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Complete Guide to Travel Agent Commissions
by Core Commissions | Feb 16, 2023
According to research by Statista , as recently as 2022, the travel industry was reported to be worth as much as two trillion dollars. It is one of the largest industries in the world based on employment, with an average growth of 12% over the past five years specifically among travel agents.
Travel agents earnings are made up of a mix of salary, commission, and other incentives. Their pay can fluctuate significantly month to month or even annually. Different destinations, seasons, suppliers, affiliates, or even how the booking is made, all factor into the percentage of commission that an agent takes home. All of these variables make the process for calculating and managing commissions for agents ever-changing and very complicated.
Similar to other commission-based industries such as insurance and finance , an agent’s pay will vary depending on whether they are employed by an agency or if they are self-employed. Typically, agents employed by an agency have a salary and receive commissions and incentive pay as an additional source of income. Whereas, a self-employed agent is not paid a salary and is only paid commissions earned from suppliers and fees paid by customers.
Core Commissions is a leader in sales compensation software. Founded in 2005, Core Commissions provides an affordable web-based commission management solution that automates the calculation of complex sales commission and incentive pay plans. Core’s powerful and robust application is capable of managing complex data relationships and commission rule scenarios while providing an intuitive online portal for salespeople to view their pay statements and performance dashboards.
In this guide, we’ll cover vocabulary, types of commissions, commissionable revenue, and commission payment schedules that are common for US-based travel agents.
Travel Agent Vocabulary
Supplier: The vendor or business that provides travel services. Suppliers could be airlines, hotels, rental car companies, tour guides, cruise lines, etc.
Host Agency: Many independent agents may prefer to work under the umbrella of a larger organization to earn higher commissions and benefit from better contracts, relations, and marketing assets. These organizations are referred to as host agencies.
Accreditation Number: The identification number that suppliers use to keep track of sales made by each agency is known as the accreditation number. Suppliers group all bookings made under the same accreditation number together, meaning that host agencies, or agencies with multiple reps, can more easily generate enough sales to place them into higher commission tiers.
Non-Commissionable Fees (NCF): There are some aspects to the cost of travel that are not commissionable, meaning agents cannot accrue any commissions from them. Non-commissionable fees typically include any services fees and taxes added on to a booking, though there are some cases where both fees and taxes can be fair game for commissions.
Types of Commissions for Travel Agents
There are three main commission types for travel agents: flat commission rates, tiered commission rates, and airline commissions.
Flat commission rates
With flat rate commissions, every travel agent gets the same commission rate no matter how much they book. Flat commission rates are standard and predictable.
Tiered Commission Rates
For larger suppliers, they may utilize a commission tier structure as a way to incentivize agents to book more with them. Suppliers may base their tiers off of two variables: annual sales revenue or passenger count. In either case, the supplier establishes a commission structure that rewards agents or agencies who meet certain thresholds. Once an agent reaches a threshold, they receive a higher commission rate.
How many levels each supplier includes in their tier structure can vary, but generally they have three to four tiers for agents to reach. As mentioned above, suppliers keep track of all bookings made by agents through use of an accreditation number.
Annual Sales Revenue: In most cases, suppliers opt to build their commission tiers around overall sales volume achieved by an agent or agency. Once a certain threshold for annual sales is met, an agent’s commission rate increases.
Passenger Count: Alternatively, some vendors may choose to use passenger count as a way of structuring their commission. This can be a common route for suppliers such as cruise lines as they have several vacancies to fill on each cruise.
Either way, agencies have an advantage with tiered commissions because they have multiple agents working under the same accreditation number, all of whom will benefit from the commission rate increase. Because of this, they are able to reach the tiers with higher commission rates quicker and easier.
Airline commissions are unique from flat rate commissions and tiered commissions because they vary completely based on the contract that is negotiated with each agency. Agencies with better contracts earn a higher percentage rate. Even with a well-negotiated contract, an agent’s compensation will be impacted by domestic vs. international flights, city pairings (where they are flying to and from), class of service, the carrier, and the time of year.
Not all airlines pay commissions to travel agents, but airlines that do will have their own policies and commission rates. For specific commission rates, you will need to inquire with each individual airline.
Almost any travel services booked by a travel agent can be eligible for commissions or other incentives, some examples include:
- Car Rentals
- Travel Insurance
- Service Fees
- Custom itineraries
Aside from the variables mentioned above, there are additional factors that contribute to how an agent gets compensated.
Commission Confidentiality: Many suppliers choose to keep their commission rates private. You will only learn the commission rate when you sign on with a host.
Net Commission vs Gross Commission: As mentioned above, for some aspects of travel, there are non-commissionable fees. This can play a role in whether the commission accrued for each agent is based on the gross cost of the booking or the net, which is gross less any taxes.
Phone vs. Online Bookings: In some cases, suppliers may base their commission percentages on how the booking is made. This won’t have a huge impact on the rate of commission paid out, but it can alter the rate a little bit.
Price Matches: Many suppliers will offer price matching for customers, which can result in a lower commission rate for agents.
Travel Type: Leisure and business involve different methods for planning and agents will earn different rates depending on the type of travel being arranged.
Commission Pay Schedule
Another complicating factor to travel agent commissions is the schedule in which they receive their incentive pay. Here are the two most common ways agents are compensated:
Payment upon booking: Agents will receive payments upfront when the client buys travel insurance, if the agency requires any type of deposit prior to planning, or when they submit their final bill to the customer. The fees incurred from completing bookings for the customer are received as incentive payments for the agent.
Payment after client has traveled: Suppliers will not usually issue payment to agents until the client has concluded their travel, which means that in most cases agents will go long periods before seeing their commission hit their paycheck.
Ensure Accurate Payments to Your Agents
There are a lot of moving pieces involved in managing sales compensation for travel agents and ensuring that the commissions received from suppliers are accurate with your records. Core’s customizable sales compensation solution has all of the tools you need to reconcile payments from suppliers, track commissions tiers, and accurately calculate your agents’ pay.
Single-button processing allows you to process commission cycles at any point once payment is received from your suppliers and our customized dashboards give you a real-time view into which suppliers are your biggest revenue generators.
Contact us or set up a free demo and we’ll show you how Core can automate the entire compensation process for your agency.
What is a clawback provision, how ai automates sales report auditing, complete guide to variable compensation plans.
How Much Commission Do Travel Agents Make?
Have you always wished you could travel more and see the world? Do you love to imagine your ideal vacation experiences? Have you always dreamed of having extra flexibility and choice in your schedule? We have good news – you can have all these things by becoming a Dream Vacations travel advisor.
If you’ve often thought about working in a travel business on the side, but wondered, “How much commission do travel agents make?”— the good news is… as much as you want! With Dream Vacations, you can work to the degree that fits your goals – meaning you can have a fun and fulfilling part-time job with industry-leading support and unlimited earning potential.
What Is a Dream Vacations Advisor?
When you become a Dream Vacations Advisor, you’ll be partnered with a Dream Vacations Franchisee who already has an established business. They’ll guide you through the process of getting set up and going through your Dream Vacations training, then they’ll host you within their business as an independent contractor. You’ll still be self-employed and will work autonomously, but you’ll have them there to mentor you, advise you and celebrate your success!
The best part? Because this is a remote opportunity, you don’t have to be in the same city – or even the same state – as your host. You can run your business from wherever you want, including your sofa, your favorite café or even a hammock by the beach! You’ll have your own booking website, so any travel agent commission will be linked to you, and you’ll have your own client base that you can build up with referrals and repeat bookings.
How Do Commissions Work?
As one of our valued advisors, you’ll earn a minimum of 60% of the supplier commission on each sale you make – making Dream Vacations an industry leader when it comes to the typical commission for travel agents . Much of your income will be from selling cruises – but before you ask, “ How much commission does a travel agent make on a cruise ?” don’t forget you can also offer your clients additional products – including insurance, add-ons and tours – all of which you’ll earn commission from.
Another bonus is that with Dream Vacations, there’s no minimum sales requirements to meet. The only target you’ll be aiming for is the one you set for yourself – and the more you sell, the more you’ll earn. Every two weeks, your franchisee will calculate your share of the commissions, and it’ll be in your pocket for you to spend however you like!
How Much Does It Cost to Become a Travel Agent?
One of the great things about being a home based travel advisor with Dream Vacations is that you can start earning extra income selling vacations for just $39 a month. In return for this fee, you’ll get the mentorship of your franchisee, a customized website and booking system, marketing and promotional materials, and insurance. You’ll also get access to over 1,500 training programs, which will cover everything you need to grow your business.
Initially, your biggest investment will be your time, as you begin to promote your services and go through all the training. You’ll also want to take some familiarization trips, so you can get to know the vacations you’ll be recommending! Further, you’ll build up your client base, getting to know your customers, and offering them their ideal vacation recommendations – so they’ll book more, and you’ll earn more!
Start Your Travel Industry Job Today!
How much commission do travel agents make? The answer is up to you! As a Dream Vacations Advisor, you set your own goals and your own hours, and will have your host and mentor to guide you and help you get set up for success!
Any questions? Watch our free webinar and find out how you can become part of the industry’s leading travel booking company! All you need is an internet connection and a bit of entrepreneurial spirit, and you can start the journey towards your dream lifestyle today!
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How Do Travel Agents Get Paid? (& Why Fora Does It Differently)
The Modern Travel Agency
Excited to meld your passion for travel with your professional life? One of the first questions prospective travel agents ask is “How do travel agents get paid?”
It’s a fair question, and one we’ll be answering here.
And if you’re not quite sure what a travel agent is , check out this guide first. Otherwise, read on to learn how travel agents get paid in the industry at large, plus, how Fora does things differently with the travel advisors — aka Fora Advisors — who work with us.
Interested in joining us? Sign up to become a Fora Advisor today.
How does a travel agent make money in the first place?
Travel agents, including Fora Advisors, are paid in commissions. A commission is a percentage of the cost of a travel experience (such as a hotel stay). Some agents also charge planning fees for additional services (more on that below).
Commissions are key
For the travel agent industry at large, commissions are the centerpiece of how travel agents get paid. Let’s say a client wants to stay at a nice hotel during their trip. They connect with a travel agent, who books the client’s room on their behalf. The hotel will then pay the agent a percentage of the total room cost.
And it's not just hotel bookings. There are plenty of other commissionable services that travel agents can book for their clients, like rental car services, tours and more.
Many Fora Advisors (and other travel agents) charge planning or service fees for extras, like custom itineraries, airline tickets & more
There are other ways beyond commissions that travel agents get paid. Enter planning fees.
Many travelers either want a pro’s assistance to get the most out of their experience, or simply want to outsource the trip planning to someone they can trust. Better yet, many of these clients are happy to pay a premium to take their travel to the next level.
Many Fora Advisors count planning fees (charged for creating tailored itineraries) as significant revenue. The exact fee amount varies by advisor, but a common starting point is $250 per week of travel planned. That fee adds up quickly if you have multiple clients planning trips.
How else do travel agents get paid? Offering niche travel planning services can go a long way, too
There are plenty of other tips for how to be a successful travel advisor , but one under-the-radar tactic is to specialize in specific travel niches. These areas of expertise can include things like luxury travel , bachelorette parties or destination wedding support (think helping bridal parties book their accommodations, etc.) and more.
The idea here is that you’re leveraging your experience, and therefore your wealth of knowledge, to your client’s benefit. In other words, a potential client may be more willing to plan their travel with you if you specialize in one of their specific needs.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t mix it up. Ultimately, travel agents have a lot of freedom in how they design their business. (And remember, with Fora, you’ll always call the shots. Learn more about how to become an independent travel agent ).
Also! Check out our guides on how to become a luxury travel agent or how to become a cruise travel agent , if you’re curious.
How does Fora compare to other travel agencies? How do Fora travel agents (aka travel advisors) get paid?
Fora Advisor Gaya Vinay
Fora is a breath of fresh air for an industry that’s seen very little change in recent years. From speedy payments to a fully remote career, here’s how Fora is different from traditional travel agencies — especially when it comes to how our travel agents get paid.
Fora Advisors are paid quickly (in fact, we offer the fastest payments in the biz)
You might be surprised to learn that most traditional travel agencies and agents aren’t paid until months after a client checks out of their hotel. It makes sense to wait to get paid until after a client has finished their trip. (Travel plans do change, after all.) But then there are often many hoops that agents have to jump through to get their commission in their bank account.
When you book a client and they check out, the hotel pays the travel host agency and then the host agency pays the advisor. But that's a waiting game in itself, especially in an industry that relies on paper checks sent out for commissions.
How do travel agents get paid by Fora? Anytime we partner with hotels, we make it abundantly clear that we expect speedy payments, and consistently advocate for our advisors. In fact, we pay our advisors before we even get paid. Our payments are the fastest in the business.
Fora pays commissions via modern methods
It's not uncommon for old-school payment methods (ahem: checks) to exist somewhere along the payment pipeline. As a modern travel agency, however, Fora pays advisors as quickly as possible via direct deposit. In fact, we issue payments twice a month.
