New Survey Suggests 35% Of CDN Agents Now Home-Based

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

Flemming Friiisdahl

A 2nd-annual survey of Canadian hosted agents suggests that over 35% of travel agents in Canada are now independent, home-based operators.

The survey of over 500 home based agents representing many different host agencies was commissioned by The Travel Agent Next Door and conducted in JAN by Rob Glennie Consulting. This year’s survey included a response size three times higher than the inaugural survey n 2017. responding year’s survey was conducted during the month of January by a private consulting firm.

 “Understanding home-based agents’ priorities and their concerns are key to supporting them in the best way possible,” said Flemming Friisdahl, Founder, The Travel Agent Next Door. “This year’s results are consistent with some of the findings from last year but they also provide invaluable new insight.”

 The survey reveals that 52% of the home-based agents who responded have only ever worked in that situation, which suggests a couple of things: home based agents have been around for longer than is commonly thought and people are now joining the industry as hosted agents from day one.

 The survey also reveals the retail industry’s age conundrum: 87.3% of agents who responded are over 40, and 28.5% over 60. While suggesting that many home-based agents are highly experienced and converting to home based later in their careers, the statistics also underscore the need for new blood.

According to survey results, the key services home-based agents look for in a host agency are a customized website, the ability to work with management, a high level of support and the ability to network with other agents.

Just over 45% of hosted agents report being ‘very to extremely ‘happy with their host agency, however 12 % said they were ‘unhappy to very unhappy.’ 

Overall, however, survey respondents are happy to be at home. The survey revealed that 91.9% of agents who switched from a bricks and mortar or a store front to home-based said they were happier and 89.8% say they have a better work life balance, a 5% increase from last year.

The agents also reported a better quality of life, with top impacts including more time to travel and more time with family, the ability to work from anywhere, and the ability to be their boss.

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.




Comments

Gary - February 10, 2018 @ 15:02
There are a large number of agents who work out of a agency and at home who are independent. I go to the office almost every day however I do a lot of work from home as well. There are also many Home Agents that are in name only. A few bookings a year but will show up at every travel show and think of themselves as real agents. For some this is the best of both worlds.

Jodi CTC - February 9, 2018 @ 13:02
The number of hours and Independent Contractor, or Home Based Agent, spends working will vary depending on the lifestyle they want and work commitments they have. They can work part time hours, which are defined as less than 20 hours per week, and they can schedule those hours between 5am and 9am or 10pm and 3am as the time they give their business depends on the client's they are servicing and not the schedule of the retail business of a brick and mortar Agency.
These "full time" Home Based Agent are often working between 30, 40 or 50++ hours a week as they are typically "on call" for their clients, unlike the tradition brick and mortar Agents who simply "unplug and walk away" at the end of a scheduled shift. A home based Agent will often provide personal cell phone numbers, Facebook messenger contact details, what's app messenger, or BBM information so that clients can constantly reach them when they are travelling and don't have access to email or phone. Clearly it is a level of personalized service which far exceeds a store front Agency and which is why so many people are turning to Home Based Independent Contractors that they trust to build relationships with rather than simply having a transaction for a service with someone they don't know.
Working in a brick and mortar Travel Agency or a travel call center would certainly involve far fewer hours but the traditional schedule simply doesn't work for the majority of people who require the kind of flexibility a Home Based Agent has. Which is why there is unprecedented growth in that segment of the industry.

Mathilde - February 8, 2018 @ 12:02
I won't disagree with the number of Home Agents per this Consulting firm; however you have not provided the hours these home agents actually spend in their home office. In particular the agents who have never worked in a brick and mortar Travel Agency. I would also be interested in knowing the number of these home agents who truthfully consider their career as a "full time" Travel Consultant.

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