The Key to Making More Money as a Travel Agent

Let’s talk about money.

As Pink Floyd so wisely said,

 Money, it’s a gas

Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash

 (You hear the music in your head, don’t you? You’re welcome.)

 

Seriously, when you think of working as a travel agent, the last thing you think of is spreadsheets and financial analysis. That’s not the fun part.

Travel is the fun part – but money is a very necessary part. If you aren’t making money, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby. If your goal is to have a hobby that’s fine.

But if your goal is to support yourself – and possibly even your family – with your travel business then you need to think about how you make money. You need to make sure you are maximizing your income-producing potential.

 

That all starts (literally) with fees.

Fees are a critical part of making money as a travel advisor. YOU SHOULD BE CHARGING FEES. Period.

There is only one group of agents who shouldn’t be charging fees – those who are still operating in an old-school “booking” capacity. They aren’t providing service, but just handling the booking. Those types of agents are disappearing quickly. Whereas travel agents (or travel advisors) who provide a high level of service are in high demand.

Many travel agents think clients won’t pay fees. You’re wrong. There are millions of dollars collected in fees from other travel advisors. For something as valuable as their vacation, clients will gladly pay a fee IF they understand the value they are getting.

Think about all you do for your clients. It is a lot! From your expertise in crafting the perfect vacation to all of those amazing documents and gifts, you send them. They should be paying for that service. Can you think of one other industry where the client doesn’t pay for the service they receive? I can’t. Seriously, I can’t. If you can, please email me and enlighten me.

 

The commission you receive from suppliers is a thank you. Look at it as a bonus – not your main income stream. I know that’s a revolutionary statement, but just imagine if for a moment. What if your commission was the icing on the cake?

I believe that travel advisors should charge professional fees that they keep which some people call “service”, “professional”, or “consultation” fee. This is the same type of fee you pay an attorney, realtor, or accountant. It is a fee the client pays for service. Not something applied to the trip.

It is a great way to up-level your brand – especially if you want to work with more luxury clients. They expect to pay a fee, and if you aren’t charging one, they may wonder if you are as qualified as they thought you were.

The secret to successfully charging professional fees: You have to believe you are worth it. That’s it. If you don’t believe you deserve a fee, you will struggle to collect them.

 

To get started with fees, begin by understanding why you deserve to be paid a fee. Write down every single thing you do for a client. Don’t forget to include things that you have access to like your amazing agency community and/or consortia. Think about the guidance, information, advice, you provide. Sure, some of what you share they could find online, but that takes time. And they are coming to you to make their life easier.

Much of what you do for them they could never get on their own. You connect them with things they didn’t even know were possible. A private tour of the Louvre with a curator. A picnic for two in the middle of their favorite vineyard in Italy with wine selected just for them. A private shore excursion to celebrate their anniversary. You make all that and more possible because you learn about what they want for their vacation and go to work creating it for them.

 

Next week, I will dig into more about what those fees look like: how much to charge, how you present it, and more.

Until then, you have homework: make that list of what you do for your clients. Even if you are currently charging fees I encourage you to do this. You might find out that you need to charge more.

You should also consider what you could do. What if you had 25% fewer clients and made the same amount of money – or maybe more? What else would you do to WOW your clients?

 

Let’s be real. There are so many rock stars in our industry who are working for too little money. You deserve to be paid more. You have a wealth of information, valuable connections, and provide a very high level of service. You deserve to be compensated for it! You deserve to be able to not only travel but travel well like your clients do!

Pink Floyd might have been talking about you when they said,

I’m in the high-fidelity first class traveling set

And I think I need a Lear jet

Gifted Travel Network, Inc. | 425 E. Statesville, Suite 101, Mooresville, NC 28115 | (877) 982‐2842

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