According to the travel experts at AAA, 55 million Americans took a trip to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in 2019. With plenty of festivities still left to celebrate, millions more people will take to the skies to visit loved ones and embark on getaway adventures. As a travel agent, you help your clients enjoy the best vacations possible, taking care of the details so that they can focus on enjoying themselves.
With all the increased air traffic, it’s more important than ever for travel agents to secure Airline Reporting Commission (ARC) bonds this holiday season. ARC bonds give travel companies the confidence that you, as a travel agent, will conduct proper travel arrangements and will fulfill payments owed to them. When it comes to building a positive reputation for your travel agency, ARC bonds give you the power to create and maintain better professional relationships. Let’s dive into why it’s so important for travel agents to secure ARC bonds for the upcoming holiday season.
What is an ARC bond?
For travel agents to distribute airline tickets and collect payment for them, an ARC bond must be secured beforehand. These bonds serve as a type of accreditation: they show customers and airlines alike that you are approved to handle travel transactions. Though states may differ in their travel agent bond requirements, ARC bonds are applicable nationwide since they directly involve the ARC. In order for airlines to supply you with the types of flight deals that can set your travel agency apart from the competition, they have to know that you will conduct your business in good faith and deliver payment to the proper recipient. ARC bonds are a must for providing peace-of-mind to airlines—and for passing on the travel deals to your customers.
Who needs an ARC bond?
Generally, any travel agent or travel-related business that sells airline tickets will need to have an active ARC bond. The ARC will not form a partnership with a private entity until certain conditions are met, including having a bond, so most new businesses acquire one in their earliest days. If you have questions about whether you require a bond, contact the ARC or reach out to Viking Bond Service.
What is the difference between an ARC bond and a travel bond?
They are similar but completely separate. ARC bonds are an agreement between the Commission and a travel agent that applies only to the sale of airline tickets. A travel bond is an agreement with the state agency that regulates the travel industry and it applies to any kind of travel – bus, rail, plane etc. In many cases, travel agents have both an ARC bond and a travel bond that applies to the state they operate in.
Why travel agents need an ARC bond this holiday season?
The simple answer is because it would be terrible for business to not have a bond. When the bond becomes inactive for any reason, a travel agent’s partnership with the ARC ends. Agents who depend on selling plane tickets (which is most agents) would lose a significant portion of their revenue if they stopped working with the ARC. The losses would be even higher around the holidays when people fly more. There are no two ways about it – anyone in the business of selling plane tickets needs to stay in good standing with the ARC, which means always having an ARC bond.
How do you get an ARC bond?
The process is simple as long as you work with a quality surety company like Viking Bond Service. It starts with an application process. You will submit some basic information about your personal finances and your travel business. Underwriters will use this information to evaluate your credit risk. Basically, they’re trying to determine how likely you are to pay the surety company back if it ends up compensating any claims. The surety will then quote you a price for the bond premium. Once that premium is paid, the bond is active for 12 months. At the end of that period, you will need to submit a renewal application and pay the premium once again.
What to look for with ARC bonds
When it comes to finding an ARC bond provider, it’s important to work with a surety company that continually checks your bond for improved credit status. Viking Bond Service has been providing ARC bonds for over a decade, making sure that travel agencies have the tools they need to provide a superior service. Our online quoting platform can often provide same-day feedback on your ARC bond inquiry, and you’ll have the confidence of knowing that you’re working with the best surety company in the business. Viking Bond Service combines unparalleled surety bond expertise with a personalized commitment to your business and your vision.
Getting a bond this holiday season
At Viking Bond Service, we are more than happy to assist you with all of your ARC bond needs. For more information or to get the process started, give us a call at 1-888-278-7389 or contact us online today. If you would like to learn more about the ins and outs of the bonding process, please explore our free resource all about surety bonds.