Written By: Nikki Vetsch
Hey Agents! As you may have noticed, we have been implementing some awesome changes into our Host Agency. With Travel Leaders taking on the great new mergers, we have had the opportunity to educate you on new opportunities, programs, and resources to take advantage of. It is so important to get your name out there, which is where marketing comes into play. Marketing is one of my favorite topics to talk about.
I wanted to focus this blog on something that I am extremely excited about - that I think you as agents will love - which is the free marketing program, Engagement! That’s right….I said free! Are you excited yet?
What exactly is Engagement, you may ask? Engagement is Travel Leaders’ award-winning email and direct mail program. You as a Travel Quest agent will have access to a variety of the suppliers’ marketing funds, which will then drive more business to your agency. Not sold yet? Let me tell you more about what you will all have access to!
One of my favorite features of Engagement is the fact that it is permission-based. You get to decide which offers and promotions you want to send to your current or potential clients. This is extremely important because each client is unique and will benefit from each piece differently. Engagement allows you to choose if you want direct mailers, which are great for those less tech-savvy clients. Prefer to not send mailers? Don’t worry... Engagement also caters to those clients who prefer to communicate via email as well.
Travel Leaders has partnered with over 50 vendors to offer these great promotions. When it comes to the direct mailers, there are over 80 promotions pushed out throughout the year. Email promotions push out over 200 deals. For those times that you really need to WOW your clients, you have the option to order the stunning magazine publications offered by Travel Leaders.
Now, I hope this gets you excited! With each of these pieces, you will be able to personalize your call-to-action. This is where you get to brand the promotions to your agency. This will guarantee that these clients will not forgot about you each time they want to make a booking. Engagement also has their own advanced segmentation system that lets you know which clients are going to respond based on these mailers. This is why I love technology so much!
In closing, I wanted to let you know that Engagement is so robust that it also integrates with two other great products that we will be touching base on within the next month, Agent Profiler and the new CRM tool, AgentMate. What are you waiting for? Sign up for Engagement today!
Written by Bridget Lee
Oh man, where do I even start? This year was our 3rd annual Travel Quest National Meeting. It is such a labor of love for all of us at Travel Quest so getting to see it come together is extremely rewarding! The whole event was full of good vibes as agents, vendors and staff were all mingling and making those truly meaningful connections; the ones you keep even after the event is over.
Make sure you check out our official Travel Quest National Meeting Photo Album and our super fun Live Social Wall from TQNM16.
Pre-Event First Timers
This was the first year we decided to start off the event with a pre-event. How’d it go, you ask? Let’s just say we will certainly be having another pre-event next year! It started with cocktails and delicious food at the Hard Rock Cafe in the Mall of America. Then we got to try out the spectacular FlyOver America ride. Don't let the word 'ride' fool you. I am not a ride person and get motion sickness but FlyOver America didn't phase me. If you’re ever in MN, you have to try it out!
We ended the pre-event with Dick’s Last Resort’s MOA Scavenger Hunt. You and your team get an ipad and have to run (or leisurely walk) around the mall answering questions and taking photos. I may have been born and raised in MN but I was no help on this game! Even though my team didn't win, we still had a great time!
The Big Day!
We started bright and early on Saturday, September 10th with a running entrance from Travel Quest's owner, Bonnie Lee. How she has so much energy, no one knows. Then began the real work with 15 classes throughout the day. Thanks to feedback from last year's TQNM, we added a variety of classes to cover everything from new agents to experienced selling and business help with finance, technology, insurance and more!
We scheduled our trade show after lunch to get everyone moving and mingling to avoid that afternoon slump. It proved to be a success and the feeling was electric with agents flowing through over 50+ vendor tables! We aim to draw in a wide variety of suppliers and tourism boards so agents are introduced to new areas of travel. Before heading back to classes, agents enjoyed a healthy snack bar with delicious yogurt fruit smoothies and tomato juice shooters for that extra energy boost! I really enjoyed that part :)
The day ended with our Delta Airlines sponsored closing dinner at the beautiful Lela Restaurant. We had food and drink stations from around the world and Delta Airline ticket giveaways to match! The food was delicious and the decor beautiful. All said and done, there was over $35,000 in prizes given away throughout the event - not too shabby!
The bulk of the event was wrapped up on Saturday but agents were able to stay an extra day for more vendor specific training. Sunday's schedule had 15 vendor classes for agents to attend to catch up with the latest news and/or broaden their horizon with new suppliers. We ended it all with a trade show so agents could hit up any they missed the day before or follow up with questions they may have come up with after the classes.
I slept for over 12 glorious hours Sunday night and was a bit like a zombie on Monday but I wouldn't change it for the world! TQNM is my absolute favorite time of the year and it was such a pleasure getting to meet so many of the agents that I've emailed or spoken on the phone with.
