- How long have you been in business?
Our top rated in the US cooperative, Signature Travel Network is the oldest vacation consortium in the US started in 1956, with over 40 years in business and $4 billion in sales. Our company is a part owner of Signature Travel Network (together with 180 other agencies) and the travel side was founded in 1988.
We do not any multi-level programs or discount clubs like some of the new companies jumping into this business.
We have a 100% complaint free BETTER BUSINESS record. We are listed under our parent company PowerBusiness Associates Inc. and most of our IATA contracts are under the name Travelmaker or FunCompanies. Our G.M. sat on the 5 member government created Consumer Travel Restitution board overseeing consumer travel issues.
- How much does it cost to join AuthorizedAgents?
Your cost to join Authorized Agents is much lower than with other hosts who do not offer the many marketing and support services that we do. The latest program pricing is available here.
- Can I obtain CLIA and IATAN cards?
Yes. As an experienced agent you will receive a CLIA card after you complete at least one cruise booking. You are eligible for the IATAN card once you have generated a minimum of $5000.00 in commissions. If you have never been on an IATAN list, there is a 6 month waiting period in addition to the commission requirements. Since we are a legitimate travel host company and not a card mill we do not provide look-alike cards and strongly follow IATAN regulations.
How am I paid commissions?
We mail your commission check and statement on the 15th of each month. You will receive a report of client names, invoice numbers, confirmation numbers, ticket numbers, supplier, gross commission, and your commission earned. Your check includes all commission received by the last business day of the previous month. You will also be able to go on the extranet and see your activity, clients and checks issued.
- Do I need Errors & Omissions Insurance?
We provide, at no cost to you if you are an individual, a $4 million in Errors and Omissions insurance. The insurance company requires that you obey state disclosure laws and disclose that you are an independent agent for our company in your marketing. Also the booking has to be under our IATA to be covered.
- What booking engines do you provide for me?
You will have access to all major industry booking tools, including our own cruise line booking engine with thousands of block space cabins and special amenities that no one else has.
We have a hotel/resort booking engine for 4 and 5 star hotels with specialy negotiatied rates or amenities just for us.
You will also have access to booking engines from Apple Vacations, Pleasant Holidays, Funjet Vacations, United Vacations, Delta Vacations, Sabre consolidator booking engine VAX and many more.
Can I book tickets for my corporate accounts?
We have Apollo, however we are a leisure host agency and really discourage just plain ticketing. Our successful independent agents do no ticketing of their own at all. They usually sell complete packages that include air, hotel, transfers etc. You want to make one phone call or visit one booking site to book the package.
Do you offer a direct mail marketing program?
Yes, our Signature Travel Network program has been acclaimed as the best in the industry. We have full color 56 page magazines, cruise magazines, postcard mailers and many more such marketing tools. And these are not "marketing sources" but a part of our own cooperative offering.
You will also have the capability to send via E-mail and print out personalized content quotes and proposals, together with pictures, cabin layouts, itineraries all live and real time and under your name.
- Delivery/Mail fees of travel documents
AuthorizedAgents pays for first class postage to you or to your clients. If you want to have the documents delivered via Fed-Ex, UPS or DHL or if it is a last minute client you will be billed for the cost.
- What support and training can I receive?
Joint client calls
If you have an incentive or leisure client where you need help in answers or convincing them to go with you we will gladly do a teleconference with you and your client or call the client for you to answer questions that you may not be able to. We do that for many of our independents who are successful in obtaining incentive and group business.
Stock forms and contracts
Once you join you will have access to a number of forms and blank contracts that you can use. You will be able to use disclaimer forms, custom UCC forms, group forms and turnkey contract phrases that you will be able to use when needed.
You will have, at no charge, a web based client tracking and commission tracking program. You will be able to go in and generate invoices, see if you got paid, check your client information and so much more.
You will have free access to generating personalized proposals which will be delivered under your name with colorful pictures and content and no technical knowledge by you is needed. For example, if you go to our extranet and see a cruise that your client might like you just click on "E-mail this to a client" button an a beautifully formatted HTML format E-mail will go out under your name and your phone number with your personalized message.
You can access full range of our AuthorizedAgents, Signature Travel and industry trainings. We do our own training and vendors create special training for our members. In addition, Signature Travel Network provides very customized training, both on-site, webex, telephone and extranet.
Call us Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. PST. We will also provide you with an after-hours phone number if you need help. We have experienced people from the industry, not just telephone operators as some others offering similar programs.