Fora offers in-house training & certification
There are two more areas that affect how travel agents get paid, at least in terms of their bottom line: travel agent certification and travel agent training . Traditional travel agencies often require prospective travel agents to pay hefty fees and tuition before they ever get paid a commission. These upfront costs impede how quickly you can build your business.
Fora does things a little differently. We offer in-house training ranging from the basics of becoming a travel agent to more advanced topics like group bookings and working with DMCs .
Oh, and by “in-house,” we only mean that courses are taught by Fora HQ members and other industry experts. All of this training is fully remote (learn how to become a travel agent from home for more info).
On average, how much do Fora travel agents make? Do travel agents make good money?
An important aspect of the answer to the question, “How do travel agents get paid?” is how much that pay is (i.e., how much do travel agents make per booking , personalized itinerary, etc.). There’s no easy answer to this, and for many, you get out what you put in.
Ballpark estimates: some of our full-time, expert advisors earn well into the six figures (or beyond). Others make extra income as a side hustle.
Have more questions beyond “how do travel agents get paid?”
Still curious about how to become a travel agent , or how to become a Disney travel agent ? We got you. And to learn more about what you'll get by joining Fora, watch the video below.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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5 Ways a Travel Agent Can Make Money
By Travefy Academy
When asking how a travel agent can make money, the obvious and simple answer is that they sell travel! But in this article, we want to expand on what a travel agent can sell instead of focusing on high-level thinking of selling flight tickets or booking hotels. There’s so much more a travel agent can target and sell that the possibilities are almost endless in creating revenue as a travel business.
The most important way that a travel agent earns money is by receiving a commission on travel sold. This can include a commission from booking flights, accommodation, tours, car rentals, entertainment tickets, insurance, and so much more. An agent will always earn a commission on selling travel but commission fees can differ based on the supplier they are purchasing from and if they are affiliated with a consortium or host agency, who will take a percentage of the commission as well.
Travel Agents can also earn more commission by selling add-ons such as additional days of travel, tours, and trip insurance. A helpful example to explain what a commission could look like is if a travel agent sold a 5 night, 6-day cruise to a couple traveling. The travel agent would earn the cruise commission but could also earn more if the travelers decide to purchase tours from the cruise line and trip insurance as well. Maybe they end up staying an extra night at the final destination too, which in return will add up in commission for the agent.
In addition to receiving commissions when booking travel, many travel agents will also have a set service fee they charge to all clients. This can look different for all travel agents. An agent might have a service fee they charge (ranging from $100-$250+) for all trips or offer a fee just to help plan the travel.
Pro Tip: Not charging a fee? Check out our article on charging fees here to see if charging a fee is right for you.
Instead of booking all of the travel for a client, travel agents can also charge clients just to do the planning and itinerary building and let the client book travel on their own. Travel agents might charge a flat “planning” fee and then just hand over the travel plans to the client once they are finished and that’s all they will do.
Planning group tours as a travel agent can be a popular money avenue because of the large number of travelers at one time. A lot of travel agents will specialize in group travel whether that is planning family reunions, destination weddings, hobby travel, sports travel, you name it!
As an example, a travel agent might book 50 cabins on a cruise and work on filling each cabin. They might focus on a niche like a certain hobby or event that would help encourage many people to book a cruise at the same time. That way, the agent earns a commission on 50 cabins instead of 1 when a traveler books a one-off trip.
There are a lot of agents who will only do group travel since the value of earning a large income is so high. Some agents may even focus on planning 1-2+ large travel groups a year and earn their yearly revenue just by that alone. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to group travel which brings us into our next way of making money: Niche Travel. Combining a niche with group travel can be a great way to earn a lot of money from one trip.
Another popular income source for travel agents is focusing on a niche so that they can create group trips or become a go-to source when a traveler is looking for a particular travel experience. Many agents even have two businesses under one umbrella where they will sell travel to anywhere in the world but also have a side that is dedicated to a niche. As an example, a travel agent might sell a lot of resort packages and cruises but then have a second business just for wine and food travel.
Even though there are hundreds of different niche travel options, here are a few to give you an idea of what niche travel can look like:
- “Surprise” Travel: This has been a growing sensation for many travelers. Surprise Travel is when a travel agent books an entire trip for someone but the traveler doesn’t know where they are going until the day before or when they get to the airport!
- Sports Travel: An agent might rent a charter bus and find 50 people who are interested in traveling to a sports game and book hotels, activities, and transportation for the group.
- Destination Weddings and Honeymoons: If weddings and honeymoons are your jam, this is a great option for you!
- Disney: Many agents focus solely on Disney experiences and these agents live and breathe it. They know all the in’s and out’s of each park and can help customize your trip to fit your families needs.
- Special Needs: Focusing on a demographic can help when choosing a niche. Someone who focuses on special needs travel will be a pro at knowing what to look for when booking, what types of accommodation might need to be made, where to rent equipment, and so much more. For more information on this type of niche, check out our webinar here .
Above are just a few examples but there are so many different niches available and many that haven’t even been thought of yet. If you’re interested in niche travel, ask yourself where your passion lies and see what types of travel experiences can come from that.
Focusing on corporate travel is another option for your travel business. Instead of booking leisure travel, some agents will only work with corporate clients. This can be a great option because you will have your main clients and know that you will continuously be booking travel just for them. Booking corporate travel mostly includes booking flights, accommodation, and rental cars but since you know that the quantity is greater, you can end up making great revenue from commissions in return. Corporate travel can also include booking incentive travel or group retreats and events.
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How Do Travel Agents Make Money?
"How do travel agents make money?" This is a question I hear often. Usually, the people asking are either those who are interested in becoming a travel agent or it's coming from those who find out I work in the travel industry and they can't believe travel agencies are even still around! (Um, they are, and they're the new darlings of the time-starved, information-overloaded travelers of today!)
I'll go more in-depth in just a second, here's a list of steps that show how travel advisors make money:
- A traveler works with a travel advisor to plan and finalizes their travel itinerary .
- The travel advisor books the entire trip (each vendor used for the air, hotel, car, tours, cruises, etc) used in the traveler's itinerary. Advisors use their accreditation number to book each segment of the trip in a vendor's special travel agent portal (or by calling the vendor and giving their accreditation number ). Depending on the booking type and the agency, the agent may also charge the traveler a separate consultation or service fee .
- The vendor recognizes the travel agency through its accreditation number. Using the accreditation number, the vendor pulls up information about the agency, including the travel agency's commission level and the address where the commission check is to be sent.
- The travel agent makes the booking and is credited with the booking via their accreditation number.
- The commission is paid to the travel agent. For most trips, the vendor pays a commission to the travel agent after the client has traveled . For most cruises, the travel agent is paid their commission after final payment (typically about 60-90 days before the sailing).
Now, if you're looking for how travel agents make money that are employees of an agency, that falls more into the territory of travel agent salaries. You're at the right site, just the wrong article. :) Here's our article that deep dives into travel agent salaries .
A Short History
To give you an answer on how travel agents make money, it's important to know a little history. I promise to keep it short—it's actually pretty fascinating how the industry has changed over the years.
In the good 'ol days, a large portion of travel agency income came from airline commissions. Since tickets were expensive, in demand, and could only be ticketed by agents or the airlines, they were the bread and butter of every agency.
What about commissions from tours, hotels, and cruise lines? Those were just icing on the cake.
They were travel agents in every sense of the word because they were agents of travel vendors. Their revenue came from the commissions earned from selling travel products. However, when airline commissions were cut and capped in the 1990s — sad face! — the main revenue base for travel agents disappeared. It hurt. A lot.
Airlines cut their commission because they could now reach travelers via the web and online travel agencies (OTAs) like Expedia and Booking.com. Travel agents, who were once wined and dined by airlines, were left out in the cold. Ouch.
With this rapidly changing travel landscape, travel agents needed to find a new way to make money . . . and fast. And that's where our modern-day story of 'How Do Travel Agents Make Money?' begins.
A Shift in Business Models
With commission cuts and clients' ability to book online, agencies needed to adapt to the new landscape of planning and booking travel. The travel agency community was, quite honestly, devastated by this. Many agencies that didn't adapt quickly enough had to close their doors.
Okay, okay. Before you blow through a whole box of tissues, I want to assure you that the ending is a happier one. Stick with me. :) While smaller than in its glory days, the travel agent community has found an equilibrium.
From Storefront to Home-Based
Starting around 2013, travel agents started to see their numbers increase. When there was once a worry that there wouldn't be any travel agents to fill the shoes of those retiring, there was an influx of new blood, eager to take advantage of the flexibility and travel opportunities a travel agent career provides.
Check out these industry stats:
- In 2013, according to the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), nearly 70% of the agency workforce was older than 55. Not only that, but the percentage of agents over age 65 had nearly doubled, from 17% to 32%, over the prior decade.
- Year after year, stats from our HAR's income surveys indicate that the median of an agent lands in the early to mid-50s, with the majority working from home. (In 2022, the median age was 55).
Did you catch that?!? We went from 70% of the workforce being over 55 in 2013, to 50% of the workforce being younger than 55 in 2022! While ASTA and HAR do tend to attract different demographics — ASTA was traditionally larger, retail storefronts and HAR is typically smaller, non-storefront agencies — but even so, the trend is clear. Travel agents are no longer in danger of going extinct. (HUZZAH!!!)
A big reason for this new influx? The rise of the agent that works remotely. Call them solopreneurs/home-based/location-independent — whatever hip term you want to use. They may be harder to see without a storefront, but this new segment of the industry is now a force to be reckoned with!
By and large, the most popular agency model has switched from the storefront agencies of the past to the remote agencies of today.
Moving to Diversify Income
Along with the loss of airline commissions, travel agents face the challenge of many major cruise lines' non-commissionable fees (NCFs) . Yup, it's self-explanatory: They're miscellaneous fees that are not commissionable. While a cruise sale may be $2,000, it's possible only $1,400 of it will be commissionable. The kicker is that an advisor will still put a lot of elbow grease into booking those NCFs for their client.
Travel agency business models (both corporate and leisure) are moving to become less dependent on commissions alone . Why the change? Not only did commissions from airlines and other vendors lower than in the past, but the industry has experienced huge industry and economic ups and downs including 9/11, recessions, and pandemics. (Am I missing any? PHEW, travel agents sure are resilient!)
Commission income went on rollercoaster rides during these times. During the coronavirus pandemic, for example, advisors were working overtime canceling trips, bending over backward to get their clients home safe, spending oodles of time to keep up to date with constantly-changing travel regulations, and rebooking trips despite the fact that commissions came to a halt. That's right, they were working overtime for essentially no pay. These major pitfalls helped advisors realize the importance of diversifying revenue streams to help stabilize income.
One solution for advisors to counteract diminishing commissions was to diversify their income by charging fees.
So how do travel agents make money in a world where their commissions are lower (and even unpredictable at times)? One solution for advisors to counteract diminishing commissions was to diversify their income by charging fees. This helped agencies steer away from complete reliance on vendor commissions, helping them pad a bottom line that was once cushioned by generous airline and vendor commissions.
The Breakdown of How Travel Agents Make Money
Okay, before we really dig into things, it's important to understand that different kinds of travel agencies make money in different ways.
To make it easier, we've broken down the question of how travel agents make money into 4 main types of travel agencies: corporate, leisure, custom, and 'the big players'.
How Do Corporate Travel Agents Make Money?
Corporate travel agencies make money mainly from service fees, net/private fares, and from airline commissions.
Airline tickets are the lifeblood of corporate agencies (also known as TMCs or travel management companies). Were TMCs going to stop selling airline tickets just because airlines stopped commission? No way. T hey had to get creative to offset lower commissions. What did these corporate agencies do? They implemented a service fee when they booked a ticket.
In addition to air, corporate travel agencies earn commissions from booking cars and hotels for business travelers. Corporate travel agencies make money mainly from service fees , net/private fares , and from airline commissions.
The average service fee for air ticketing in 2022 was $39 for domestic air and $63 for international air for agents who booked corporate travel.
Travel agencies, depending on the airline contracts they have access to, are able to earn commissions on both domestic air (typically 0-5%) and international air (roughly 10-22%).
So how much are corporate travel agencies charging? According to our 2022 Travel Agent Fee Report , the average service fee for air ticketing in 2022 was $39 for domestic air and $63 for international air for agents who booked corporate travel.
How Do Leisure Travel Agents Make Money?
After the commission cuts, many travel agencies shifted to selling high-ticket products that still paid travel agent commissions. These products were essentially vacation packages and cruises. Nowadays, these are your leisure travel agencies (the ones you probably think of when you think of a travel agent.)
Charging a fee helps agents boost their bottom line and compensates them for their expertise.
Generally, leisure travel agencies' main revenue is from commissions vendors pay on vacation packages, cruises, air, and other add-ons. However, consultation fees and service fees are becoming more common as agencies try to diversify income sources to become less dependent on supplier commissions.
If you're wondering how many travel agents make money by charging a fee, you'll want to take a peek at HAR's complete fee survey archive here!
