OSSN survey: Home-based agents report fruitful 2004

If a survey of Outside Sales Support Network (OSSN) members is an indicator, home-based travel agents are sitting pretty these days -- at least this is true of home-based retailers with a track record.

Nearly 500 of OSSNs 6,500-plus members responded to a January survey on business results. Among them, 86% said their business and profits were up.

Among respondents, 18% have worked at home for 10 or more years, and another 31% have been home-based between five and 10 years.

Thirty-four home-based agents reported a 2004 sales increase ranging from 10% to 20%, and 41% said their sales rose more than 20%.

Nearly a quarter of all respondents (24%) said their business was up more than 35%.

OSSN attributed some part of the positive results to the members focus on specialty products, as about three-quarters (74%) of respondents said they emphasize at least one niche.

Survey respondents also reported they have great expectations for 2005 -- 94% said this will be a better year than last -- and 86% of respondents said they have charted specific goals that they hope to achieve in the new year.

A like number (86%) said most travel suppliers are providing ample or increasing support for their home-based businesses.

About a quarter (26%) of OSSN members said the war and terrorism will influence their sales to Europe, but about twice as many (49%) said they expect the poor showing by the U.S. dollar vs. the euro to influence their Europe sales.

Finally, 80% of members said they enjoyed the travel business more in the last 12 months than they had earlier, but the other 20% are enjoying it less.

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