Life is full of contradictions. Here's a new one that can put you in business: working as a homebased travel agent. Using the power of your PC, you can send clients all over the world without commuting more than 10 feet to the office.
Travel agents everywhere are riding the wave of technology, using fax machines, modems and computers to run full-service agencies from home offices. "There's certainly been a trend toward homebased agencies. The percentage of homebased agents and outside sales consultants is now fairly low, around 8 percent to 10 percent," says James Ashurst, manager of communications for the American Society of Travel Agents in Alexandria, Virginia. "But the number is increasing, and by 2000, it could be as high as 20 percent."
Fortunately, franchisors haven't missed the trend: InHouse Travel Group LLC is just one of a number of homebased travel franchisors. "There's definitely growth [in the homebased travel industry], and I see it continuing to grow," says Frank Samson, president of InHouse Travel Group in Lake Forest, Illinois. "I think franchising is going to play an integral part [in that growth] because people want to turn to a company providing the support, the marketing and the know-how to help them increase their chances of success."
Franchisors can offer a number of advantages to the start-up travel agent, including training, marketing assistance, consistent support, a trusted name and nationwide discounts with suppliers. Couple that with the freedom of running their business from the family room office, and these travel entrepreneurs are home free.