In 2022, 53% of advisors reported charging fees. Just to compare to the days of yore, only 33% of advisors charged a fee in 2017. Holy smokes, that's a big increase
Charging a fee helps agents boost their bottom line and compensates them for their expertise. For agents hesitant to charge fees, some agents implement a 'look-to-book' fee or a "plan to go fee." This is an up-front fee for research, which is applied to the booking when it's made. Other agencies charge a straight-up non-refundable fee for consultations.
Air ticketing service fees are typically the most common among advisors. When you focus on non-air ticketing fees, these services ranked in the top 5 for advisors to apply fees:
How Do Travel Agents Make Money with Custom Itineraries?
Mass market trips like cruises, all-inclusive resorts, or group bus tours around Europe aren't for everyone. When you want an itinerary built just for you, travel agents call that an F-I-T trip — in plain-speak, you'd call that a custom itinerary. But why be simple like that when you could come up with an acronym, right?! ;)
Custom itineraries are more time intensive and may involve booking places that don't pay travel agent commissions. Agents that build FITs typically charge higher consultation, trip planning, and/or service fees to compensate.
FIT travel agents make money not only through the fees mentioned above but also through net pricing mark-ups and commissions from the different vendors they're booking.
There's no one-size-fits-all fee when it comes to custom itineraries. But if you're curious about learning more about what kind of fee would make most sense for your niche, check this out:
How Do the Big Travel Agencies Make Money?
Let's first define what a big travel agency is before we talk about how they make money. When we're talking about a 'big player', we're talking about an agency that has tens of millions of sales revenue. There isn't really a cut-off on when you hit this threshold. The reality is that if you're in this circle, you'll know it. They're the 1% of the travel agency world. :)
While most agencies earn commission based on their sales tiers, these 'big players' can earn overrides based on their revenue on top of commissions. When they meet a pre-determined sales goal or move market share, the vendor compensates them. These overrides can come from any number of vendors including airlines, GDSs , cruise lines, tour operators, car rental companies, and more.
Now that you're aware of how travel agents make money, you've got to be ready to start making money as a travel agent, stat! Sign up for our free 7-Day Setup Travel Agency Challenge . Our daily emails for a week will walk you through the process of what you need to get your agency off the ground and running.
Next time someone asks you 'How do Travel Agents Make Money?' you can now give an amazingly long answer, full of information that will blow their mind. If that's where you're at right now, great. That was my goal.
Feel free to ask any other questions about how the land of travel agencies work in the comments below. I grew up in the travel industry and have worked with many agents to start and grow their travel agencies. If you still have questions, drop us a line , join the conversation in the comments below, or connect with me on Facebook , Twitter , LinkedIn , or Instagram .
Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2012 and has been updated annually to keep up with current data.
About the Author
Steph grew up in the travel industry. She worked with thousands of agents in her role as a former host agency director before leaving in 2012 to start HAR. She's insatiably curious, loves her pups Fennec and Orion, and -- in case you haven't noticed -- is pretty quirky and free-spirited.
If you’re looking for Steph, she leaves a trace where ever she goes! You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest as 'iamstephly'. 🙂 She doesn't do TikTok as no one would ever see her again.
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How Do Travel Agents Make Money? [The Travel Agent Business Model]
In the past, travel agents made money from commissions from airlines and hotels. And while this is still a key revenue source for travel agents, the increasing prevalence of online booking has made them look for new sources to diversify their income. So, how do travel agents make money today?
Below, we explain the different ways in which independent professionals and online agencies generate revenue in the ever-changing travel industry. By understanding the rewards that come with taking on the role of a travel agent, you will gain insight into this often-overlooked career path and how it could fit into your own life goals.
How Do Travel Agents Work?
Travel agents work to provide their clients with a stress-free and personalized travel experience by taking care of all the details and providing expert advice and support. Travel agents can work independently or for travel agencies.
The key role of a travel agent is to assess their client’s needs and make the necessary recommendations and arrangements based on them. Services provided by travel agents include:
- Consultation – Determining the client’s travel needs, budget, and preferences. This includes asking questions about the purpose of the trip, the desired destination, preferred travel dates, accommodation preferences, and any specific requests or requirements.
- Research – Identifying the best travel options available for the client (flights, hotels, rental cars, tours, and activities).
- Booking – Making travel arrangements on behalf of the client.
- Confirmation – Verification of all details related to the booking, including providing the client with the necessary information, such as flight times, hotel reservations, and tour details.
- Follow-up – A travel agent may provide advice on travel visas, travel insurance, packing tips, and other travel-related issues.
How Do Travel Agents Get Paid?
The most common way a travel agent gets paid is from commissions from airlines, cruise lines, or tour companies for packages sold. The commission rate varies depending on the type of travel and the agreements with travel providers.
Additionally, travel agents get paid a fee by their clients for their services. The amount of the service fee is entirely up to the agent and is related to the type of services provided. Typically, it’s charged for arranging some or all segments of the travel.
If the travel agent is employed by an agency, then just like any other employee, they’ll receive a salary or hourly wages.
Net price overages are also an option for many agencies. So, for instance, if an agent books a certain number of hotel rooms, the vendor gives them a discount which is then marked up, and the difference is kept by the agency.
Some travel agents may also earn additional revenue by offering travel insurance or upgrades to accommodations or transportation.
Travel Agent Business Model
The simplest way to describe the business model of travel agents is to go by the main source of income. Based on this, there are two types of business models:
The commission-based business model allows travel agents to earn a percentage of the total cost of a travel package, such as flights, accommodations, and activities. Depending on whether the package is domestic or international, travel agent commissions may be as low as 5% or as high as 20% or more.
In a service-fee-based business model, travel agents charge their clients a service fee for their expertise or assistance in planning a trip. If the travel agent is in the role of an advisor, they may recommend a popular destination or deal on a specific trip.
Alternatively, they may provide help for any given element of the trip, from booking a hotel room or flight to booking a spa treatment. The fee charged can be a flat rate or a percentage of the total trip cost.
It’s important to note that with the rise of online booking platforms, the travel industry has become more competitive, and many travel agents use a combination of commission and service fees, plus access to exclusive deals and pricing. This way, they’re able to offer their clients a unique and personalized experience while staying competitive in the market.
How Travel Agents Make Money
Here are the most common ways travel agents make money.
1. Travel Insurance Sales
Travel insurance is essential to ensure your trip is protected in case of any unexpected changes or emergencies. Travel agents can sell insurance policies for their clients, which provide coverage for things like flight cancellations, lost luggage, and medical expenses. Depending on the policy sold, agents can earn up to 40% in commission.
2. Cruise Sales
Travel agents may receive a high commission or bonus on cruises based on the number of rooms booked by their clients. Typically, the commission rate for cruises is around 12%. This is because a large number of passengers are required to fill a ship.
Note that a significant portion of clients’ bills is taxes. For instance, a booking for cruise berths priced at $4,000 might include taxes amounting to $1,500. When booking cruises, agents earn commissions only on the portion of the cost that is not taxed.
3. Car Rental
Depending on the car rental agency, agents may earn between 8% to 10% commission on bookings. Other travel agents charge a flat fee of $20–$40 for making the reservation with the car rental company.
The car rental industry is highly competitive, so the key here is for travel agents to establish relationships with different companies and shop around for the best rates for their clients.
From visiting vineyards in Tuscany to exploring the rainforest in Costa Rica, tours are an excellent way for clients to get the most out of their travels. Agents can earn commissions ranging between 10% and 20% when they book a tour package and may also receive incentives such as free rooms or discounts on future trips.
5. Premium Listings
Car companies, airlines, and cruise lines pay handsomely for premium listings on travel agents’ sites. This gives the company more visibility and may help them generate more revenue. Typically, agents negotiate a commission for booking trips with these companies or charge a flat fee for providing access to the website.
6. Vacation Packages and Deals
If a travel agent is employed, they can use the buying power of their agency to get discounts and special offers which they can then pass on to their clients in the form of reduced hotel rates, exclusive deals, and other incentives. Usually, the commission rates for booking vacation packages range between 10% and 15%.
7. Niche Travel
Focusing on a niche area can be highly profitable for travel agents because it allows them to refine their expertise and cater to clients seeking a specific type of trip, like wedding and honeymoon or sports travel.
Some agents have two distinct branches of their business. The first covers travel to various destinations worldwide, while the second specializes in a particular theme like yachting, wine, or culinary adventures. For instance, an agent could sell packages for resorts and cruises while also organizing unique wine or food-related trips.
8. Mode of Travel
Vacationers have options beyond just using traditional modes of transportation like planes, trains, and cars. For instance, they can choose to explore an area by cycling from one spot to another. It’s the agent’s responsibility to arrange the logistics of the trip, from transportation to the actual adventure.
9. Corporate Travel
Many travel agents make their money by organizing custom trips for corporations. From organizing team building, corporate retreats, or special rewards trips, corporate travel is an excellent source of revenue and provides the opportunity for the agent to make long-term relationships with companies.
Travel agents may be paid an hourly fee for their services and/or a commission on airline tickets, cruises, and hotels and resorts. They could also receive incentives to book certain properties or activities, such as golf courses or spa treatments.
How Much Do Travel Agents Make Per Booking?
A travel agent’s commission may be as low as 5% or as high as 30% and depends on various factors such as the type of booking, the element of travel, and the vendor they book with. In addition to commissions, travel agents’ income can come from other sources, such as service fees.
For example, if a travel agent earns a commission of 10% on a $2,000 booking, they would make $200. However, if the booking is a complex itinerary, such as a multi-country trip, and the travel agent charges a service fee of $200, their total income from that booking would be $400.
Do Travel Agents Get Paid Hourly?
Yes, travel agents can be paid by the hour, and it’s a more common type of compensation for travel agents who work for larger agencies. The average hourly pay of travel agents in the US currently stands at $17.71 and goes as high as $28 per hour in states like New York, California, and Nevada.
However, travel agents are typically compensated in different ways, and their pay structure may depend on the company they work for and the type of travel they book. And while some are paid on an hourly basis, most receive a salary or are paid on a commission basis.
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Oct 15, 2020 | Abundance , Aspiring travel agents , Launch a travel business , Travel Business
If you’re beginning a travel business, you are probably super excited about the amazing perks that come with the territory – fantasy trips ✈️ to exotic locations (for research purposes, of course), being your own boss, living the “laptop life,” working on the beach 🏖️ instead of in some stuffy old office… It’s a dream job! And not only that, you get paid a travel agent commission! 🤑
But wait, who does the paying? And how much do they pay? And what can you do to get MORE of a travel agent commission? 🤔
These are questions I get A LOT, so I made a video 📽️ that breaks it down for you. Take a look at the video and see what options there are for getting paid a travel agent commission for the amazing and vital services you provide.
Of course, you know how WE do it at Careers on Vacation. We’re not just about the travel hobbyist who books the occasional trip here and there (though there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s your thing). We specialize in teaching people how to build 💲 six-figure-plus 💲 travel businesses and helping them achieve the abundance they’ve been dreaming of.
My Careers on Vacation Mastermind is the ultimate tool for travel professionals and travel agency owners. It gives you the answers, support, and tools you need to create successful, profitable travel businesses that you could run from anywhere – even while traveling yourself!
If you’re ready to kick your dreams of owning a travel business into high gear, then I encourage you to consider the Careers on Vacation Mastermind. You can apply by clicking the button below.
You are in for an exciting adventure as you begin building your profitable, portable travel business. I know you want to live your life doing what you love and getting paid for it. I’d love to help you do just that.
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New hotels can run promotions up to as high as 18% to drive demand to room bookings. Commissions are not paid on resort fee or taxes so the recent market changes have not been in favor of travel agents. First, Marriott moved commissions from 10-7% in the US in which other chains followed suit, then the resort or city fee became such a significant portion of overall cost. In some hotels in Bahamas or Puerto Rico, the resort fee and taxes can be up to almost $150 per night per room. Commissions are not paid to companies or individuals unless they have an IATA number. In the past the ARC’s Verified Travel Consultant did work for commission payments but we are seeing less and less hotels accept this in the market. The application for IATA numbers confirms appropriate insurance is carried, trainings are completed, and the travel agent understands market terms. Individuals aren’t able to carry an IATA, only corporations. Rates wise the cost should not be different if you are receiving commissions or not. The hotels aren’t allowed to mark up the pricing 10% to cover their commissions. If an agent does not receive the commissions then the hotel keeps that money. As a company we don’t do any business without being the commissionable agent on a hotel block contract for our groups.
Here is the part that every corporate agency differs. Agencies like Helms Briscoe just do the contracting, collect the commissions and then are not involved in any more planning. If you want any support in planning I recommend staying away from this approach as then Helms receives the commissions and the event planning company will need to charge more since they are not the commissionable agent. Some larger agencies take a percent of the entire event (on top of commissions), we find these costs can end up being between 15-35%. Some of these costs are transparent usually around 15–20% and others are not (usually additional 10-15%). This is the most common billing method for incentive trips. Other agencies like Executive Group Travel charge a person fee for each attendee on the trip. This fee includes the full planning of the event from sourcing, to contracting, to budgeting, to registration, to rooming lists, to transfers, and all the details in between. This fee is transparent up front and you can easily budget the cost of the agency. In this case the agency is betting on the clients growth structure in hopes that the small opportunities became larger ones down the road. And most importantly the companies stay with the agency during the growth period. This is similar to how a baseball agent works, you make a bet on your clients in hopes it pays off 3-5 years down the road.
