Brick and Mortar Heads Home | Travel Research Online


Brick and Mortar Heads Home

Dear Steph,

I’ve worked at a brick and mortar agency and am now branching off on my own and going home based.  How do I get my phone to ring?


Hey Paula,

Yup. One of the biggest shocks for front line agents when they start their own agency is that suddenly, the phone doesn’t ring on its own!

So, how do you get that darn thing to ring?

First off, know that your previous agency spent a lot of time and money to build their client list. Prepare yourself that it’s going to take a while to build up your list. Ahem, what I’m saying is it won’t happen overnight… or even after a few months.

Secondly, ask yourself what type of investment you’re willing to put into your agency marketing. Are you going grass roots and spending as little as possible? Or are you fine with investing and spending more moola your first few years? Yup, I said first few years.

No matter what you decide to spend, make sure to set up a marketing budget ahead of time. The saying “You’ve got to spend money to make money” may be true, but it doesn’t mean business owners are automatically comfortable spending more than what’s coming in. If you know your budget ahead of time and mentally prepared to spend that much each month, you’ll be more at ease with things.

Now, some ideas! Here are some quick marketing ideas to get the wheels turning:

  • Announce to friends/family you have a new agency via email/letter/Facebook
  • Dig up some great photos of past trips and post them periodically on your FB wall to remind people of your expertise
  • Work with a local pizza shop to put flyers on the take out boxes
  • Send out a press release
  • Be active in your community, network
  • Start an email newsletter with tips, tricks, news, deals, etc. to your client list, however small it may be
  • Buy radio spots with your local station
  • Take out a year ad with your local paper

Once you’ve decided how much you want to spend and what you want to spend it on, be consistent and give it time. Marketing results aren’t instantaneous so keep plugging away and tweaking your marketing efforts as needed.

Best of luck and congrats on your new venture, Paula!

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+.

  2 thoughts on “Brick and Mortar Heads Home

  1. I went home based and started my own company 6 years ago. It was definitely a change that I needed to get used to right away. I had been a front line agent for almost 8 years. I have to say that it was one of the best decisions I have made. It was important to have established myself before making this leap and definitely let my client base know this. You have to let people know, friends, family and current clients, so they know, but they are also your advocates to help to build on the existing clientele. I also have done quite well in using Tripology to almost triple my client base. Be open to ideas and have a willingness to change if something is not working. Working on your business requires a different approach to how you do business, but it should also allow you to grow your business as you are in charge and responsible for every aspect. Discuss with your colleagues who have made the leap and see what they have done. Jamie Bachrach – Owner Wandering Puffin LLC

  2. Steph Lee says:

    Great advice, Jamie! Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂

    – Steph

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