July 21, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can join?

We accept agents with and without experience in the travel industry. As of July 2015 we only accept agents in the United States. We cannot take international agents due to licensing and insurance provisions. You must also possess a valid Social Security Number and/or Tax ID, as well as, a US based bank account.

What does it cost to become an independent agent for TripIndulge?

There is a one time application fee of $195.00 for experienced agents and $395.00 for agents new to the industry requiring certification training. Application fee must be paid by credit card. Monthly service charges vary by agent program but start at $59.95. Agents entering our certification program are also required to purchase three reference textbooks to supplement e-learning courses; these textbooks can be obtained new or used on Amazon [budget $150-$250].

What does the insurance cover and should I get my own?

TripIndulge carries Error and Omissions Insurance that also covers our independent agents. The policy is 1 million dollars with a $5,000 deductible.

What if I have my own insurance?

If you are selling travel products not offered through TripIndulge you would not be covered by our insurance for those sales and should maintain your insurance. It is unlikely that your existing policy would extend coverage for TripIndulge sales and therefore you will still need to be covered under our policy. We will gladly review your policy to determine your options.

Am I an employee of TripIndulge?

No, you are not an employee. You are an independent contractor. As an independent contractor you remain responsible for operating your travel practice and complying with state and federal regulations. If you are a new agent, part of your training will cover the specifics of setting up your own business and we always recommend that you consult an attorney in your jurisdiction to ensure you have met all compliance requirements. As a TripIndulge Independent Agent you will be using our travel agent association ID's (ARC and CLIA) to make bookings.

I live in Canada can I join?

We cannot accept agents outside of the United States.

I live outside the US and Canada can I join?

We cannot accept agents outside of the United States.

What if I have experience as a Travel Agent?

We absolutely want to have experienced agents on the TripIndulge team. We have designed programs to recognize and reward your experience with higher commission splits and other income opportunities to compensate you for helping us grow TripIndulge and provide exceptional service to our clients.

Can I sell Airline tickets?

Yes, although most airlines do not pay commission anymore. We have two contracts in place to allow you to book published air for domestic air travel and to book consolidator airfare for international travel. We also have several tour and vacation companies that offer bundled vacations including air. Current industry trends favor selling bundled vacations or cruises [including airfare] where the return for your time in planning and making reservations can be maximized.

What Commission split does TripIndulge provide?

We provide you the opportunity to earn while still in initial certification training since we believe there is no better learning method than practical application; we will pay a 50% split during your training. After certification and for experienced agents, you will always make a minimum of 70% of what the agency is paid in commissions. Experienced agents with proven track records can also elect to pay a higher monthly fee in exchange for an increase in commission split to up to 90% of commissions paid to TripIndulge.

What can I book?

We have three hotel programs with over 75,000 hotels worldwide, three rental car companies, domestic published air booking engines a consolidator booking engine for international air travel, over 20 cruise lines, numerous vacation and tour companies, Disney and Universal Studios and other attractions and access to thousand or other travel suppliers.

How will I book trips?

The TripIndulge Virtual Office contains numerous booking tools to help you find the right products to match your client's travel needs. Many suppliers participate in multiple reservation systems and may even operate their own system. There is no one way to make bookings but we have attempted to make the Virtual Office intuitive and easy to use. We are also a Client Base agency. Client Base is a powerful CRM system that allows you to build and manage an unlimited number of client profiles and to easily create new itineraries and reservations for your clients. We have automated many of our suppliers into our system so that you can pull products from different suppliers into a single reservation card and invoice.

Without an IATAN card, how do I make bookings?

An IATAN card is not what is used for making bookings. An IATAN number is what identifies an agent to a supplier so that they can correctly credit commissions earned. TripIndulge has a unique IATAN number which you will use to book travel. The supplier pays TripIndulge, and we pay you.

Can I charge a service fee to clients?

Yes. TripIndulge has established some uniform guidance for the use of service charges which we will review with you during on-boarding. In general, when a supplier requires a transaction or service fee, we add that to the invoice along with our own fee. TripIndulge will always share fees with agents based on the net fee retained by Tripindulge.

How many hours do I have to work?

As an independent agent you set your working hours and availability. We expect that you are checking your email and logging on to the agent website regularly. When clients are traveling you are on call 24/7. TripIndulge provides you [a membership benefit] with a unique VoIP extension that includes voice mail and forwarding capability and can be accessed from your home computer or anywhere with a WiFi connection. This allows you to keep your personal and business communications separate while using a single device. When you have periods of unavailability you may also participate in our reservation desk program to ensure your clients always have a professional they can reach; generally there is a small fee assessed to compensate the associate handling your clients.

When will I be paid on the bookings?

You are paid after travel is completed by the client and the payment has been received by the supplier, and the supplier has paid TripIndulge. Rule of Thumb: 60 – 90 days after the client has RETURNED from travel. Commission is paid by direct deposits only on the 15th of each month (unless the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday).

Will I be allowed to get travel agent discounts?