TQNM isn't only great to attend because it is one of the best trainings, it is truly priceless for the networking aspect. Agents connect with each other and you really get the sense of camaraderie which is often missing with many home-based agent. Travel Quest doesn't just aim for personalized support, we want to foster that sense of community with our agents as well; TQNM is just one example of how we do that.
TQ National Meeting 2017 is already in the works for September 9th and 10th in Minneapolis, MN! Sign up for our email list to be kept in the loop as more details emerge!
Written by Angie Habiger
So, you’re thinking of joining Travel Quest? That’s great to hear! My name is Angie and I’m typically the main point of contact at Travel Quest for agents new to TQ. I thought it would be helpful to do a little write up on the typical process of signing up with TQ.
Researching and Interviews
Starting way at the beginning, the best piece of advice I can give you is to research and compare host agencies. That way when you make your decision, you know it is the right one for you! If you haven’t already, I’d highly recommend reading the Tips on How to Find the Best Host Agency post from HostAgencyReviews.com. It is full of really great advice and even has a nice Excel spreadsheet of questions to ask a host agency.
We think interviewing host agencies is so important that we actually have an ‘interview’ stage with agents looking to join TQ. It isn’t nearly as daunting as it sounds - we just want to make sure that all of your questions are answered on us and, if you’re a newbie, the travel industry in general!
Registering Your Business & Getting an EIN #
Registering a business name in the state you reside in is a good place to start setting everything up for your business. It is also something Travel Quest requires in order to sign up with us! We often get asked is it best to register as a Sole Proprietorship, DBA, or LLC. Any one of them works for us. To make sure you are doing what’s best for your business, we suggest consulting with a tax professional or accountant. Each state has different costs and processes set in place so be sure to check with your State Agencies for what you need to do! The Small Business Administration has a great list of filing requirements for each state.
After you register your business, you’ll also need to get an EIN (Employee Identification Number) through the IRS. This is super easy to do online at IRS.gov.
Travel Quest’s Sign Up Process
Alright, you’ve been researching and interviewing host agencies and have made your final decision. I know that once you make that decision you want to get started right away so our sign up process is streamlined to get you set up in a jiffy.
We send all of our documents via an online signature program to make things super-fast and easy to track. Once you let us know you want to sign up there are just 3 stages:
The length of time it takes from start to finish depends mostly on how fast we get the documents back. Typically you receive your log in sheet 3-5 business days after you fill out the TQ Sign Up form! If you have any questions along the way, everyone at Travel Quest is there to help! Now that you know the sign up process, I hope we get to chat soon!
Written by Bridget Lee
I don't know about you, but I love data. Make it pretty and easy to read and you've got me hooked! With that in mind, I've been wanting to create an infographic about Travel Quest for quite awhile now. As the new year began I thought, what better time than now to showcase all we've done and accomplished in 2015?! Thus, the 2015 Year in Review infographic was born!
I didn't want to overwhelm you all with a huge infographic so I broke it into pieces. This week, I'm unveiling the TQ Highlights and Stats section. It was really fun to put these together and see the data that we at Travel Quest didn't even know. Like that fact that we paid $4,359,655.59 in commissions in 2015 - that's crazy! But enough chatting...I hope you enjoy visually appealing data as much as I do - this will definitely be an annual thing!
Written by Bonnie Lee
In our last post, we covered the importance of networking, how to find events and tips and tricks to make the most of them. So I want to get more specific and go over all of the great networking opportunities that are available to agents within the Travel Quest Network!
In Person Events
What I love most about this event is the amazing participation we see from Travel Quest agents. We generally have a great showing of agents; we reserve a table at meals and meet up for general sessions.We also host a special dinner with just our TQ agents which is my favorite part. It gives me(and our agents) even more time to get to know each other - I love just chatting with our agents!!
As you can see, there is no shortage of networking events in the TQ community! We love getting facetime with our agents and so it is truly something we foster. That being said, if you’re ever in the Minnesota, drop by and say hi!
Written by Nicole Marson
Networking is a crucial element in the world of small business owners. That’s why I wanted to go over the importance and benefits of networking.Then I’ll go over some networking opportunities, essentials and best practices to get you going!
Benefits of Networking
Networking with fellow agents, vendors and other business owners can really help you grow your business and expand your reach. Whether it’s client referrals, partnerships, speaking or writing opportunities; networking can help connect you with people who can help you grow your business. Looking for more specifics on how networking can benefit you? Here you go!
Attending networking events on a regular basis is important. Not sure where to look for local networking events? Here are a few ideas to get you started!
The thought of attending your first few networking events may seem daunting but don’t worry - you’re not alone! Many people struggle the first few times out of the gate when walking into a room full of strangers and having to introduce yourself. We’ve put together a list of best practices to help you out!
Making conversation and knowing what to ask people can be just as terrifying as walking through that door. I’ve found that having a few questions prepared eases my anxiety and makes my interactions a lot more engaging and meaningful. The people you chat with will appreciate you taking the time to ask quality questions instead of the usual “Where are you from? What do you do?”. Here are some example questions to help you get started!