 under 30 award. As time marches on, the dates of the awards have been surreptitiously left out to avoid drawing attention to the fact she’s aging. She’s not.

You can connect with Steph on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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