Agents will qualify for an IATAN card after making $5000 in commission in one year. This card allows you to take discounted trips and receive discounts at hotels, rental car companies, etc. Agents must be with TripIndulge for at least 6 months and actively selling before you may be approved to participate in a FAM trip or use of the agency ID information for the purpose of taking advantage of discounted travel. TripIndulge can also sponsor you for a CLIA agent card once you meet the criteria below:

CLIA CARD
- New Requirements by CLIA require $5,000 in cruise commission for the calendar year.
- Agents who meet this requirement may apply for the card.

Are there any other charges?

Postage- which we try to keep as low as possible for you. Most tickets are electronic so there are no tickets to be mailed. For things that must be mailed, we will mail priority mail, regular mail, or fed ex depending on the urgency. There may also be times when suppliers assess charges or fees for event driven transactions [trip cancellation for instance]; in these cases costs are normally passed through to the client but in certain cases you may be obligated for additional processing charges.

How do I get customers?

This is a topic we will cover with you extensively in training but in general here are some of the ways TripIndulge suggests you build your client list. Start by getting acquainted with Client Base and set a goal for yourself of creating at least 100 client profiles in your first 90 days, contact friends, family and neighbors and develop your communication and administrative skills. TripIndulge is always generating client leads from our consumer website and will forward leads in your area for you to follow up on. In selected markets we conduct periodic promotional campaigns which you may elect to participate in [as an independent agent you determine how to best spend your time] any leads you generate during these events you will retain as the agent of record. We can also order business cards for you with consistent branding that is personalized for your business.

When can I start to make bookings?

We provide you access to the Virtual Office once your application is approved. The booking functions will be activated once you finish on-boarding and Phase One of your certification training.

Can I get a website?

We operate a consumer website that provides visibility and lead generation for all agents. Once you have completed your certification we can work with you to deploy an affiliate website to help you grow your business.

How do I make client payments?

Client payments are made directly to the travel supplier using the client's credit card. You will have the client fill out a credit card authorization form. You can then make payments on the reservation directly to the supplier. Payments can be made online or by phone depending on the supplier. Clients may pay by check but there are special rules concerning these payments and the process may be lengthy. Pricing and availability are not guaranteed if payment is not made on time, so this is not a recommended method.

Can I work with a partner or can my spouse work with me?

Yes, you can have a partner. BOTH people must pay the join fee and complete training. You can pool together your sales into a single account- but no one can work with you even if it is someone who just takes calls for you without being insured.

What if I decide this isn't right for me?

If you decide you no longer want to work with us we ask that you submit your request in writing. We will then send you paperwork to end our contractual agreement. All funds paid in advance are non-refundable.

What is the cost?

There is a one time administrative setup fee of $195.00. New agents requiring training pay a one time fee of $395.00 and will also need to purchase several textbooks. [We are proud to offer a $200.00 rebate to veterans and the spouses of military members completing our new agent program]. There is no annual fee, although you may choose to pay all your monthly fee's in a single annual payment. The monthly fee is based on training level and commission split:
50% - $59.95 [during training]
70% - $79.95
80% - $125.95
90% - $195.95

Why do you charge a monthly fee?

As an independent contractor you must pay for the expenses of your business to meet IRS tax guidelines. We provide you certain business services that you need to run your business and pass those costs along to you; this eliminates the administrative burden and simplifies your business. Your monthly fees are business expenses and offset business income for tax purposes.

What services do you provide for the monthly service fee?

We provide the following items in addition to the full range of business coaching and technology services:

-A dedicated VoIP Business extension
-TripIndulge email account
-Client Base On-Line
-Direct and Email Marketing
-Membership in Vacation.com and access to Agent Universe
-E&O insurance coverage

What are the steps to becoming a TripIndulge Independent Agent?

Our application process is very easy. Complete our "Apply Now” form and the process will start immediately. Once we have received your completed paperwork, management will review your information and conduct a background check. Upon qualification, you will be assigned a unique agent number, granted access to the TripIndulge Virtual Office and our staff will begin the creation of your agent profile, email and VoIP account.

What support is offered after I have joined?

You will be contacted by one of our Team members to set up a convenient time for a Welcome Tour of the Virtual Office and a review the TripIndulge.com website. We will also assist you with joining our Facebook group and offer suggestions, if needed, for other social media options. You will continue to receive professional support should questions arise or need assistance booking reservations.

I want to just pay and get an IATAN card. Can I do this?

The only way to obtain an IATAN card is to prove you have earned a minimum of $5000 in commissions paid to you by TripIndulge within a 12 consecutive month period and you must work at least 20 hours per week as an Independent Travel Consultant. This is a regulation set forth by IATAN and one that we STRICTLY adhere to. This guideline is put in place to insure the integrity of the travel professionals in the industry. The benefit is exclusively for those agents who have proven success and training in the travel business.

Am I able to enroll in CLIA and receive a CLIA Identification card?

Yes. We are proud members of CLIA and offer enrollment to all agents. CLIA has established certain criteria and fees associated with a membership. You would be responsible for following these guidelines and paying the fees directly to CLIA. Our Support team will assist and provide you the step-by-step instructions. We also use CLIA's textbook as part of our agent certification program which will prepare you to take the CLIA exam worth 30 credits towards your CLIA education goals.