Written by Marci McCormack
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How Do Travel Agents Make Money? (2023)
Travel agents can work for a travel agency or work as self-employed travel agents.
Either way, travel agents make money by booking segments of travel – such as airline, rental car and/or hotel reservations – for a client or group. You’re not paid until the final payment is made.
Travel agents make money by a salary if they work for big travel agencies. Travel agencies may also pay their employees an additional commission or extra pay, based on how much business the travel agent books.
Self-employed travel agents make money primarily by earning commissions or by charging certain fees for planning services.
With the ease of the internet age, you’d think that the travel industry would be turning away from using travel agents or travel agencies. But many travelers find the over-abundance of choices and time to research those choices overwhelming. And this highlights the benefits of using a travel agency or travel agents.
That’s why the travel industry is thriving.
12 Ways Travel Agents Make Money
How do travel agents make money? Travel agents make money from multiple sources. Whether they’re earning a commission or charging flat fees, they are working with travel vendors and other sources to sell travel.
Here are some ideas for you to consider:
1. Service Fees
A travel agent makes money by charging fees for separate elements of travel. For example, instead of charging a commission for booking tickets with airlines or hotel rooms, travel agents earn money by charging a service fee for each booked part.
Agents can also function as travel advisors, letting customers know of popular destinations or great deals on trips. For this service, an agent can charge a consultation fee for trip planning.
2. Cruise Incentives
The cruise industry, given the large number of passengers needed to fill a ship, may offer travel agents a high commission or bonus based on number of rooms booked by clients. A common commission rate is about 12% for cruises.
But a great part of the clients’ bills are the taxes paid. For example, for cruise berth bookings which cost $3,000, $1,000 of that may be taxes. When booking cruises, agents only earn a commission on the amount of cost that is untaxed.
First, a little history. Before the 1990s, a large portion of travel agent income came by earning commissions on booked tickets with airlines and reservations with hotels. When it became easy for a traveler to book flights or hotels using the internet, the days of earning big commissions for airline tickets and lodging dwindled. See Also How To Become A Disney Travel Agent Budget Your Trip | Travel Costs for a Round the World Trip or Weekend Vacation 5 Ways a Travel Agent Can Make Money Travel Etiquette Face-Off: The Tipping Point
Travel agents commissions used to be the bulk of their income but that has shifted. Most travel agents who earn commission booking tickets on airlines earn 5% on domestic flights and 10-20% on international flights. The commission rates are similar for booking hotels.
What if airfare for a roundtrip within the US is $200? With a $200 hotel room? You would earn $20 for booking both elements. Many travel agencies and self-employed agents choose to charge a flat fee for services instead.
4. Travel Insurance
Selling this type of insurance is the biggest chunk of revenue that a travel agent can earn. You earn commissions on selling this type of insurance.
Yes, it’s a money maker but also a valuable service to provide to travelers.
5. Car Rental
An agent can earn an 8% commission, or a $25-40 flat fee for making reservations with car rental companies.
6. Airline Tickets
There’s a business called an Airline Consolidator. The consolidator will often be able to search airlines to find the lowest price ticket for travelers. The consolidators work with international and domestic air travel.
The, if the travel agency or agent charges a flat fee, the travelers end result is still a lower priced ticket.
See Also: How to Start a Travel Blog
Tour operators develop awesome trips. They may organize a week-long fly fishing excursion to the best rivers in Montana. They may visit the top vineyards in California. They may visit key stops on Route 66.
8. Premium Listings
Travel vendors pay to have their cruise lines or destination lodging featured on a host agency website. Other travel vendors who pay for premium listings include rental car companies and airlines. The vendor assigns you an accreditation number to track what you sell.
9. Specialized Travel
For this an agency or agent may develop a tour for a specific event, such as the Olympics or professional sports championship. Or, the travel may be a certain segment of the population, such as Veterans or disabled persons.
Specialized travel can also be arranged for specific groups, such as corporations or organizations (garden or cooking clubs for example).
Arranging corporate travel can provide steady income. Make corporate travel smooth, and be responsive to any snags, and your reputation will build. Many in the business cut their teeth by making inroads here, which help them expand their business.
10. Vacation Packages
Leisure travel should be just that – no worries or headaches for the traveler. This is why vacation packages such as all inclusive resorts are so popular.
The destination wedding has also steadily gained in popularity as a vacation package with airfare, lodging and rental cars included in the price.
11. Mode of Travel
It’s not all Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Vacationers may want to bicycle from one New England Inn to another, take a houseboat down a river, or canoe/kayak a river in northern Maine.
The savvy agent takes care of the details, getting the vacationer to and from the destination, and setting up the adventure.
12. Custom Itineraries
There are clients who want to travel all over the world. They don’t want a bus tour. They want to hike in the Andes Mountains of Peru, followed by a canoe paddle on the Amazon.
They want to do some bird watching in the Everglades, then travel the Florida Keys.
Earn a good reputation with one of these (wealthy) clients, and you’ll make money.
How Much Money do Travel Agents Make?
According to stated national figures, the average income is $39,000. But it’s important to remember that this average salary statistic doesn’t differentiate between someone working for an agency, and someone who is self-employed.
Many agents in the industry earn six figures.
Types of Travel Agent
There are different modes of work in the travel agent community. How do travel agents make money? They can work from home or from an office:
Home-Based Travel Agents
You’re self-employed and work from a home office.
Your work for online travel agencies.
You work for large agencies.
How to Maximize Your Earnings
Your revenue streams should come from several different sources.
Sell Add ons
Especially travel insurance. Also seek to sell “side tours” with hotel bookings.
Work for a Corporation
Cha-ching. It’s not only a great way to make money. It’s a great way to bolster your reputation.
Make Arrangements for Group Travel
This can be a headache. At the same time, it’s a way to prove your organization talents.
This type of organized travel is increasingly popular. Specialized travel includes honeymoons and anniversaries, retirements and other milestones.
How do travel agents get paid?
Commissions – you are paid a percentage of the cost.
Service fees – you charge a fee for arranging each segment of travel.
Salaries – you work for a large travel company.
Net price overages – the vendor gives a price break, for example, for a number of hotel rooms (100). You add to the per room fee by a chosen dollar amount.
Travel perks – This isn’t a dollar figure, but vendors may give you a price breaks on things like hotel rooms or airline seat upgrades.
More in: Small Business Travel Comment ▼
How Do Travel Agents Make Money? ›
Travel agents earn commissions from travel vendors that we book for our clients . This is the entire portion of our revenue. We make a small percentage from some airlines, but most of our revenue comes from commission paid to us by tour operators, cruises and hotels.
Generally, leisure travel agencies' main revenue is from commissions vendors pay on vacation packages, cruises, air, and other add-ons . However, consultation fees and service fees are becoming more common as agencies try to diversify income sources to become less dependent on supplier commissions.
Commissions. The most important way that a travel agent earns money is by receiving a commission on travel sold . This can include a commission from booking flights, accommodation, tours, car rentals, entertainment tickets, insurance, and so much more.
Disney travel agents work on commission, which means that you'll only make money when your clients book their vacations and complete their stays. Disney pays a 10% commission to travel agents.
The most promising candidates for the position of travel agent combine a passion for travel with a talent for sales and customer service. These individuals are communicative, detail-oriented, and resourceful . They have a true desire to help and work hard to build long-term relationships with satisfied customers.
How much money do travel agents make? This comes down to certain factors such as the type of clients, level of expertise and the ability to offer specialized services. According to Indeed, the average salary of a travel agent in the US is $49,608 but there are many making up to six-figure incomes .
We earn commissions from travel vendors . Travel agents earn commissions from travel vendors that we book for our clients. This is the entire portion of our revenue. We make a small percentage from some airlines, but most of our revenue comes from commission paid to us by tour operators, cruises and hotels.
Having a travel agent side hustle is becoming a trend due to the many benefits it offers . According to a Travel Weekly survey, 17.5% of advisors are booking at a rate far beyond that of 2019, and 13.6% report that business is steady.
National Geographic looks into whether or not people still use travel advisors, and the answer is a resounding yes! "Do people still use travel agents?" That's a question we get asked a lot at the American Society of Travel Advisors.
The primary role of a travel agent is to help people make travel arrangements, which might include booking flights, hotels, sightseeing tours, and making dining recommendations. A travel agent assesses each customer's unique needs, preferences, and budget to ensure their trip goes as smoothly as possible .
What percentage do travel agents get? ›
The commission percentage agencies earn depends on numerous factors, the most important one being which private contracts you have access to. Here's a general rule of thumb on the airline ticket commission range you can expect as a travel advisor: Domestic: 0-5% International: 10-22%
Often, travel agents receive deals directly from hotels and tour operators that you may not have access to . They also have contacts with resorts and hotels, so they can bargain for better deals.
Each agent gets a commission from Disney for the bookings they've made on your behalf. That's why most Disney travel agencies have a policy of not charging their clients any sort of itinerary planning fee — because they're already getting paid.
- customer service skills.
- excellent verbal communication skills.
- the ability to sell products and services.
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail.
- administration skills.
- active listening skills.
- persuading skills.
- a desire to help people.
A travel agent's role is to help people plan, choose and arrange their holiday . They will usually work to a budget set out by whoever is planning the holiday. They also offer advice and opinions on where to go and local tourist attractions, events and customs.
- Set goals. ...
- Education is key. ...
- Be in it to win it. ...
- Find a mentor. ...
- Choose your clients rather than vice versa. ...
- Mingle where the high rollers go. ...
- Consider working for someone else first, so you can start a business with a book of travel in hand.
The main difference between travel consultants and agents is that travel consultants plan trips, while travel agents book them . Travel agents may be better skilled at locating the best prices for flights and hotels.
Overall, how frequently an agent travels really depends on the agent . Some travel agents may be able to take advantage of IATA discounts and FAM trips more frequently than others. Much like any other person, the agent's travel preferences, lifestyle, and financial capabilities can all influence how often they travel.
A Travel Agent Can Handle the Unexpected . Between weather delays, natural disasters, flight cancellations, lost luggage and much more, a lot can happen on vacation. Travel agents act as the traveler's advocate in the event something goes wrong, helping navigate the challenge of making any necessary itinerary changes.
What is the hidden cost of booking a trip without using a travel agent? Time is the hidden cost of booking a trip without using a travel agent.
What do travel agents do everyday? ›
Travel agents typically do the following: Arrange travel for business and vacation clients . Determine clients' needs and preferences, such as schedules and costs. Plan and arrange tour packages, excursions, and day trips.
It's a myth that working with a travel agent will automatically cost you more ; most get paid via commissions from the hotel or outfitter. Sure, some travel agents do charge a fee for putting together an itinerary, but most will credit you that fee if you end up booking the trip through them.
A travel agent's salary can range from around $24,000 to $60,000 annually. That's not including the bonuses and commissions that many agents earn. So in that, combined with the fact that you can work in the travel industry and from wherever you'd like, it can be quite worth it .
After 178 years in business, Britain's Thomas Cook , the world's oldest travel company, has gone bust. Thomas Cook's collapse on Monday sparked the UK's largest repatriation in peacetime history.
But cost isn't the only barrier. The perception of “one-size-fits-all travel” is another barrier to travel consumers choosing to use travel agents . In fact, the study found that nearly one-third of travellers list 'the inability to customise their trips the way they want' as a top concern with using travel consultants.
Contrary to popular belief, booking through a travel agent won't necessarily cost you more than booking online . While some travel agents charge a nominal fee for planning your trip, many agencies don't charge anything extra, instead earning commission off the airline, hotel, or tour they book for you.
May work full time or part time, but most work 40 hours a week . May work more than 40 hours a week if self-employed.
- Position Yourself as a Specialist Travel Agent. ...
- Seek Out and Reward Referrals. ...
- Don't Be Afraid of Complicated Trips. ...
- Get Active on Social Media. ...
- Maintain Consistency Across All Platforms. ...
- Continue Your Travel Education and Highlight Your Credentials. ...
- Enlist Help in Lead Generation.
I would say that for the most part, this group of agents generates sales between $25,000 to $100,000 in annual sales. Again, if you assume an average 10% commission of $2,500 to 10,000 and apply your host agency commission structure and fess you can easily guesstimate your potential income.
How many people work as a travel agent? ›
Twenty years ago on Feb. 9, 1995 , Delta Air Lines capped base travel agent commissions at 5 percent (down from 10 percent), the first in a salvo of commission caps and cuts that ultimately led to the demise of base airline commissions across the industry.
For travel professionals in the US: New ID Card cost is USD 40.00 whereas Renewal cost is USD 35.00 . For travel professionals outside of the US: The price of an ID Card may range from USD 30.00 to USD 70.00 depending on the class of agency you work for (additional courier fees may apply). Was this article helpful?
