Insight Agent Issues Insight KHM credo: Relationships sell travel By Laura Del Rosso / May 19, 2014 Share 1 -- KHM Travel Group, an Ohio-based host agency, is focusing travel agent training on retaining customer loyalty, cross-selling and qualifying clients.Those are the elements that are most critical to agent success, said Marie Smith, national training director. About 70 of KHM's 3,300 home-based travel agents recently attended KHM's three-day Destination Success training event, which is one of two held each year at company headquarters in Brunswick, south of Cleveland.“We focus a lot on relationship selling,” Smith said. “It's all about building a relationship with your clients. What makes the relationship work are the product and the service they get from their travel agent.”While some join from other host agencies, KHM draws many new home-based agents who are looking for second careers. They have a wide variety of backgrounds, Smith said; many were schoolteachers or formerly in the military. The company, a member of Vacation.com, works with preferred vendors for its training events. About 50% of KHM's sales are cruises, the other 50% are land-based leisure products.Smith said a main training message to home-based agents is the need to “have faith in themselves.” Clients will inevitably shop the Internet for travel deals, but “it's knowing you as a travel agent that has real value. And that's about making relationships count. If you have a great relationship with your client, it's going to supersede any discounts that they are going to find on Orbitz or Expedia.”KHM was founded 10 years ago by cousins Burt Kramer and Richard Zimmerman and is a family-owned and -operated company with 50 full-time employees.The annual membership fee is $495, or members can pay a monthly fee of $49.95. Agents new to the industry start with an 80/20 commission split. Once they earn $5,000 in paid commissions in a 12-month period, they are eligible for a 90/10 commission split and an Iatan card. The company also offers its agents marketing support, webinars, mentoring, private label websites and errors and omissions insurance.