Welcome to the Agency
We're super excited to have our newest independent contractor, you. There's a lot to discuss, but here's a quick primer for getting you up to speed.
If you need to establish a business, there's some resources on the Business Development section of Jess University (our blog). You'll speak with Joe if you need more hand holding here. You can operate as a formal business or as a sole proprietor, establish payroll or just cut yourself checks as needed. You'll decide how you'd like to take payment, via accounting software like Quickbooks, payment systems like Square or PayPal, or use TravelJoy's billing system. Do you want business insurance?
Next, you'll need to get established on our Customer Relationship Management software (CRM), TravelJoy. TravelJoy is how you'll log all your bookings and get paid. If Joe hasn't already, you'll be sent a link to create your account. It costs $10/month, and is the only mandatory expense you'll have at the agency. Jess is an expert at it, but the people at TravelJoy are super helpful and there's lots of videos on the left menu bar. It's fun to set up, as you can load in all your logos. Give yourself several hours to watch all the videos and be super fluent. Logging your client invoices and commissions properly is the key to getting paid on time.
Then, you should learn all that there is to know about the portals. The portals are where you actually do the booking. They're just the agent side of sites you're familiar with like Expedia or Booking.com. There are so many agent portals, but honestly you'll use your favorites all the time, and only go off the reservation when someone wants something specific, like for example Disney or the Canadian Rocky Mountaineer train. There are portals that are great for tours and all inclusive resorts.
You'll need to get logged in on any portal you want to use. On most, you will create your own log-in using our CLIA credentials or your email. Some, you will need Joe to create you a login or send you an invite.
Joe will send you the link to the portals and the agency credentials in an email. That sheet will tell you if you need to self register for the portal or contact Joe to get them to let you in.
Once you think you're ready, it's time to create your website and social media profiles. Joe recommends Wix, where you can modify very nice templates or even hire someone to make it for you. There are other options like Squarespace or GoDaddy. For social media, most choose a facebook page and instagram. However, you can go the extra mile and build a Pinterest and more. There is a lot to cover with marketing, so we'll discuss it more on your second call with the agency.
Thanks for trusting us
We will be there to answer your questions along the way. There is no set way to do this business. You are free to plan any way you like. We will teach you best practices from lessons we've learned, but will probably learn from you too.
Good luck, and remember to stick with it. Success won't come immediately - it is established over a long time period, with repeat customers coming back time and time again. Have fun, and at the very least, you'll never pay full price to go on vacation ever again.