The commission structure with Disney is pretty straightforward. For most vacations, especially for new travel agents, your commission starts out at 10%. That means if you book a $5,000 trip, you'll make $500 after the person travels. Disney cruises are a little different depending on the volume of sales you have.
Being an independent contractor takes commitment and dedication. Being a Disney Travel Agent is a lot of fun, but like with any job, there will be times that it is tough . You will need to push through the tough times if you want to succeed. As mentioned above, it will take time to develop a clientele.
Becoming a travel agent isn't as simple as declaring yourself one. Typically, the first step is to sign up for a program that'll teach you the basics of running your own travel business . There are a variety of programs to choose from, depending on your interests and career goals.
Equipment should include a computer (PC or notebook), a mobile phone, a printer, fax machine, and copier (or an all-in-one system), and reliable, fast internet access . Be aware that today's travel agents are highly mobile and need a good mobile phone with a strong calling plan.
- Strong sales and interpersonal skills.
- Excellent verbal and written communications skills.
- Ability to negotiate effectively.
- Excellent knowledge of computer reservation computer programs.
- Strong problem-solving skills.
- Detail oriented and highly organized.
Travel agents have global connections and also exclusive access to special deals on flights, hotels, tour packages and activities so ideally they can only offer you the most reasonable holiday options than booking online. Also, they keep you informed about special deals if you sign up for the newsletter.
“I should be hired for this role because of my relevant skills, experience, and passion for the industry . I've researched the company and can add value to its growth. My positive attitude, work ethics, and long-term goals align with the job requirements, making me a committed and valuable asset to the company.”
What personality do you need to be a travel agent? ›
Travel agents tend to be predominantly enterprising individuals , which means that they are usually quite natural leaders who thrive at influencing and persuading others. They also tend to be conventional, meaning that they are usually detail-oriented and organized, and like working in a structured environment.
A travel agent is a highly organized professional who is passionate about travel and helping others. They are focused on creating the best possible experiences, directly catered to their clients . They work with hotels, airlines, and other vendors to create travel packages and experiences that their clients will love.
How do commissions vary? While the average commission range for many of the big online travel agents is 15-25% , some smaller and more niche OTAs offer lower rates – sometimes as low as 4%. It's very common for commission rates for properties on the same OTA to vary based on their region and property type.
In addition to earning a living and helping their clients arrange trips and vacations, travel agents can earn travel discounts for hotel stays , car rentals, cruises and tours.
Formal Training Needed to Become a Travel Agent In terms of the training time you need to put in before becoming a fully-fledged travel agent, it depends. You could start your career right after high school, or you could put in one to four years to earn a certificate, associate's, or bachelor's degree in tourism.
- Establish a posting schedule.
- Take photos of your travels so you always have things to share.
- Follow other travel accounts to get ideas.
- Hire a social media manager.
- Use social media scheduling apps to automate your posts.
Signing up your travel agency is quick, easy, and free. Earn generous commission on our broad range of travel supply . We calculate your earnings based on the total booking value, including taxes, so you earn more. As you make more bookings, you will move up our commission tiers and increase your revenue per booking.
We will pay you through our vendor, Partnerize, up to 6% of a qualifying Consumed Verified Transaction after the Traveler completes their stay. Please refer to the table below and to the Program Terms and Conditions for further details. Cancelled bookings do not earn a commission .
Both the luxury cruise market and niche cruise markets pay a true 10% base commission and can be highly lucrative niches.
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How travel agent commissions work.
Commissions are the result of your hard work and dedication to your clients! As your host agency, we strive every day to ensure agents are paid in a timely, accurate manner. So how do travel agent commissions work?
After you’ve made a booking for a client, you’ll enter it into the myTravelCRM system. This step is vital to ensure you get paid! Once your client has traveled, and the Commissions team has received the commission from the supplier you booked with, you will be paid your commission.
Our travel agents also love that we pay out commissions on a weekly basis!
As one of the leading host travel agencies, our Preferred Suppliers pay us the top commissions, which mean higher income for you ! Due to our collective sales volume, our Preferred Suppliers pay 13%, 15% and in some cases up to 20%.
All agents start out earning an 80% commission payout. This means that from the total commission the supplier has paid to KHM Travel Group, you will receive 80% of that amount.
To be eligible for 90% commission payout, an agent must reach and maintain at least $5,000 in paid commissions within the calendar year, which resets January 1.
Travel Booking Example:
Starting with your very first booking, you earn some of the top commissions possible. Let’s look at what you can earn from booking a $4,000 cruise/land vacation with the typical host agency compared to when you partner with KHM Travel Group.
In this example, you could be earning an additional $376.00 with KHM Travel Group . Over time, this difference could mean thousands of extra dollars in your pocket!
*Many of our competitors artificially cap commissions at 10%. **Generally the commission paid by our vacation package suppliers is between 10% – 15% and cruise suppliers is between 10% – 16%. ***Reflects commission rate for agents having earned at least $5000 in commissions in the past 12 months.
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How much commission do travel agents really make?
- October 4, 2023
- Pickles Travel Network
As you start or continue on the exciting journey of planning your clients’ dream getaways, you are likely to encounter the invaluable assistance of travel agents. Travel agents are experts in “all things travel” and not only help navigate the complexities of trip planning but also earn their income through commissions from various travel-related bookings.
Let us take you on a detailed tour of the commission landscape for travel agents.
Together, we will shed light on the typical and high/low range commission amounts for hotels, cruises, airfare, tours, and other avenues you may not have considered — yet.
Travel agents specializing in accessible travel have a unique niche that caters to individuals with disabilities or special needs. Commission rates in this niche can vary widely depending on the suppliers and the level of specialization they offer. For example, suppliers like Wheel the World may offer a commission rate of 3%, which reflects their commitment to accessibility. On the other hand, Kingdom Strollers , which provides specialized stroller rental services for families with young children, may offer a higher commission rate of 15%. Accessible travel agents should explore partnerships with various suppliers to ensure their clients’ needs are met.
Airfare is a fundamental aspect of travel, and travel agents can assist you in securing the best flight options. However, commissions for airfare can be more intricate, as they often depend on the agreements travel agencies have with airlines.
Typical Commissions: Commission rates for airfare can be relatively modest, ranging from 1% to 3% of the total ticket price. In some cases, travel agents might receive a fixed fee per booking instead.
High/Low Range: Domestic flights and economy class tickets usually offer lower commissions, while international flights and premium class tickets can yield higher commissions.
Airline Consolidators, on the other hand, have a more “Build Your Own Commission” structure. So, it is pertinent to know with you are working with as a travel agent.
Cars, RV, and Transfers
Travel agents can expand their services beyond traditional bookings to include ground transportation options like car rentals, RV rentals, and transfers. These services can be particularly beneficial for clients who want flexibility and convenience during their travels. The commissions offered by suppliers in this category can vary based on factors such as the type of transportation, location, and the supplier’s agreement with the travel agent. Here’s a breakdown of these opportunities:
Car Rentals: Travel agents can earn commissions when they book car rentals for their clients. Commission rates for car rentals often fall within the range of 5% to 17%. The exact rate can depend on the rental agency and the volume of bookings made through the travel agent. Agents may consider establishing partnerships with major car rental companies as well as local or specialty providers to offer a wide range of options to clients.
RV Rentals: For clients seeking a unique travel experience, RV rentals are an exciting option. Commission rates for RV rentals typically follow a similar range, ranging from 5% to 17%. Travel agents can work with RV rental companies to provide clients with options for various sizes and styles of RVs, allowing them to embark on memorable road trips.
Transfers: Transfers, such as airport shuttle services or private transportation to and from accommodations, are essential components of a seamless travel experience. Suppliers offering transfer services often provide commission rates in the 5% to 17% range. By offering transfer services, travel agents can ensure their clients have a hassle-free journey from arrival to departure.
Cruises offer travelers an opportunity to explore multiple destinations in one trip, and travel agents are there to guide cruisers through the vast ocean of cruise options. Commissions for cruise bookings can be quite diverse, influenced by the cruise lines’ policies and the complexity of the booking.
Typical Commissions: On average, travel agents can earn commissions ranging from 10% to 18% of the total cruise fare. This means that for every cruise package booked, the travel agent has the potential to receive 10 to 16 cents on every dollar spent.
High/Low Range: High-end cruises and luxury liners like AmaWaterways may offer travel agents higher commissions, while budget or discounted cruises might provide lower rates. Disney, Holland America, and Princess tend to typically fall in the mid-level commission range, around 10%.
Specialized transportation suppliers, such as Yachtico rentals, may offer 3 to 5%.
Excursions and Tour Packages
For travelers seeking curated experiences and guided adventures, travel agents may offer assistance in booking tour packages. Commissions for tour packages can fluctuate widely, influenced by the tour operator’s policies and the complexity and exclusivity of the tour.
Typical Commissions: Commissions for tours typically fall in the range of 10% to 14% of the total package price – and on rare occasions, up to 20%. This means that your travel agent may earn 10 to 20 cents on every dollar spent on the tour, or more.
High/Low Range: Specialized or high-end tours, such as adventure or luxury excursions, may offer travel agents’ commissions at the higher end of the scale, while budget-friendly or standard tours might provide lower rates.
When it comes to booking accommodations, travel agents can be a treasure trove of knowledge and resources. They assist in finding the perfect hotel that suits your clients’ preferences and budget. For their services, travel agents typically earn commissions, which can vary based on factors like the hotel’s size, type, and location.
Typical Commissions: The standard commission rate for hotel bookings falls in the range of 8% to 15% of the total room cost. This means that for every dollar the client spends on accommodation, a travel agent may earn anywhere from 8 to 15 cents as a commission.
High/Low Range: Keep in mind that commission rates can fluctuate. Luxury or boutique hotels may offer lower commissions, often closer to the lower end of the scale, while larger chain hotels, particularly for group bookings, might offer commissions at the higher end. Places like Palace Resorts usually offer a 10% commission, and luxury entities such as Excellence Collection , and Belmond , offer various commission rates. The better the relationship a travel agent forms with these luxury suppliers, the higher the probability of higher commission rates will be!
Suppliers like Atlantis Events and VACAYA cater to niche travel markets. These suppliers often offer commission rates in the range of 10% to 14% to travel agents who bring them business. Travel agents who focus on specialized markets can develop expertise in serving this unique clientele and build strong relationships with specialized suppliers to earn competitive commissions while providing tailored experiences to their clients.
In 2023, travel insurance is more essential than ever, and travel agents can earn commissions by offering these policies to their clients. The commission rates for travel insurance can range from 10% to 36%, depending on the insurance provider and the specific policy sold. Companies like Allianz Partners and Travelex are known for offering competitive commission rates. Travel agents have an opportunity to educate their clients about the importance of travel insurance and assist them in selecting the right coverage, thus earning commissions while providing valuable protection for travelers.
Travel agents who offer exclusive packages to destinations like C Lazy U Ranch or specialize in wine travel, such as Taste Vacations , can earn commissions of around 10% for bookings made through them. These niche travel experiences often attract clients seeking unique and personalized adventures. By collaborating with these specialized providers, travel agents can offer their clients memorable and customized travel experiences while earning commissions.
Rail travel is a less common but fascinating niche within the travel industry. Suppliers like Belmond Trains may offer gross pricing that can include a 15% commission, providing travel agents with an opportunity to earn commissions while promoting rail travel options. Building relationships with railway transportation suppliers can be advantageous for travel agents looking to diversify their offerings and provide clients with alternative and eco-friendly travel options.
In addition to commission rates, travel agents have the option to earn money through service or planning fees.
Service or planning fees are a subject that often sparks debate within the travel agent community. Charging a service fee is a way for agents to compensate themselves for the extensive research, skills, and expertise they invest in planning travel experiences. It is crucial for agents to approach this aspect strategically to ensure it is well-received by clients.
- First and foremost, travel agents should never apologize for their planning fees. Apologizing may inadvertently communicate desperation, which can deter potential clients. Clients prefer working with successful agents who confidently stand by the value they offer.
- Secondly, it is important to justify the service fee. Explaining the reasoning behind the fee, such as investing in ongoing education, designing personalized itineraries, or prioritizing client needs over commission rates, can help clients understand the value they receive in return.
- Lastly, agents have the option to introduce the fee quietly without a public announcement, particularly if they are new to the travel industry and do not have an extensive client base. Service fees can be a way for travel agents to establish their worth, maintain financial sustainability, and continue providing exceptional travel planning services to their clients.
In the realm of travel planning, travel agents are not only guides but also rely on commissions for their livelihood.
By having a grasp of the commission structure for various travel categories, clients are empowered to make well-informed decisions when collaborating with travel agents, and, thus, travel agents are able to establish fair fees for their services. A travel agent’s expertise can enrich a client’s overall travel experience, ensuring that their dream vacation becomes a reality.
Remember that travel agents are valuable partners in creating hard-to-forget memories. Travel agents’ commissions reflect the effort and expertise they invest in planning trips, helping their clients embark on journeys filled with adventure, relaxation, and exploration.