If you choose the Travel Pro+ web site option you will receive a very custom web site with over 55,000 pages of current, updated daily content under your own name (a true your own name web site, not just a generic frame).
- How are my sales reported to the IRS?
You will receive a 1099 at the end of the year. One copy will always go to the IRS if you earned more than $600 in commissions.
Check with your accountant, but as a general rule, self-employed agents may deduct ordinary business expenses such as membership, subscription fees, professional training, computers, office furniture, advertising, travel to meetings and training etc. However you need to be able to prove that you are in it for profit and not as a hobby. If all you do is take fam trips and not generate any income the IRS will disallow your deductions.
Will I receive travel benefits and discounts?
Yes. Producing agents will be eligible for industry benefits including special discounts from cruise lines, hotels, car rental companies and tour operators. Priority and approval will be given to agents who sell. If you are in this business solely to get your own travel discounts please apply with our competitor. Our members are real home based agents who generate incremental sales income.
Can I sell insurance to my clients?
Yes. AuthorizedAgents has two top insurance suppliers: Travelex and Travelguard. The commission rates vary from 15% to 36%.
- How will I receive specials and industry news?
You will receive weekly bulletins plus you will have access to our Extranet and to Signature Travel Network intranet at no cost to you. There major suppliers will post the latest news and offers.
How will I receive my supplier confirmations?
You will receive confirmations by E-mail from our central computer systems.
- If my customer is paying by check, what do I do?
Tell the suppler that AuthorizedAgents - Travelmakers will be sending an agency check. The supplier will only accept an agency check from the host, not personal checks. Forward your clients cashiers check or money order (personal checks will have to clear first before we pay the vendor) and make payable to Travelmakers.
- Is there a cost to documents being sent to me or other costs?
We pay for first class postage to you for a letter. Anything over an ounce is charged at post office cost. Shipment costs for last minute booking or documents delivered via Fed-Ex or Express mail will be charged to your account.
The only other charges are any debit memos you incur, shortfalls you do not pay the supplier for or commission recalls that we have to pay in your name and $10 for unreported bookings where we receive documents and do not know to whom they belong.
Can I do my own air/car/hotel invoicing & ticketing?
If you subscribe to our Apollo/Galilleo GDS, you will have complete control of invoicing and ticketing. You can also book online air, car and hotel through our Extranet links.
- What GDS do you offer?
We currently offer Apollo for qualified agents but we strongly discourage it. You can now do everything on the internet that you were used to do on a GDS.
- Do I have to run all sales through you?
No. You are an independent agent and you can run your sales through whatever source gives you the best support and commission. In most cases it will be AuthorizedAgents - Travelmakers.
We want you to be successful and will understand your need at times to go through multiple sources. The definition of an independent agent is that you work for yourself and make the best decisions so that you can make money. Its our job to help you make money and if it means helping you find an alternative way to purchase we will do it.
- What name do I use on business cards and advertising?
You should personalize all your marketing materials with your name and in much smaller type you mention Travelmakers as your host agency. Example: Mary Wells, Vacation Consultant and then in small type on the bottom "Independent agent for Travelmakers. Travelmakers is our "public" face for many of our ARC and IATA contracts. AuthorizedAgents is the host.
Can I hire travel agents to work for me?
We are not a multi-level company but a genuine travel host marketing and sales organization. If you have employees and independent agents who work for you we can assign a special sub-number and identify monthly reports for a small fee.
Do I need to be bonded as a travel agent?
Authorized Agents do not need to be bonded as long as they book under our agency number, disclose their agent relationship and obey all state laws.
If you are doing business under a DBA (doing business as...a fictitious name) you need to check the laws of the state you are in.
Some states have a "Sellers of Travel Law". Do I need to register?
We cover you in most states, such as California, Washington, Florida as long as you obey all state laws and disclose the relationship.
Each state has different requirements. Some, like California, do not require that you register if you are using your personal name as an independent agent and you identify yourself in all advertising as an independent agent of AuthorizedAgents or Travelmaker and display the registration number. Once you join you will be able to access all Seller of Travel laws on our extranet.
- What if I am in a competitive situation and need to discount some of the commission to get the business from an internet competitor?
On larger sales where you need to beat the competition we will work with you to try to get the business. Just alert us that you are in a competitive situation and we will help you waive the requirement that full payment has to be made to the supplier, if the supplier allows it.
In normal case where you would like to buy a gift or provide any kind of incentive you will do it out of your percentage when AuthorizedAgents pays you. In all cases we will collect our full percentage of the commission.