Some fairly shocking news emerges from a survey of home-based travel agents in the U.S. -- almost one in four do not have a website.
The Outside Sales Support Network, a trade association which counts 8,000 home-based agents in 80 chapters in the U.S. as members, released the statistic as part of its year-end members' survey, conducted in late December. Some 1,600 members participated in the survey.
The OSSN says home-based agents "face ongoing challenges with technology tools."
Among the challenges, 24% of the agents indicated they have no website, 24% attract "hardly any" traffic to their sites, and 12% would like some help with their sites, OSSN says.
Even if home-based agents conduct most of their business over the phone, you'd think at least they'd want an informational website to foster the credibility of their businesses.
There are a variety of vendors, including Passport Online, which specialize in creating websites for home-based travel agents.
In other tech-oriented news from the survey, OSSN found that home agents use a variety of methods to book airline tickets.
The survey found that 30% book on airline websites, 30% book through consolidators, 9% book airline tickets through a host agency, and 12% combine these methods or use additional alternatives.
Overall, 65% of the home-based agents surveyed said their businesses' profitability increased in 2010, and 89% indicated "they are optimistic thier business will increase" in 2011," OSSN says.