Author Archives: Mary Stein

There are 9 articles by Mary Stein published on this site.


Mary Stein joined Host Agency Reviews in 2016 as its editor. She's passionate about supporting aspiring travel agents to turn their dreams into their livelihood.
A writer by trade, she can be found working on her novel and teaching creative writing workshops when she's not tooling around on Host Agency Reviews writing articles and newsletters.
She has received awards for her writing from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation and the Loft Literary Center. She lives in Minneapolis, and loves hiking, camping, and traveling (of course!).


I have enjoyed the articles that I have been reading on your website, very informative. I’ve been doing a lot of research on being a travel agent and if it is the right career change for me. There is a lot to learn! One of the questions I have would be: Would it be more beneficial to try and get a job at AAA as a Travel Agent first and learn the ropes or to sign up with a Host Agency? There is a AAA position open in my area and the more I was reading it, it sounded like a lot of sales (possibly more geared towards selling memberships). I’ve had 1 experience doing sales back in the 90s selling Tupperware and I wasn’t good at all. So sales in general aren’t my thing. So would that hinder me as a Travel Agent? I’m not a high pressure, cold calling, sales kinda person. Read the rest of this entry »

Hi Mary,

I’m working my way through the 7-Day Set Up and had a question about the piece on a Tale of Two Agents. I tried to comment directly on the page, but couldn’t get it to post. (I’ll have to check on that issue – probably a cookie setting).

I’m a little confused (and concerned) about the comment made in the piece on Wendy’s World Travel: “Even if you worked in a storefront, those are the agency’s clients and they don’t go with you.”

From everything that I’ve read (admittedly, somewhat limited), clients don’t actually belong to anyone. While booking with an agency under their IATA, the client’s booking belongs to the agency. However, if an agent leaves and former clients decide to follow them, new bookings belong to the agent under their new host/business and its IATA. Read the rest of this entry »

What are the most important things your website should showcase, do you have any organizational tips and what are the top 3 things that make a travel agent stand out among the crowd?



Midwest Brett

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Hi Mary,

An additional question for you:

Do travel agents definitely always get the best price? Is there some kind of price guarantee made by the suppliers to travel agents? Can travel agents confidently tell their clients “this is the best price you will find anywhere?”

Thanks for the help.

Adam Vartivarian

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For this week’s Independent Consultant, Mary offers insight to a reader inquiring about building their own travel site.

Hello, my name is Devon and I would just like to start by saying that I love your website. It has the most comprehensive articles to answer almost all of my questions regarding the travel industry! I have spent hours reading your various articles and already feel like I am way more knowledgeable about the travel industry than I ever would have been by simply scouring Google.

I am an avid traveler myself and have traveled all over the world but only recently considered it as an actual potential career. Most of my knowledge of the travel industry has mostly just come from the perspective of a traveler and I quickly realized how little I actually know about the industry as a whole.

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Hi, Mary.

I am interested and have been considering this career for the past few years.

Wondering if you have a recommendation of a host agency that would better cater to the Family Adventure Travel niche? This is where my passion is, and I would really like to find a company that can foster and mentor me in this startup.



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Hi Mary,

Are you able to send me some recommendations for host agencies? I watched the video but still feel like I need some guidance. My company is based off of outdoor adventures such as hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting, skiing, camping, etc. if you get a moment please check out my site at

Thank you for your help!
-Casey Tynan

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I am having some trouble narrowing down my niche.

I wanted to start a travel business because my family and friends are always asking me to help them find affordable airfare and accommodations for various locations.

I think I want to do budget/bargain travel because so many people think that travel has to be expensive. Have you seen anyone specialize in shoulder season travel?

Also, I am big into yoga, wellness, and I’m a mom! Definitely want to add that into something. Can I have a few niches?

Thank you for your time!

Natalia Carden,

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Honing Your Niche

Hi Mary,

Hope you are doing well. We are in south Florida and I’m just getting back to work. I’ve had a lot of time to think and solidify my niche. I would love to know if you have any hosting agencies you would recommend that would/could assist in promoting travel to foodies.

I’m really excited to book travel to areas that offer amazing seaside cafes with must-see views. Thoughts?

I look forward to hearing from you…

Warm Regards,


Culinary Latitudes, LLC


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