Meet Pickles Travel Network: The Host Agency That Makes It Easy to Start and Scale Your Travel Business
Whether you’ve just started your travel agent journey, or you’ve been on it… Pickles Travel Network has the tools and resources to help grow your business. Unlike other host agencies, we believe in letting our members choose what works best for their business. Pickles Travel Network allows you to choose your commission rate, along with whether or not you want to charge planning fees. As a member, you’ll receive instant access to our list of suppliers, several marketing platforms and monthly coaching/trainings.
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IATA | CLIA Membership
Ptn iatan code: 45769253, ptn clia number: 00032299.
When you enroll with suppliers, you must use PTN’s codes to receive a commission from us. Want to sign up for your own CLIA or IATA numbers for exclusive travel benefits? See below.
Get your own IATA/IATAN ID Card:
The IATA/IATAN ID Card is the industry-standard credential to identify bona fide travel professionals. Key benefits include access to concessionary incentives from industry suppliers. Just added, the IATA MemberPerks program provides cardholders with daily savings at over 300,000 merchants across North America.
To be eligible, you must be registered with IATAN under PTN’s IATA number 45769253, working a minimum of 20 hours per week and earning a minimum of $5,000 per annum in commissions. You’ll need to send PTN a support ticket asking for approval. Once approved, we will send you a PRIN # to allow you to register with IATAN and ask for an ID card.
Get your own CLIA EMBARK ID:
Obtain a CLIA EMBARC ID for travel discounts and FAM (Familiarization) trips. Join CLIA as an Individual Agent Member, under Pickles Travel Network CLIA #00032299.
Once you’ve registered, submit a support ticket to let us know, and we will approve your registration.
If you are a Careers on Vacation student or graduate, completed a similar training course, or are an experienced agent, you may be eligible for an alternate membership plan without access to the Travel Professionals Training Kit.
Please select the option that best describes you for more information.
- Guest Posts
8 Best Commission Ideas for Travel Agents to Revolutionize Travel Sales
8 best commissions for travel agents to boost sales, motivate agents, and ensure success in the dynamic world of travel. Dive in to elevate your earnings.
Table of Contents
Every travel agent knows the thrill of planning the perfect getaway for clients. But as with any job, there are days when motivation might wane. For those in charge of travel agencies or teams, the challenge lies in selling destinations and keeping agents inspired and driven.
Enter the world of unique commissions!
It's not just about the amount but also about how creative and appealing these incentives can be. In this blog post, we'll explore easy-to-understand and innovative commission ideas that aim to motivate travel agents, ensuring they're always excited, engaged, and eager to deliver their best. Ready to sprinkle some magic on your commission system?
Let’s get started!
What is the average commission for a travel agent?
Travel agents can earn their income in various ways, including hourly wages, salaries, commissions, or a combination thereof. Commission rates often vary based on several factors, such as the agency's agreement with suppliers, the type of booking (e.g., flight, hotel, tour package), and the complexity of the travel arrangements.
On average, here's a general breakdown of commission rates for travel agents:
- Airline tickets : Most airlines no longer pay commissions to travel agents, but there are exceptions, especially when dealing with international flights or specialized bookings. When commissions are paid, they're typically between 1% and 2%.
- Hotels : Hotel bookings can offer commissions ranging from 5% to 10% or even more, depending on the hotel and the deal the agency has with them.
- Cruises : Cruises tend to have a higher commission rate, usually between 10% and 16% of the booking's total value.
- Tour packages : Commission for organized tour packages can vary widely, but rates from 10% to 20% are common.
- Rental cars : Car rental commissions are typically lower, often around 5%.
- Travel insurance : Commissions for travel insurance can be between 15% and 40% of the premium's cost.
It's essential to note that these are average figures, and actual commission rates can vary. Travel agents may also charge clients service fees, especially for more complex travel planning or when booking components that don't offer commissions. Additionally, larger agencies with more bookings might negotiate better supplier commission rates.
How do travel agents make money?
Travel agents have various revenue streams as intermediaries between travelers and travel service providers. Their earnings often blend commissions, fees, and other incentives. Here's a breakdown of how travel agents typically make money:
- Commissions : This is the primary way many travel agents earn. When an agent books a hotel, cruise, tour, or other travel services, they receive a commission from the provider. This commission is a percentage of the cost of the booking.
- Consultation fees : Some agents charge for their expertise in planning and organizing complex trips, especially if it involves bespoke or luxury services. This is common among agents specializing in niche markets like luxury, adventure, or destination-specific travel.
- Vendor incentives : Sometimes, travel vendors offer additional incentives or bonuses for selling certain products or reaching booking quotas. These can be in the form of cash bonuses or free travel, which agents can use for personal trips or as familiarization trips to sell the experience better to clients.
- Mark-ups : In some instances, especially when dealing with tours or packages they've crafted, agents might add a markup to the net price they get from a supplier. This difference between the net price and the selling price becomes their earnings.
- Referral fees : Some agents earn money by referring clients to specialists or other service providers. For example, if a client needs specialized services outside of the agent's expertise, the agent might refer them to someone who can help and earn a fee for that referral.
- Annual bonuses : Depending on the travel agency's and vendors' agreement, some travel agents receive annual bonuses or incentives based on the volume or value of bookings throughout the year.
- Hosting events or classes : Some travel agents, especially those with deep expertise in specific areas, might host educational events or classes for travelers, earning money from entrance fees or sponsorships.
8 best commission ideas for travel agents to motivate them
Here are 8 best commission ideas for travel agents to motivate them and boost sales.
1. Tiered loyalty commission
Travel agents are rewarded with increased commission percentages based on the number of repeat clients they bring or maintain. This structure promotes agent dedication to high-quality service, motivating them to ensure clients keep returning and increasing their commission over time.
Marriott International, through its " Marriott Bonvoy" program , offers a stellar example of a tiered loyalty system in the travel sector. While primarily designed for guests, this program also benefits travel agents.
As guests frequent Marriott properties, they accumulate points, advancing through tiers like Member, Silver Elite, and Gold Elite, each offering unique perks. Having introduced clients to Marriott Bonvoy, travel agents often find these clients returning for repeat bookings at Marriott establishments, leading to consistent business.
Moreover, Marriott's "Hotel Excellence!" program trains agents to become "Hotel Sales Specialists," potentially offering them perks and special rates. While not a direct tiered commission for agents, the system encourages increased bookings, indirectly creating a tiered benefit system for them.
2. Experience-based rewards
Instead of a flat commission rate for all types of bookings, agencies offer a higher commission for selling "experiences" or niche travel packages. This could be anything from culinary tours, adventure sports holidays, and eco-tourism trips, to wellness retreats.
The idea is to encourage agents to sell richer experiences, which are often more profitable and lead to more satisfied customers.
One exemplary company in the travel sector that employs experience-based rewards for travel agencies is Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Recognizing agents' pivotal role in driving bookings, Four Seasons occasionally offers exclusive "fam" (familiarization) trips to their top-performing agents.
These trips aren't just about sightseeing; they provide agents a luxurious experience at the company's premier resorts and hotels.
The idea is simple: by immersing agents in the opulence Four Seasons offers, they are better positioned to sell these experiences to potential travelers. This hands-on approach ensures agents understand the brand's offerings intimately, allowing them to give genuine recommendations to their clients.
So, instead of just monetary rewards, the agents enjoy the luxury they promote, making their selling proposition all the more authentic.
3. Green travel incentives
As sustainable and eco-friendly travel grows in demand, agencies can offer higher commission rates for selling eco-friendly packages or accommodations. This motivates agents to promote green travel options and aligns the agency's operations with global sustainability efforts, appealing to a more environmentally-conscious clientele.
Intrepid Travel, a pioneer in responsible tourism, provides a compelling model of integrating green travel incentives within the travel industry. Driven by a commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly travel, Intrepid Travel doesn't just offer unique adventures to its clientele and incentivizes travel agents who promote these eco-conscious trips.
For instance, they might offer special recognition or bonus commissions for agents who prioritize bookings of their carbon-neutral tours or those who support local communities.
Additionally, by organizing educational trips for agents that showcase the importance of sustainable practices, Intrepid ensures that agents become ambassadors for green travel.
Such initiatives underscore the company's ethos: travel should be an experience for tourists and contribute positively to the planet and its inhabitants. By aligning agent incentives with this philosophy, Intrepid Travel makes a strong case for the intersection of business and environmental responsibility in the travel sector.
4. Dynamic commission based on feedback
Implement a system where part of the agent's commission is determined by client post-trip feedback. For every positive review or feedback form, the agent could earn an additional percentage on top of their base commission.
This emphasizes the importance of making a sale and ensuring the traveler has an exceptional experience from start to finish.
TripAdvisor , known primarily for its vast repository of traveler reviews and ratings, has also ventured into travel bookings and partnerships with travel agencies. Leveraging its core strength of user feedback, TripAdvisor has introduced a model where commissions can be influenced by the quality of experiences delivered by travel agents.
In this dynamic model, travel agents who consistently garner positive feedback and high ratings from travelers might receive higher commissions or preferential partnership terms. Conversely, agents with lower ratings might face reduced commissions until their service quality improves.
This system prioritizes the traveler's experience, ensuring that agents are incentivized to sell and provide top-tier service. By integrating real-time feedback into their commission structure, TripAdvisor reinforces the importance of customer satisfaction in the travel industry.
5. Sustainability commission
Travel agents can earn a commission by promoting sustainable travel options to their clients. This could include booking eco-friendly accommodations, recommending low-impact transportation, and suggesting activities that support local communities and the environment. Contiki , a travel company specializing in tours for young adults, demonstrates a commitment to group travel and sustainability. Recognizing the growing demand for responsible travel among younger generations, Contiki has developed tours that focus on sustainable and eco-friendly practices.
Contiki offers a "Group Sustainability Commission" for travel agents to promote this initiative and encourage bookings of these specialized tours. This means agents receive a premium commission when they organize larger group bookings for these eco-conscious tours than regular tours.
The initiative emphasizes the company’s dedication to sustainability and motivates agents to champion these green initiatives to potential travelers. Contiki is paving the way for a more sustainable future in the travel industry by intertwining the allure of group travel with a commitment to the environment.
6. Group travel loyalty commission
Travel agents can earn a commission on the initial group booking and the repeat business generated from group travelers. This commission could be tiered, increasing with each subsequent booking made by the same group or its members. Trafalgar , a long-standing operator in the guided holiday sector, has effectively utilized the Group Travel Loyalty Commission concept. Catering to diverse groups, from families to corporate outings, Trafalgar recognizes the logistical intricacies and enhanced value group bookings bring.
In response, they've set up a loyalty commission model where travel agents are rewarded more generously for recurring group bookings.
The idea is twofold: to acknowledge the efforts agents invest in orchestrating such complex arrangements and to incentivize the cultivation of repeat group business. As groups return year after year for new adventures, agents enjoy a progressive commission scale, reflecting both their clientele's volume and loyalty.
Through this model, Trafalgar ensures a steady flow of group travelers and fosters enduring relationships with the agents who make it all possible.
7. Experiential travel commission
Reward agents for curating and booking immersive, off-the-beaten-path experiences for travelers. This includes local homestays, artisan workshops, food tastings, or cultural exchange programs. Instead of just promoting popular tourist destinations, agents are incentivized to create a deeper and more authentic travel experience for their clients.
Intrepid Travel, known for its adventure and experiential travel tours, could offer a special commission program for agents who prioritize and successfully book such authentic travel experiences for clients. This encourages travel agents to focus on deeper cultural immersion and unique experiences over standard touristy options.
8. Long-stay booking commission
As the nature of work changes and more people become digital nomads or choose to work remotely from scenic destinations, there's a growing demand for longer stays (e.g., a month or more) in certain destinations.
Travel agents can earn a higher commission for long-term bookings, reflecting the value of securing accommodations and services for extended periods.
Black Tomato, a bespoke travel company, stands out for its focus on crafting unique, tailor-made journeys. Acknowledging the intricacy of these experiential trips, the company offers an "Experiential Travel Commission" to its agents.
Instead of traditional flat-rate commissions, agents are rewarded for the depth and creativity of the experiences they help design, such as private dinners in remote locales or immersive cultural activities. This approach motivates agents to elevate travel from mere sightseeing to truly transformative experiences.
These ideas cater to emerging travel trends and patterns, ensuring that travel agents are well-positioned to meet the evolving needs of modern travelers.
The future of travel agent commissions
The travel industry is continually evolving, as are commission structures for travel agents. With the rise of online booking platforms and direct bookings by consumers, some travel agents have faced challenges in maintaining their commission-based income.
However, many travelers still value the expertise and personalized service that travel agents provide, which ensures that commissions will remain a significant part of the industry.
Commission for travel agents is a crucial aspect of their income, allowing them to offer expert advice, personalized service, and added value to their clients. While the traditional commission model has evolved, travel agents continue to find creative ways to earn income, including through ancillary services and negotiated commission agreements.
Ultimately, the relationship between travel agents and their clients is built on trust, and commissions reflect agents' value to the travel experience. So, whether you're a traveler seeking expert guidance or a travel agent looking to thrive in the industry, understanding how commissions work is essential for a successful journey.
