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Understanding the Service Fee

Not all travel advisors charge service fees, and that’s fine. Travelers are welcome to work with an advisor or agent (because they are different things) of their choice that best meets their needs. However, I wanted to discuss in further detail why I choose to charge a service fee.  I am choosing to share this information with you so that everyone can better understand how my business / the travel advisor business works, and therefore see the value in this service industry.

There are 3 ways travel advisors get paid: service fees, commissions paid from suppliers for bookings, and referrals. Let’s address commissions and referrals first before we get to service fees.

Commissions – Once a travel advisor makes a booking for a client and the client travels, the supplier, hotel, cruise, tour operator, etc, send the travel advisor a commission for that booking. This commission doesn’t cost the traveler any extra money or make their booking any more expensive, it’s built into the cost of the trip, every trip.

Referrals – When I have happy clients who enjoy their trip and see the value in my services of helping them put a custom itinerary together, they come back for future trips, as well as refer their friends and family to me. These referrals are a large source of my business, and I am very proud of my reviews and recommendations from clients. Happy clients are my #1 priority.

Service Fees – Ok, here we are. Service fees. As I mentioned previously, some travel agents don’t charge service fees, while most travel advisors around the globe choose to charge service fees. These fees vary and are up to the individual advisor to set the level / price of the fee they are comfortable with.

Sometimes it is hard for clients to see the value in a service fee on top of a commission paid in a service industry. For me, the fee is all about commitment. I charge a service fee as a commitment to work together. I use the fee to let the client know I am a professional in my industry with experience and connections, and I hope the fee gets the client to commit to the full process of working together. When you think about how much your average corporate professional makes per hour, this fee is nominal. Just a reminder that my service fee structure is listed on the website and varies by complexity.

I love the meme below as I feel it reminds people about the value of experience.

If you have any questions about how travel advisors are compensated, how my business works, or about the fee structure, please feel free to email so we can discuss further, I’d love to hear more from people.


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