How Much Money do Travel Agents Make

How Much Money do Travel Agents Make?

What is the great news about being a travel agent in 2024? People are sick of dealing with call centers of giant online travel retailers and are opting to use the personal experience and first-hand knowledge of a local travel agent!

This is where you come in!

Many of our travel agents have so many clients, they’re on track to have a record-breaking year in their travel business.

Story time!

Angie was a brand new travel agent with our team. In 3 years, she became a millionaire agent!

Angie has been a travel agent for 3 years. Her first career was an elementary school teacher. She’s well traveled and always game for adventure. Angie will help anyone, and learned the ropes of being a travel agent very quickly. She’s just a really likable person. She won a travel rookie of the year award in 2021. Angie lives in the Tulsa metro, has 3 kids and lots of pets.

Read more about Angie’s story, below.

Let’s dive in…

Travel agents’ earnings can vary significantly based on their work structure, location, specialization, and the type of clients they serve. Income for travel agents often includes a base salary plus commissions and bonuses for bookings and sales of travel packages, insurance, and other travel-related services – if you charge planning fees, this could also be included.

Pros and Cons of Different Working Arrangements in the Travel Industry:

Full-time Employee of a Travel Agency

Pros:

  • Stable Income: Regular salary plus potential bonuses and commissions.
  • Benefits: Access to benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans.
  • Training and Resources: Often provided with training and access to proprietary booking systems and resources.
  • Less Financial Risk: The agency covers business overhead costs.

Cons:

  • Less Flexibility: Set work hours and potentially less freedom to choose clients or travel products.
  • Income Cap: Salary and commissions are often structured, potentially limiting earning potential compared to owning a business.

Independent Contractor

Pros:

  • Flexibility: Typically total control over your schedule, clients, travel products, destinations, etc.
  • Higher Commission Rates: Potentially earn more per booking than as a full-time employee.
  • Work from Anywhere: Ability to work remotely and manage your business online.
  • Overhead is low, as you mostly need a phone, computer and an internet connection.

Cons:

  • No Benefits: Lack of employer-provided benefits like health insurance, 401-k, etc.
  • Inconsistent Income: Earnings directly tied to sales performance, leading to income changes.
  • Self-Employment Costs: Responsible for your own taxes, insurance, and business expenses.

Owning Your Own Travel Agency

Pros:

  • Highest Earning Potential: Keep the full profit margin minus business expenses.
  • Brand Control: Full control over your brand, marketing, and business direction.
  • Build Equity: Opportunity to build a business that has value beyond your personal production.

Cons:

  • Financial Risk: Initial investment required, and income can be unpredictable, especially in the early stages.
  • Operational Responsibilities: Managing all aspects of the business, including marketing, finances, and customer service.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Responsible for ensuring the business complies with all relevant laws and industry regulations.

Each of these working arrangements has its own set of advantages and challenges. The best choice depends on your personal goals, financial situation, and how much autonomy and responsibility you want in your career as a travel agent.

Angie’s Advice for New Travel Agents

Understand that there will probably be days or at times in the beginning, weeks) where you’re not booking anything so it’s going to feel like a lot of work for zero money.

It’s important to keep your boundaries clear otherwise you won’t have a life and you’ll burn out and your family will probably not like you very much).

Don’t take rejections personally – this is sales and you’ll fail more than you’ll succeed, especially in the beginning.

Less is more – don’t give alllll the info ever created.

Give important things (price, coverage, etc) but don’t bog them down with a million details all at once. They won’t read it or it’ll create more confusion.

Be consistent with marketing.

Keep at it – I kept a monthly calendar to mark bookings for a long time for tracking and motivation.

If you’re working a full time job and doing travel “on the side” understand that when you refer to your full time job as your “real job” to your clients or just in conversation, potential clients (everyone is a potential client) won’t take you seriously.

Travel. I traveled to a new location every month my first full year. People want your experience – they can Google just as easily as you can but they want real experience and expertise. I also think when you showcase where you’ve been, there’s a way to do it without seeming like you’re bragging. I’ve seen posts before where it has a bragging undercurrent and that’s a huge turnoff.

Confidence, not arrogance.

Be accessible (but still keep boundaries).
Pick a few spots to get to know really well – just because the world is wide open doesn’t mean you have to take every location. | started with Mexico/Caribbean for almost a year and then slowly worked outward. But find a niche where you know a lot and push that.

RESEARCH on your own!! Don’t ask questions on forums UNTIL you’ve researched. It’s lazy and people won’t take you seriously. Take your education seriously and take control of it.
Also. Call the TO you’re quoting with. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called AAV (bless them all for their patience with me my first year). Not only did I learn things from them but I was able to form relationships with their VIP agents – If you think through your questions first, they are willing to help. Pick their brains (a little at time – don’t be a PITA).

Biggest Wins

1 Seadream cruise booking that led to more. The lady liked her so much she booked a Viking cruise and another Seadream cruise. Around 60k in sales. And it was someone who discovered her online from Connecticut – and they developed an immediate connection.

A 45K Italy trip getting ready to travel in a few weeks.

A big social media presence is a game changer

My craziest trip to date is actually still traveling. They’ve been gone for a couple weeks and have frolicked all over Bali and Japan (does this sound familiar?? Hehe). It was my first time using GoWay AND my first time planning sending anyone to Asia. It was one that I kind of dreaded just because I was worried something was going to go sideways and I wouldn’t know how to fix it. It’s been the first trip in awhile that I was completely out of my comfort zone.