How Much Do Travel Agents Make From Commissions?

Growing up in the travel industry, I have had the opportunity to work with many agents to build and expand their travel agencies. Although commission agreements between travel agencies and vendors, as well as those between consortiums and vendors, are confidential, there has been an influx of new agents who are eager to take advantage of the flexibility and travel opportunities that come with a career as a travel agent. In addition to air travel, corporate travel agencies can earn commissions when booking cars and hotels for business travelers. The amount of commission that travel agencies can make depends on the airline contracts they have access to.

Domestic flights usually offer commissions ranging from 0 to 5%, while international flights offer commissions of approximately 10 to 22%. For agents who are part of a host agency, their commission level is not based on individual sales, but on the cumulative sales of all the agencies in the host's network. In today's world, leisure travel agencies (the ones you probably think of when you hear the term 'travel agency') have had to adapt to the new landscape of travel planning and booking, which includes cuts in fees and customers being able to book online. These agencies can make reservations for flights through consolidators (which are usually used by leisure agents) or through a global distribution system (GDS) for corporate agents.

When it comes to how much money employed travel agents make, that falls more into the territory of travel agency salaries. FIT travel agents earn money not only through the rates mentioned above, but also through net surcharges and commissions from different providers they book with. The provider pays the commission to the host agency for its total sales, which then pays its commission to the independent contractor's (IC) individual travel agencies. Airline tickets are essential for corporate agencies (also known as TMC or travel management companies). Not only does it save them from having to obtain their own accreditation, but a host agency can negotiate better commission levels than an individual agent due to their higher sales.

Sebastián Vanbebber
Sebastián Vanbebber

Hardcore coffee enthusiast. General internet maven. Extreme travel evangelist. Avid twitter expert. Subtly charming beer advocate. Extreme food fan.