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How a Travel Advisor Gets Paid...What You Should Know


Have you ever wondered how travel advisors get paid? You may be surprised to learn that we may have to wait months to receive commission made on the trip you just booked.



Commission is a travel advisors main source of income. It does not take into account the time we spend researching, planning, revisions, communicating with you, communicating with a supplier, putting your documents together, confirming bookings prior to travel, handling mishaps during travel, or the other costs associated with owning and operating a business. It is not uncommon for a travel advisor to wait on hold for 2-4 hours to speak to the person that can actually solve the problem you're having while on vacation...all while you lounge on that beautiful beach.


Travel advisors have had to add another layer to their planning, which includes staying up-to-date with ever changing travel requirements and handling the now commonplace flight delays and cancellations. There are also travelers that ask for the perfect itinerary and book themselves after all the work is done.


Commissions are a small percentage of a booking. Specific fees, such as resort fees, port fees, taxes and a few others are not part of the commissionable rate, and flights are not considered commissionable 99% of the time. Commission is considered payment from the supplier (hotel, cruise line, tour operator) for referring and booking you with them.


Most of the time you are already paying our commission. When you pay $200 a night for a hotel room, or $1500 per person for a cruise, the commission is built into the cost and is either kept by the company when you book direct or paid to your travel advisor when booking through him/her.


Now we wait. That's right, travel advisors don't get paid until right before you travel, or up to two weeks after you travel. If it's January and you book a trip for October, we don't receive commission until October/November. And if you cancel your trip, we usually don't get paid at all!


Travel advisors have started charging a professional planning fee. This fee allows us to offer service beyond just booking, as well as being able to take non-commissionable items into consideration when planning your trip, such as offering local recommendations, reservations, and event tickets. It also ensures that we receive a little compensation for spending our time putting together a custom proposal, even if you choose not to book with us.


What do you think? Do you have any questions about using a Certified Travel Advisor? Let's chat! Click below to email me.




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