I've read that airlines are not paying commission anymore.... how do I make money selling airline tickets?

All airlines have cut the commission they pay to travel agencies. Therefore, we don't encourage perspective agents to enter into this business with the sole purpose of selling airline tickets. You will make far more money (with much less effort) booking vacation packages (inclusive of airline tickets), escorted tours and cruises. When you do engage with a client who wants an airline ticket, we simply add on an agency booking fee to the cost of the ticket. This is a standard industry practice regardless of the booking source.

How is it possible to compete with the big name online agencies such as Orbitz, Travelocity, etc.?

We have access to vendors that will price match what your client can find online. Further, with our agent booking tools you can look for incentives and special offers more easily than your clients and find them exceptional deals.

How do I know which travel supplier to book for the best commission?

The Virtual Office has a full list of our preferred suppliers. Booking reservations with the Preferred Suppliers is going to ensure you the highest percentage commission the supplier pays. You are not restricted to book ONLY with our Preferred Suppliers. Booking with a supplier that is not preferred will still earn you commission but non-preferred suppliers pay a lower commission percentage.

How am I paid the commission I earn?

Commissions are paid via Direct Deposit on the 15th of the following month in which the commission is received. For example, a commission received on January 1st, would be paid on February 15th. It is required for you to have a minimum of $50.00 in agent commission for a direct deposit to be made to you. If in any month, you receive less than the required $50.00 minimum, the commission will remain in house on account for you until you reach or exceed the minimum. You will be paid all monies accrued on your account at that time.

How soon after I make a reservation will the supplier pay the commission?

This question has several answers:
1.) Most cruise lines pay commission about 21 days AFTER the final payment has been processed. In this case, you will receive the commission prior to your client traveling.
2.) The majority of Tour/Land suppliers pay commission 14-21 days AFTER the client has returned from their vacation. However, a few do pay after final payment and before the client travels.
3.) Car and Hotel reservations are paid after the client has either returned the rental car or checked out of the hotel. These commissions tend to take the longest to receive. The normal processing time is between 30-60 days. It is for this reason, we recommend booking packages inclusive of flights, car and hotel.
4.) Airline reservations that are booked and ticketed through our Online GDS system will have a service fee automatically added. You will receive commission from the service fee with your next commission payment.
5.) Group reservations, either cruises or tour packages, are not paid until after the group has traveled. The payment is usually initiated 30 days from the group’s return.

How do you know I am the booking agent when confirmations are received from suppliers?

a.) There are 2 ways we are able to determine the booking agent:
1.) When making reservations, it is very important to provide your name AND your unique agent number to the supplier (i.e. Mary1234). We have several agents with the same first name, therefore, when using your agent number, we are able to decipher the correct agent when we receive the booking confirmations
2.) After you complete the reservation, immediately report the sale. Reporting the sale lets us know who booked the reservation.

Do I need a computer to do this?

A computer is necessary to run your travel business and any computer will suffice. We suggest you invest in a laptop or tablet that is WiFi capable. This will allow you to meet with clients at a Starbucks or other cafe offering free WiFi and access all your agent tools and records.

Will I have to purchase any special software for my computer to book travel?

No. You will be provided a log-in and password for the TripIndulge Virtual Office.

Do I use YOUR name or MINE for my business?

You have the option to choose:

You may use YOUR business name and information on a business card of your own design.
You may opt to have business cards with the TripIndulge logo and ordered through TripIndulge.

Do you provide E&O Insurance coverage?

Our agency does have Errors and Omissions insurance which is extended to you as part of your monthly fee; this coverage extends only to business conducted through TripIndulge. However, we strongly suggest you obtain your own E & O coverage if you intend to sell other travel products and services not offered through TripIndulge.

What marketing options are available?

Through our partnership with Vacation.com you will have access to a marketing program which will provide you the ability to send direct mail promotions, emails, etc to your clients. We also work with suppliers to create special offers and promotional materials to help you grow your business.

I've never sold travel before, is there training to teach me what I need to know?

Training is a key factor to becoming successful in the travel industry, especially if you have never sold travel before. Our program is designed so that an enterprising self-starter can quickly learn the ropes and begin making money. Many opportunities for training via Webinars, attending Ship Inspections, FAM Trips, an online Learning System and more are available. There are agents on our team that never sold travel before joining and now are enjoying the lucrative and rewarding benefits a career in the travel industry can provide.

Does the state I reside in have Individual State Requirements and Licensing?

TripIndulge is registered with the states requiring a Seller of Travel License, it is up to you, as the agent, to check with your local and state municipalities for any laws or requirements set forth for an independent contractor selling travel. If your local jurisdiction requires licensing it will be your responsibility as an independent contractor to comply, TripIndulge cannot act on your behalf.

Having Errors & Omissions (E & O) Insurance coverage (Professional Liability Insurance) is highly recommended for Independent Contractors; it provides wonderful peace of mind coverage. Our TripIndulge Policy includes $1,000.000.00 of E & O Insurance coverage for all travel booked through TripIndulge. If you wish to have your own individual coverage, expect t pay about $300.00 per year.