Will agents work from home commission-only?
The heads of companies that employ their agents working from home say that it is only a matter of time before all travel agencies follow their lead and start paying staff commission only, as opposed to a salary.
One UK-based company with “homeworking agents”, Travel Counsellors, pays its agents 60% of the commission they generate, with the rest kept to cover everything from back-room to marketing costs.
Malcolm Hingley, the firm’s sales director, believes the practice could soon take off in the high street, adding: “It would only take one [travel agency] to do it and everyone would follow.” [Commission-only payments are] more of an acceptable model now. Our staff know a lot more agents where it probably gets discussed more regularly than it did in the 1990s. There are agents actually doing it now.”
Peter Healey, group chief executive of the Vertical Group, which owns homeworking companies Holiday Experts and Holiday Elite agreed: “If you look at the market as a whole, homeworking is now a crucial part of the industry.”
However, other industry insiders disagree. “I don’t think that will work because the key challenge for the industry is to continue bringing quality people in – they won’t do it if the payment is commission only,” John McEwan, a former chief executive of Advantage, a group of independent specialist travel agents, said.
[pictured: Staybridge Suites; courtesy IHG]