Mobile Travel Agents founders Karen and Roy Merricks pioneered the mobile (work from home) model in Australia some 16 years ago and sought out a solution to allow more (primarily) women the flexibility to be able to work in the industry they loved while also being able to balance family life.
With the advent of the internet they developed systems and processes that enabled consultants to work for themselves and provided them with the opportunity to work when they wanted, where they wanted and to have the potential to earn what they wanted with an uncapped remuneration scheme.
Unlike the traditional “bricks and mortar” agency, consultants gained the freedom of working when and where they chose (primarily from home) and they in fact could be seen as business owners themselves. Overheads were substantially lower as office rental was not required.
In the past the model was frowned upon as being for “part timers” and not for the professional travel expert.
Today there can be no doubt that the mobile model has come of age, it is accepted (perhaps reluctantly in some quarters) and in fact is now embraced by many of its former critics within the industry. Ironically many of the previous detractors have “got on board’ and are running some sort of like model themselves.
Today MTA continues to be a leading provider of travel experiences as well as a supplier recognised, multi award winner for sales and expertise. It provides systems and an environment to allow business minded consultants to grow and service their customer base. No sales targets are set, consultants determine their own income driven by their efforts. MTA supports their efforts by the provision of in house developed, state of the art agency support mechanisms and by forging strong relationships with its partners.
Attracting new members to the mobile model is a lot easier today as there is greater acceptance of the model than in the past. Consistently, MTA’s policy has been not to directly approach a consultant at either another like mobile model or a traditional travel agency. This is not true of most of MTAs competitors as evidenced through the number of approaches made to MTA members on a regular basis.
Everyone who has joined MTA has enquired of their own volition and yes often through being recommended to enquire after speaking with our existing Members, which is testament to the MTA model itself.
Further, not all consultants who enquire are selected. Indeed consistently of all the enquiries that MTA receives less than 10% are accepted as new members.
While growth may be desirable it will only occur with the right kind of people and those that demonstrate a fit for the MTA cultural, as the relationship is very much one of partnership. MTA can proudly boast the highest calibre of members who consistently focus on quality delivery of experiences for their customers.
For those experienced consultants looking who are looking for a change that will provide them with the freedoms to be able to manage their own clients without the distractions of people just wanting quotes then the mobile model is something to consider. If you are ready to make the change and are comparing the models the following things should be considered.
Points For Consideration
- Will you be able to work and continue to receive support without the need to achieve imposed sales or hours of work targets
- Is the culture of the organisation supportive and understanding of “life stage support”
- Have you the range of Suppliers to cater for your customer’s needs
- Are you provided with insurance or do you have to arrange and pay for it yourself
- Is after hours support provided
- Are you provided with 7×24 IT support
- Are your bookings and customers looked after when you are on leave or on a famil
- Are you provided with a web page or a fully integrated website
- Can you use any GDS that you like
- Are you able to work when and where you choose
- Do you receive tickets at no charge
- Have you checked the Supplier commissions you are going to receive to make sure that they are competitive.
Look at how much you are getting to put in your pocket after all the fees and charges have been deducted from your earned commission (the top line is never the measure). For example do you have to pay ticketing or marketing support fees.
Even with all of the financial and support side of the business proposition considered, it is advisable to also look at the culture of the business and whether you see yourself fitting into that culture. In this model you need to know that you will be supported ongoing with a profitable and viable company.
MTA – Mobile Travel Agents ticks all of the boxes and answers yes to the points above. In addition it nurtures the concept of “life stage support” because we know that it is something that everybody goes through.
The Mobile model however will not suit all consultants with the two main considerations being
- It is a commission only model therefore no commissions, no earnings
- You need to have or be able to develop your own client base
In reality those consultants who do make the move to the mobile environment are able to potentially earn more than they did previously with rewards for their efforts being recognised by uncapped remuneration and a work/lifestyle balance.
Additionally the mobile model is very much a referral type business and if you provide great service and are able to demonstrate your expertise then building your own client base is not so much of a problem.