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What commission does a travel agent make?
- April 4, 2023
Travel agent commissions are a critical aspect of the travel industry and significantly impact the revenue and operations of travel agencies, tour operators and other industry stakeholders. Understanding travel agent commissions is essential for agents and suppliers, as it helps create a sustainable and profitable business model.
A travel agent commission is, typically, a percentage or fixed amount paid by travel suppliers, such as airlines, hotels, cruise lines and tour operators, to travel agents for selling their products and services. This remuneration rewards travel agents who book specific suppliers, ultimately driving more business to them.
Do travel agents get commission?
Yes, travel agents typically receive commissions from travel suppliers such as airlines, hotels and tour operators as compensation for selling their travel products and services. These commissions serve as an essential source of income for travel agents.
How travel agents earn their income
Travel agents earn their income through commissions, service fees and other revenue streams. Here’s a detailed explanation of how travel agents generate income:
- Commissions: Travel agents receive commissions from suppliers for selling their products and services. The commission rates vary depending on the supplier and the specific offering. Commissions are typically calculated as a percentage of the total booking value.
- Service fees: With the decrease in or elimination of commissions from some suppliers, travel agents have started charging service fees directly to their clients. These fees cover the agent’s time, expertise and resources to plan and book a trip. Service fees may be charged per-service basis (e.g. booking flights, hotels or car rentals) or as a flat fee for a complete travel package.
- Consultation fees: Some travel agents charge consultation fees, especially for complex or customised travel itineraries. These fees are separate from service fees and are designed to compensate the agent for the time and effort spent researching and planning the client’s trip.
- Markups: In some cases, travel agents may add a markup to the supplier’s price before presenting it to the client. This markup serves as an additional source of income for the agent. However, this practice has become less common due to increased price transparency and competition in the travel industry.
- Incentives and bonuses: Suppliers may offer incentives or bonuses to travel agents for reaching specific sales targets or promoting their products and services. These incentives can come in the form of cash bonuses, travel perks or increased commission rates.
- Corporate contracts: Travel agents specialising in corporate travel management often have contracts with companies to handle their employees’ travel needs. These contracts can provide a steady source of income through negotiated service fees and commissions.
- Referral fees: Travel agents may earn referral fees from other businesses or agents for sending clients their way. For example, an agent might receive a referral fee from a local tour operator for recommending their services to a client.
The role of commissions in travel agent compensation
Commissions play a significant role in travel agent compensation and directly impact their income and overall business sustainability. As intermediaries between travel suppliers and clients, travel agents facilitate the sale of travel products and services, and commissions are a primary form of remuneration for their efforts.
How much commission does a travel agent make?
Travel agents’ commission rates can vary significantly depending on the supplier, the type of product or service and the agent’s agreements with suppliers.
The factors that affect travel agent commissions
Several factors can affect travel agent commissions, which influence income and business sustainability.
Travel agents who establish strong relationships with suppliers, such as airlines, hotels and tour operators, are more likely to negotiate favourable commission rates. Exclusive partnerships or preferred supplier agreements may result in higher commissions for the agent. Also, agents who consistently produce high sales volumes may be eligible for higher commission rates or additional bonuses. Conversely, agents who struggle to meet sales targets may receive lower commissions.
The type of travel product or service being sold also significantly impacts commission rates. For instance, airlines, hoteliers, cruise lines and tour operators, may all offer varying commission percentages. Typically, products with higher profit margins, such as cruises and luxury accommodation, offer higher commissions.
Travel agents specialising in niche markets or specific destinations may command higher commission rates. This is because their expertise allows them to upsell additional products and services, generating more revenue for suppliers.
Larger agencies with a significant market share may have more leverage in negotiating commission rates with suppliers. Furthermore, agencies that operate on a commission-based business model, rather than charging fees to clients, may rely more heavily on commissions for their revenue and therefore negotiate for higher rates.
Finally, industry-wide changes can affect travel agent commissions. For example, regulatory changes that affect how suppliers are allowed to compensate agents or industry-wide shifts in commission structures may significantly impact agent commissions.
Examples of typical commission rates for different travel products and services
Here are some general commission rate ranges for various travel industry segments:
- Airlines: Airline commissions can range from 0% to 22%, depending on whether the flights are domestic or international. However, some airlines have reduced or eliminated commissions in recent years, prompting agents to charge service fees directly to clients or focus on other revenue streams.
- Hotels: Hotel commissions typically range between 8% and 15%, but rates can go higher for specific promotions or preferred partnerships.
- Cruise lines: Commissions for cruise bookings generally range from 10% to 20% of the total cruise fare, depending on the cruise line and the agent’s sales volume. The average is around 16% for an ocean cruise.
- Tour operators: Tour operator commissions can vary widely, from 10% to 20%. Typically they are around 16% depending on the complexity of the tour, the operator, and the agent’s relationship with the supplier.
- Car rentals: Car rental commissions average at around 10%, but these can also vary depending on the rental company and the agent’s sales volume.
- Travel insurance: Travel insurance commissions can range from 20% to 37%, depending on the insurance provider and the specific policy sold.
Notably, these commission rates are not fixed and can change based on factors such as the agent’s sales performance, special promotions or preferred partnership agreements. Additionally, some agents may negotiate higher commission rates or earn bonuses and incentives for reaching certain sales targets. Consequently, an agent’s total commission will depend on the mix of products and services they sell and their overall sales volume.
Case studies of travel agents and their commission earnings
The Travel Franchise franchisee Mark McCardie has been working for himself as a travel agent for two years. Coming from a corporate background, he now has reached sales of approximately £2 million. In just one day, he sold holidays worth £30,000 and took over £4,000 in commissions.
Miami-based travel agent, David Eisen, made over $1 million in commissions in 2021 when most travel businesses were going through a pandemic-induced lull in bookings. By focusing on the niche market of luxury travel and working hard to satisfy their every whim, Eisen won big!
Commission for travel agents – what is standard?
The standard commission rate for travel agents typically ranges from 10% to 15% of the total booking cost. However, this can vary depending on the travel agent’s experience, the type of booking (e.g., flights, hotels or travel packages) and the relationships between the agent and the suppliers.
What are the different commission structures used by travel companies?
Travel companies use various commission structures to compensate travel agents for their services. Some common commission structures used by travel companies include:
- Flat rate commission: A fixed percentage of the total booking cost is paid to the travel agent, regardless of the product or service sold. This is the most common commission structure, with rates typically ranging from 10% to 15%.
- Tiered commission: Travel agents receive a commission rate that increases as they sell more products or services. This structure incentivises agents to sell more and is often used for high-end or luxury travel services.
- Commission override: Travel agents earn a higher commission rate when they reach a certain sales threshold. For example, an agent may earn a 10% commission on all sales up to a certain amount and then a higher rate of 12% for sales beyond that threshold.
- Net rate commission: Suppliers provide travel agents with a “net rate,” which is the price at which they can sell a product or service to clients. The travel agent then adds their desired commission, usually a fixed percentage, to the net rate to determine the final selling price.
- Commission plus incentives: In addition to the standard commission, travel agents may receive incentives or bonuses for selling specific products or meeting certain sales targets. These incentives can include cash bonuses, free travel or other perks.
- Referral commission: Some travel companies pay a commission to agents who refer clients to their business. This is usually a smaller percentage of the total booking cost, as the referring agent has not made the sale themselves.
Do travel agents incur expenses?
Yes, travel agents incur expenses while running their business. These expenses can vary depending on the specific circumstances of each travel agent, such as whether they work independently, their location and the size of their operation.
What are the typical expenses that travel agents may have to pay?
Some common expenses include:
- Office expenses
- Technology and software
- Marketing and advertising
- Travel industry memberships and certifications
- Professional development and continuing education
- Insurance and licensing fees
- Networking events and trade shows
- Employee salaries and benefits (if applicable)
Understanding the financial side of being a travel agent
Understanding the financial side of being a travel agent is crucial for running a successful travel business. This involves clearly grasping the various income streams, expenses and financial management aspects associated with the profession.
Travel agents can use multiple tools and software to help manage their finances, such as accounting software, invoicing and payment systems and budgeting tools. These tools can help streamline financial processes and provide valuable insights into the business’s financial health.
It’s essential for travel agents to create a budget that outlines expected income and expenses. This helps manage cash flow and ensure the business remains financially viable. Travel agents should regularly review and update their budgets to reflect business operations and market changes.
Setting financial goals is vital for travel agents to measure success and plan for growth. These goals might include increasing sales, expanding their client base or diversifying their income streams.
Managing travel agent expenses
By effectively managing expenses, travel agents can maintain a healthy cash flow, improve profitability and ensure the long-term success of their business.
Tips and strategies for managing travel agent expenses
Here are some tips to help travel agents manage their expenses effectively:
- Create a budget: Develop a detailed budget that outlines all expected income and expenses. This makes it easy to understand where your money is going and identify areas where you can cut costs or optimise spending.
- Track expenses: Keep accurate records of all your expenses, including receipts and invoices, which allows you to monitor your spending, stay within budget and prepare for tax filings. Regularly review your expenses and compare them to your budget, which helps you identify any deviations and make necessary adjustments to stay on track.
- Use technology: Utilise financial management tools and software to help you manage your expenses more efficiently. Accounting software, invoicing and payment systems and budgeting tools can save you time and provide valuable insights into your business’s financial health.
- Negotiate with suppliers: Build strong relationships with travel suppliers and service providers, and negotiate better rates and payment terms to reduce your expenses and improve cash flow.
- Optimise marketing spend: Evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and focus on the channels that deliver the best return on investment.
Best practices for keeping business costs low
To keep business costs low, travel agents can adopt several best practices such as:
- Creating and sticking to a budget
- Leveraging technology and software
- Regularly reviewing and renegotiating contracts with suppliers
- Focusing on cost-effective marketing strategies
- Networking with other professionals
- Implementing energy-saving measures
- Investing in professional development
- Outsourcing or automating non-core tasks
- Regularly reviewing business processes to identify areas for improvement
By following these strategies, travel agents can effectively control costs, maintain a healthy cash flow and ensure a more profitable and sustainable business.
Wrapping up travel agent commissions
The travel industry offers various opportunities for travel agents to earn commissions and build a successful business. However, it’s essential to understand and effectively manage the expenses associated with running a travel agency to ensure profitability and long-term success.
The Travel Franchise can provide aspiring travel agents with the necessary support, training and resources to navigate the complexities of commissions and expenses in the industry. By joining The Travel Franchise, you can benefit from our established relationships with travel suppliers, access to industry-leading technology and ongoing professional development. This will empower you to maximise your earning potential while minimising business expenses.
If you’re considering a career as a travel agent or looking to grow your existing travel business, The Travel Franchise can help you achieve your goals. Take the first step towards building a successful and profitable travel agency by visiting our website and learning more about our opportunities.
Don’t miss out on the chance to turn your passion for travel into a thriving business. Get started with The Travel Franchise today!
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How Do Travel Agents Earn Their Commission?
What is a travel agent, how do travel agents make money, how do travel agents get paid, do travel agents make a commission on everything they sell, how do travel agents make money on airfare, how do travel agents make money on hotels, how do travel agents make money on cruises, how do travel agents make money on tours and attractions, how do travel agents make money on car rentals, how do travel agents make money on travel insurance.
Ever wonder how do travel agents earn their commission? Here’s a quick explanation of how they get paid.
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A travel agent is a professional who arranges the sale and purchase of transportation, accommodations, tours, and trips. They work with airlines, hotels, cruise lines, tour operators, and ground transportation companies to find the best options for their customers. Travel agents use their relationships with suppliers to get the best price and value for their clients.
Travel agents typically earn a commission from the companies they book travel arrangements with. The commission is a percentage of the total cost of the trip. For example, if you book a hotel room through a travel agent, the agent may earn 10% of the room rate as commission. Some travel agents also charge a service fee to cover their time and expenses in arranging your trip.
Travel agents make their money in a variety of ways. The most common is through commissions paid by the airlines, hotels, and other companies that provide travel services. These companies generally pay a higher commission to travel agents than they do to individuals who book their own travel. In some cases, the travel agent may also charge a service fee for booking travel arrangements.
Travel agents typically earn a commission from the airlines they book travel with, as well as from hotels, resorts, and tour operators. Many travel agents also charge a service fee to cover their time and expertise.
No, travel agents only receive a commission on some items. airfare, cruises, hotels, and vacation packages. They do not receive a commission on other items such as insurance, incidentals (car rentals, souvenirs, etc.), or business expenses.
Broadly speaking, travel agents make money in three ways: commissions, fees, and markups. Commissions are the most common form of compensation in the industry, and they are paid by airlines, hotels, tour operators, and other suppliers. Fees are charged for services rendered, such as booking a hotel room or renting a car. And markups are added to the cost of airfare and other products sold by travel agencies.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how travel agents make money, as each agency has its own business model. Some focus on selling airfare and earn a commission on every ticket they sell. Others may charge a fee for their services. And still others may add a markup to the prices of products they sell.
