A travel agent invoice is issued to clients who received trip advice or booking services, travelers insurance, travel documentation, or other trip planning assistance. Travel agents can work on their own as consultants or can be employed by a travel agency. They can be compensated via commissions from the companies they promote or book through, on a per-service basis, or as a percentage of the entire trip. The services that are provided by travel agents can not only save clients money, but they can ensure that travelers are protected in the case of a missed flight, or in the event that a trip or ticket on the itinerary is canceled.
What is a Travel Agent and What do they do?
A travel agent, also called a “travel advisor,” “booking agent,” or “travel consultant,” is an advisor that assists solo and group travelers with the oftentimes complex process of booking flights, hotels, cruises, travel packages, and attractions in a manner that makes sense for the traveler(s), while saving them considerable amounts of money in the process. Travel agents can either advise their clients on the actions they should take, or they can sell tickets or packages to them directly. According to neuvoo, a few of the responsibilities and tasks travel agents can be responsible for include:
- Informing and advising clients of any necessary information regarding their desired trip
- Planning and organizing trips for individuals, solo, and business travelers
- Selling the necessary travel insurance to their clients
- Conducting research to find new and exciting travel spots
- Maintaining and forming beneficial relationships with hotels, flight providers, cruise lines and other providers
- Being on-call for fixing or assisting a client’s booking issue
The above tasks may be common for travel agents as a whole, but the more specific day-to-day tasks of agents can differ greatly due to agents specializing in different destinations, traveler type, and methods of transportation.
How do Travel Agents Make Money?
Travel agents make money by charging service fees for setting up itineraries (and the services listed above), as well as commissions from the airlines, cruise lines, hotels, and other companies they book their clients with. The commissions travel agents earn varies significantly depending on both the number and type of bookings that were sold.
According to Host Agency Reviews, the average commissions according to the type of supplier are the following:
- Hotels: 10%
- Car Rental: 10%
- Tour Operator: 10-16%
- Boutique Tour Operator: 10-15%
- Ocean Cruise: 10-16%
- River Cruise: 10-17%
- Insurance: 20-37%
Travel agencies can earn two (2) types of commissions for their referrals; flat and tiered commission rates. Flat rates are just as they sound – regardless of the amount bookings they refer, the commission percentage stays the same. Tiered commissions, on the other hand, provide agents that have annual sales above a certain figure receive an increase in their commission. There is no standard – each company has its own tiers and the percentage increases of each. Tiers are not limited to sales figures but can be tied to the number of passengers that were booked for the provider’s service as well.
Travel Agent Salary & Hourly Rate ($/hr)
Salary: $35,842/yr (source: glassdoor)
Hourly rate: $15.12/hr (source: PayScale)