Home-Based Agent Sector Growing

Data from the second annual independent survey of Canadian travel agents shows that an estimated 35% of agents in Canada are now independent, home-based contractors.

This year’s survey was conducted during January by a private consulting firm with more than 500 home-based agents representing many different host agencies responding.

The Travel Agent Next Door gained access to the results and intends to use the data to frame how it best serves agents in the future.

“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 as a home-based agent, which suggests that a) home-based agents have been around for longer than is commonly thought and b) people are now joining the industry as hosted agents from the get go.

The survey also reveals that 87.3% of agents who responded are over 40, and 28.5% are over 60, and worked for many years in a bricks and mortar agency, which confirms that many home-based agents are highly experienced and are converting to home-based later in their careers.

The survey shows that the top key services home-based agents look for in a host agency are a customized web site, the ability to work with management, the level of support and the ability to network with other agents.

Just over 45% of hosted agents said they are “very to extremely happy” with their host agency, however 12% said they were “unhappy to very unhappy.”

The survey also 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% of agents believe 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, plus the ability to “be my own boss.”