The important thing to remember is that travel agents are experts in their field and can save you time and money on your travels. If you’re looking to book a trip, be sure to consult with a travel agent to get the best deal possible.
For the most part, travel agents make their money by receiving commissions from hotels and resorts. These commissions are a percentage of the total cost of the stay, and they are paid to the travel agent by the hotel or resort once the guest checks out.
In some cases, travel agents may also charge a service fee to their clients. This fee is separate from any commissions that the agent may receive, and it is generally used to cover the cost of things like making reservations and providing other services.
Travel agents typically earn a commission from the cruise line when they book a cruise for their clients. The commission is a percentage of the total cost of the cruise, and it varies depending on the cruise line. For example, Royal Caribbean offers travel agents a 10% commission on the total cost of the cruise, while Carnival offers a 7% commission.
One common way is for the tour or activity company to pay the agent a commission, which is a percentage of the total price paid by the customer. For example, if you book a tour that costs $100 per person and the commission rate is 10%, the agent will earn $10 per person.
Some travel agents also receive a small fee from the tour or activity company for each booking they make. This fee is sometimes called a service fee. For example, if you book a tour that costs $100 per person and the service fee is $10, the agent will earn $10 for making the booking.
In some cases, travel agents may also receive a kickback from the tour or activity company. A kickback is an extra payment that is given to the agent for making a booking with a particular company. For example, if you book a tour that costs $100 per person and the kickback is $5, the agent will earn an extra $5 for making the booking.
There are three ways that travel agents make money on car rentals. The first is by markup. The second is by earned commission, and the third is by a combination of both.
markup works like this: the travel agent calls the car rental company and books the rental car for you. They add a percentage onto the cost of the rental car, and that’s how they make their money. For example, if the cost of the rental car is $100 and the travel agent marks it up by 10%, then you’ll pay $110 for the rental car.
The second way that travel agents make money is by earned commission. When a travel agent books a rental car for you, they earn a commission from the rental car company. The amount of commission varies depending on the rental car company, but it’s typically around 10%. So, if the cost of the rental car is $100, then the travel agent will earn $10 in commission.
The third way that travel agents make money is by a combination of markup and earned commission. In this case, the travel agent will mark up the cost of the rental car AND earn commission from the rental car company. For example, if the cost of the rental car is $100 and the travel agent marks it up by 10% AND earns 10% commission from the rental company, then you’ll pay $121 fortherentalcar($110+$11).
Most insurance contracts have a provision known as the “agent’s clause” which says that the company will not be liable for any losses incurred by the policyholder as a result of the negligence of the agent. This means that if you book your travel insurance through a travel agent, you may be responsible for any losses that occur as a result of their negligence. In order to protect themselves from this liability, many travel agents will add a surcharge to the price of the policy. This surcharge is generally 10% of the premium, but can be higher or lower depending on the agent.
Do Travel Agents Get Commission On Cruise Excursions?
Most cruise lines don’t pay commission to travel agents when they book shore excursions. Some of them do. The agents are paid commission on the whole inclusive package when shore excursions are included.
Do Carnival cruise agents get commission?
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Depending on the volume of booking, carnival commission rates can be as high as 16 percent.
A suggested starting price is $3 per person for a half day tour and $6 per person for a full day tour for the guide and $1 to $2 for the bus driver. It is possible to increase that amount based on your experience.
It is possible to book a cruise through a travel agent. A good travel agent will talk to you about your travel needs and suggest cruises that are best for you.
The commission paid by our vacation package suppliers is usually 10% to 15%.
The average annual pay for a Cruise Travel Agent in the United States is over forty thousand dollars.
The commission paid by most mass-market cruise lines is 10%.
To be eligible for a complimentary cruise, travel agents must complete all six levels of the Carnival Passport sales and marketing training initiative.
When you don’t tip, you don’t hurt the corporation. The pool of funds that hard- working service employees share at the end of the journey is being lowered. You don’t have to worry about tipping on your cruise because there are automatically added gratuities.
Travel agents might be overkill if your trip is complicated. The process may be simpler for an experienced traveler. You have to deal with someone else’s schedule if you rely on a travel agent.
Is it possible for me to book a shore excursion on my own? Yes, that is correct. I use a lot of factors to decide if I should take a ship’s tour, an independent excursion or just explore on my own.
There is an onboard spending credit of up to $300 per couple that can be used on select sailings.
The average annual pay for a Carnival Cruise Line Reservation Agent in the US is less than the national average. There are 2 data points collected from employees, users, and past and present job advertisements on Indeed.
The average annual pay for a Carnival Cruise Line Travel Agent in the US is over $50,000, which is more than the national average.
How much is the Carnival Cruise Line paid? The average salary for Carnival Cruise Line is $43,168 per year. The lowest earner at Carnival Cruise Line is paid $23,000 a year, while the highest earner is paid over $81,000. Some departments have higher salaries than others.
The bonus can be claimed if you mention the word “appreciation” at the time of booking. Through the end of May, Carnival is giving travel advisers the chance to book a personal cruise vacation for departures through September 30, 2022, at a reduced price. The promotion includes all U.S.- and Europe- based ships.
What commission does a travel agent earn?
Travel agents can earn from 10-19% depending on the package
They now earn 0% on airline sales .. most Airlines no longer pay commisions
Commisions thend to be higher with crusie lines that agent sells more of.
Theses are the commisions paid to the agency .. the agency then pays the agent, if that agent is on a commission
Add your answer:
How much does an insurance agent earn?
Many insurance agents earn their money by commission. If they do not earn commission, many would make around $25,000 and more yearly.
A real estate agent earns about a 6 commission on each house sold. How much commission would an agent earn on a house that sold for 125000?
What is a commissionable booking.
A commissionable rate is a term for a travel agent. When a travel agent books most hotel rooms, the hotel pays the travel agent a commission, usually 10%. However, when a travel agent books some highly discounted rates then the hotel does not pay the agent a commission. In these cases the travel agent just charges the client a rate that is slightly higher than the rate they are paying the hotel. So those rates which your travel agent will get commission are called commissionable rates. It's not anything that travellers need to worry themselves with.
A real estate agent earns about a 6 percent commission on each house sold How much commission would an agent earn on a house that sold for 125000?
Do travel agents earn commission on sales or are they paid by the hour.
Actually, the answer is, "yes." I was, until this past June, a travel agent for 16 years. The cruiselines, tour companies, hotels and car rental agencies pay travel agencies a commission for selling their products. The airlines, by and large, do not, hence the service fee attached to airline ticket transactions. The agency, not the individual agent, collects the commission. So, if your travel agent is self-employed, he/she is paid strictly on commission. If your travel agent is employed by an agency, chances are most likely that he/she makes either a salary or an hourly wage, plus some sort of bonus based on sales volume. Since the price you will pay for your travel purchase does not differ whether you purchase from an agent or direct from the travel provider, your best bet is to find an agent you trust in a well-established agency, use a credit card for your protection, and take advantage of the resources, personized service and wealth of knowledge your travel agent can provide you. It is essentially a free service to you. here it is in simpler words yes
What are the main sources of income of a travel agency?
There are many income source of travel agencies like.1. Travel agents may invest money received from his customers as deposits and earn profit.2 .The travel agents collect commission from the customers on the facilities, services provided and by coordinating the customers.3 . As a commission agent travel agency collects commission by sailing the principal's services such as hotel, airlines, transport.all-asia-travel.com
What is travel and tourism commission level?
The travel agencies used to make their money by selling airline tickets to a customer... and adding a commission to the price of the ticket. That was paid by the airline or the ticket-buyer. It was their payment for a service rendered to the customer (and a service for the airline since the airline wants to fill the planes). If the commissions are low, it is cheap to use a travel agent. it might save a flyer 1 hour on the phone to the airline. She just calls the travel agent to do that. If commissions are high, a buyer will avoid the travel agent. The airline will avoid the travel agent. Unless the agent does enuf extra work to justify the high commission.
What is commission levels in travel and tourism?
I am travel agent how can i booking rooms in hilton with commission.
If you do not know how then you are not a travel agent.You draw up a contract with the hotel company.
How much real estate commission do new home sales agents earn?
A real estate agent can earn usually from five to ten percent of a commission based on how much the property was sold for. they could earn more or less depending on how much the property is worth and what percentage the owner is willing to pay for the agent to sell his property.
When does real estate agent earn commission?
The real estate agent earns the commission for selling a home or for representing a buyer who has a completed the purchase and sales agreement and ultimate closing on a piece of real property. The commission is paid to the broker of record at the closing, or settlement in some states, has occurred.
Is it better to book a travel deal online rather than a through a travel agent?
If you are looking for something that is more affordable then it is better to book the travel deal online. A travel agent works off of commission so the prices will be higher then online.
Moscow Travel Guide
7 Best Things To Do in Moscow
Updated February 11, 2021
Art, museums and history reign supreme in Moscow, one of the most pristinely and magnificently preserved cities. This beautiful walking city is also recommended for couples. Here you can stroll through 15th-century cathedrals, explore Russian
- All Things To Do
Red Square Red Square free
One of the world's most famous public squares, the Red Square sits at the physical center of Moscow and is considered the symbolic center of all of Russia. Bluntly speaking, Red Square is a must-see in the city. Allot a decent amount of time to take in the views, capture them on your camera and to just soak in the atmosphere of the place.
You'll find the Red Square is bordered by the massive GUM shopping mall on the east, St. Basil's Cathedral on the south, the State Historical Museum on the north and Lenin's Mausoleum on the west.
Tretyakov Gallery Tretyakov Gallery
Many say the Tretyakov Gallery features the best collection of Russian fine art in the world. This museum is filled to the brim with masterpieces ranging from the 11th century to the 20th century. The gallery is actually comprised of two buildings, often referred to as the "Old Tretyakov" and the "New Tretyakov."
If you make time for only one museum in Moscow, make sure it's this one. Frommer's says, "This collection of masterpieces awes both newcomers to Russian art and connoisseurs." With works from Russian icons like Vrubel and Kadinsky dotted throughout the museum, you could easily find yourself whiling away the whole day here.
St. Basil's Cathedral St. Basil's Cathedral
St. Basil's Cathedral, also known by its much longer title as the Cathedral of Intercession of Theotokos on the Moat , is the most iconic landmark in Russia. It's located in Red Square , immediately recognizable by its unique bonfire-style design.
Built in the mid-16th century under the orders of Ivan the Terrible himself, (a popular legend says he had the architect blinded to prevent him from duplicating the beauty) St. Basil's Cathedral is most known for its vibrantly colored onion domes. Frommer's says the cathedral is "essentially a union of nine different churches and styles, and nine different chapels, beneath nine domes, each unique in size, form, and color."
Cathedral of Christ the Savior Cathedral of Christ the Savior free
The Cathedral of Christ the Savior is located along the bank of the Moscow River and only a few blocks away from the Kremlin . Tourists come to the cathedral for its impressive architecture and design, as well as for its equally impressive (and strange) history.
The cathedral was originally built to commemorate the Russian victory over Napoleon in 1812 and to honor the soldiers who gave their lives fighting him. Then in 1931, Stalin had the structure dynamited to make room for his Palace of the Soviets project -- an ambitious skyscraper (it would have been the tallest structure in the world) that never materialized. Instead, the site was transformed in 1958 into the Moscow Pool, one of the largest public swimming pools in the world. The pool closed in 1994 and the cathedral was rebuilt in its place in 1997.
Moscow Kremlin Moscow Kremlin
Often referred to simply as "The Kremlin," this fortress is located in the center of Moscow, off of the Red Square . It is the most well known of the Kremlins (Russian citadels) and serves as the official residence of the Russian President. The Kremlin encompasses four cathedrals, four palaces and a number of towers.
One of the major highlights here is the Armory Palace, one of the city's oldest museums. The Armory Palace was originally the royal Russian arsenal where weapons were produced and stored. It wasn't until the early 1800s that it was converted into a museum. Now, it showcases Western European, Asian and Russian weapons and armor, as well as several collections of work from goldsmiths, silversmiths and jewelers. Don't miss the Fabergé egg exhibit.
Lenin's Mausoleum Lenin's Mausoleum free
Lenin's Mausoleum is located in Red Square and is probably one of the stranger tourist attractions you'll ever come across. It contains the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin, a disturbing site that has been on display almost every day since his death in 1924.
Lonely Planet says, "Whether for the creepiness value or an interest in mummification, the granite tomb of Lenin is a must-see, especially since (if some people get their way) the former leader may eventually end up beside his mum in St Petersburg." Apparently, the Bolsheviks leader made a specific request to be buried alongside his mother before he died.
Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts is located on Volkhonka Street across from the Cathedral of Christ the Savior . It houses the largest collection of European art in Moscow, and it was named in honor of one of Russia's premier poets, Alexander Pushkin.
You don't go here to read sonnets, though. Instead, you should look to find art spanning a wide range of eras and movements, from ancient Greece to the Renaissance to French Impressionism. Masterpieces from the likes of Renoir, Cézanne, Picasso and Van Gogh easily make this museum deserving of a visit.
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One of the Best Travel Agency in Moscow, Russia
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