Is this going to cost extra?

I started my travel business in February of this year, and the question I have been asked the most has been, How much extra will it cost to book my vacation through you.  In general, the answer is nothing.  I was very surprised to find out how many people had no idea how a travel agent got paid.  But if they had never booked with one why would they know?

With the dawn of internet booking sites like Expedia and Travelocity, fewer people turned to travel agents to book travel.  The role of the travel agent became less understood along with their method of receiving compensation.  That’s completely understandable, which is why I decided to write this post.

I think a lot of people avoid travel agents, assuming it will cost them more to book with them than getting on the web and doing it themselves.  Hopefully, this post will clear some things up for some people.

My main source of revenue comes from the suppliers themselves.  When I book a cruise or hotel package for a client, that cruiseline or hotel company pays me a percentage of the trip cost as commission.  That percentage can range from 10-15%.  The client still pays the exact same amount for their vacation, but the supplier, i.e. Sandals, Royal Caribbean pays me for booking my client with them.  Sometimes they will offer bonus booking incentives of a certain amount ($25, $50) per booking to give agents an added reason for booking their clients with them.

The other source of revenue would come from service or consultation fees, which I have not found the need to implement thus far.  I got into the travel business because I am passionate about travel, and I am blessed to do this as a supplemental income to my husband.  I am not worried about making as much money as I can.  I enjoy it that much!  The only time I would charge a service fee would be for airline tickets, and that is only because airlines do not pay commissions any longer.  Generally, service fees are very nominal for the help and guidance you receive from an agent.

A service fee that I would implement but have not done so yet is a Plan-to-Go fee.  This would only come into play with people who have called me before and wanted me to look into a trip for them.   I researched and got prices and sent them a quote, then never heard from them about booking.  If this were to happen more than once, I would charge a Plan-to-Go fee of $50 or whatever I decide.  Remember, I haven’t had to do this.  If the people end up booking, the fee would go towards the cost of their trip.  If not, I would keep it as compensation for my time spent on the research.

I hope this has cleared up the question of how travel agents get paid.  For more information on this, check out this great article for a bit more in-depth information.


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