To Charge or Not to Charge: A Breakdown of Fees for Travel Agents

In the past, a travel agent charging a fee for their services was unheard of. But the value of travel agents has become more apparent than ever, especially since the impact of COVID-19 on the industry has been a significant one. It’s now becoming more mainstream for these professionals to charge fees for their services.

The Problem with Not Charging Service Fees

For almost every agent in the travel industry, whether they hold a Florida travel agency license, a New York travel agent license, or credentials anywhere else, the bulk of their income still comes from commissions. It isn’t always easy to earn a sustainable income on commissions alone.

Commissions don’t account for the countless hours agents spend ironing out all kinds of details for their travelers. Hence, many people now believe that travel agents should be charging service fees, especially when they save their clients so many hours of their own planning, research, booking, and revising.

It Can Be Difficult “Asking” for Money

While it’s easy to say that travel agents need to be their own advocates, it isn’t always easy to ask for money. Many people aren’t comfortable with it and don’t have it as a part of their daily MO. 

Some agents use the “no fees” promise as part of their marketing platform, and this is okay. If you do want to begin charging fees, consider starting out by charging for certain services and not others. 

Have a Florida Travel Agency License? Or a License in Any Other State? Charge for These Services

No matter where you operate your business, you’ve worked hard to get your travel agent license and establish yourself as a travel advisor. Consider charging for the following services, if nothing else:

Booking Non- or Low-Commissionable Reservations

These include smaller vendors, independent hotels, and even leisure air travel bookings.

Booking Air-Only Travel

Charging a fee for air ticketing is not uncommon for corporate travel agents, so leisure agents can follow suit as well.

Booking FITs or Anything that Is Customized

By default, it takes agents more time to create and book FIT itineraries, and it makes sense to be compensated for the extra time and effort.

Booking Add-Ons

Travel advisors who offer personalized “concierge” services, including in-depth planning of itineraries, should be compensated for the research, ticketing, and ongoing maintenance that is created with add-ons.

A Final Tip for Travel Agents

As a travel agent, you don’t click a magic button or wave a wand to pull travel itineraries, reservations, and plans together; you work really, really hard at it. If you’re not comfortable charging blanket fees for your services, consider starting out by charging only for some services.