What’s the typical travel agent salary?

Elvis Elvis

Soon after graduation from AAA travel institute I learned that the average travel agent makes about 20,000 per year. Can you believe that? I was certainly stunned when I learned this. I knew then that I wanted to become a travel agent but I was not about to spend about 40 – 50 hours per week to make 20,000 per year, no way!!!

The worst part about beginning a career as a travel agent was no commissions for the first two years, at least all the agencies I applied in my area. They figure that whoever comes through that door is not your customer until you can retain it by offering quality service and you keep them for two years.

Let me tell you that the travel agents I was around for 5 months worked long hours researching for deals for clients after hours and you do not get paid until that traveler makes the reservation. Yes, there are many perks and discounts for being a travel agent but the salary is still very low.

Ways to make more money with your home based travel business may be right next door

Ok, you are probably saying: “what else is there besides making commissions on travel through my travel agent home business”.

You will be surprised!!

Ok, let’s see think of how AAA or any other agency makes a commission with a hotel, car rental, or airline – by developing a business relationship. You sell and recommend their product and the agency you work for or a company that you are affiliated with independently splits the commission with you.

Let’s see how you can be your own “big” company and how you can begin to create a relationship with lodging owners without having to split a commission with another agency.

Whats the typical travel agent salary?

Independent and Privately Owned Lodging – Great Opportunity – Your own travel preferred account.

  • Profits are nearer than you think – Think of all the family owned hotels, bed & breakfasts, villas and guest houses that are not available through the “big” travel companies and online. These can be in your own home town, a popular town a couple of hours away or your favorite vacation destination that you know a lot about.
  • 100 % commissions – You can make a great living by making commissions with those property owners by booking a stay for a client. They will be more than happy if you increase their reservations and they will gladly pay you a commission, this has been my experience. Villa owners usually have their property listed with a real estate agent and they pay them as much as 15% per booking. I have seen villas in the Caribbean for as much as 10,000 per week, think of the possible commissions. You can charge them less which will be very appealing to them and you got yourself a client.
  • Using your expertise to get clients -  By you being a travel agent you are seen as a professional and a person that is knowledgeable about the business, you are the perfect person for this great profitable opportunity. Let’s say you live in a very historic Victorian town that attracts a decent amount of tourists and visitors to the area. You already know about the town and you have all the information that a visitor would need an want. Market your expertise in town and perhaps you can create a website to give more publicity to the town like I did for the island of Vieques (see my successful business page for details on how I did it and ideas). You make an extra income by offering advertising space and you can also book for small hotels and again make a nice commission that you do not need to share with a “parent” agency. You are in control, you are the boss, you are the expert by making yourself the town’s travel agent and your town will love you for giving that extra publicity to the town. The best is doing something that you love and you are interested in. You must think outside the box, there is so much more than simply selling a package to a client in the Caribbean or an exotic location, your best income opportunity could be right next to you.

Travel agent salaries and business after the internet

Making money as a travel agent in today’s world after the internet has really changed and it has become more challenging. Major companies online competing to offer the best rates available to book-it-yourself travelers on the internet. Many airlines and cruise lines have either cut down on commissions or will not pay them at all. So travel agencies are now forced to charge fees on top of the reservation in order to make a living. This is not good for business and this is driving away travelers from seeking the help of travel agents in order to save on “middle person fees”.

Unless you have worked for a travel agency for years and were able to build a strong and loyal clientele, I have to be honest with you and tell you that getting clients and making the sale can be quite a challenge for most home based travel agents, therefore your travel agent salary will not be as good as you envisioned.

I have seen many travel agencies open and close in my community due to the lack of business and not offering competitive rates and packages to the clientele they do get. So how does an independent home based travel agent survive and makes a living in this highly competitive industry?

You need to think outside the box and use your travel agent expertise and put it to work on the internet.

You CAN make more money even after life on the internet

Becoming an online travel agent will give you an edge and you can beat the big travel companies online. Yes !! you can !! Good News, you can take on the challenge, succeed and make a very good living by adapting to the changes on the travel industry today; but you must be willing and be open minded to try to monetize in non-traditional monetization methods used by most travel agents today. I will tell you now all the other ways that you can maximize exposure to your business and make more commissions and profit and double or even triple your current travel agent salary.

Take your travel agent business online and discover the possibilities.

The greatest fear and most challenging idea was for me to take my independent travel business online. How in the world can I compete against those big companies like Expedia, Travelocity, Airline companies, etc. Soon I discovered through searching on directories like DMOZ and reading their guidelines that the internet was really meant to be a source of information. Editors of great directories and search engines are not really looking for another sales pitch or a product. Of course we do search and do a lot of shopping online, but most informed consumers are really seeking for information about a product especially when it is related to travel and a destination.