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How does a travel agent get paid?

How does a travel agent get paid

Becoming a travel agent is an exciting way to make money while helping people plan their dream holidays! If you’ve been thinking about embarking on a fulfilling career as a travel agent, you may have been wondering, ‘how does a travel agent make money?’ and ‘how much money does a travel agent make?’. Well, fear not because we’ll explain just that and show you how easy it is to make money and become successful in this exciting and inspiring industry. 

How much money does a travel agent make?

As a travel agent, you’ll typically earn a commission on any travel product you sell, such as hotel rooms, airline tickets, and tour packages. So, how much can you make as a travel agent? This depends on several factors, including your experience, the size of your agency, and its location. Travel agents in large cities typically earn more than those in smaller towns. However, the essential factor is the number of clients you have. The more clients you can get on board, the more money you’ll make. Therefore, it is vital to be proactive in finding and working with clients if you are considering becoming a travel agent.

The average salary for a travel agent is around £25-30k per year. Still, top earners can make up to six figures annually! If you choose to start your own company, perhaps through a travel franchise, you could be on your way to earning big money. For example, The Travel Franchise puts zero limits on the earning potential of its franchisees, which means how much you make will be directly impacted by how hard you work and how many customers you acquire. Moreover, The Travel Franchise even provides ongoing support and training, helping you find more customers to boost your income potential.

How to make money as a travel agent

So now you know the factors affecting your earnings potential, it’s time to dive into just how you’ll generate income and get paid as a travel agent.


As a UK travel agent, you’ll likely operate on a commission-based pay structure, so you’ll only earn money when you sell a travel product or service. While this can be a great motivator to sell as much as possible, it can also lead to pressure to upsell or add on extras that may be outside your client’s best interests. On the other hand, commission-based pay can also be a great way to reward travel agents who provide excellent customer service and go the extra mile. Overall, there are pros and cons to the commission-based pay structure, but it ultimately comes down to what works best for you and your clients.

Commission for UK travel agents is typically a percentage of the total cost of the trip. 

It’s important to note that commission fees can differ based on the supplier and the product you are booking. The commission one package operator offers can be very different from another, and the commission on a flight, compared to a boutique hotel, a cruise or safari trip, will also vary hugely, with the majority typically ranging from 10 to 15 per cent. In addition, if you join a franchise they will take a small percentage of your commission.

The considerable disparity makes the question “How much will I earn?” difficult to answer. It will depend on what type of bookings you do, which suppliers you use, and how many bookings you make.

Some successful agents in franchises can earn £100,000 in commission a year, while others earn around £35,000 per year. Ask any of them where they have made their most significant commissions, and most will answer that weddings, cruises, ski, golf and safari travel can be profitable, while others boost their commission by including add-ons such as car hire, tours, attraction tickets and travel insurance.

However, there are some essential things to keep in mind about commission-based pay. 

First, you’ll only receive a commission if the client books and pays for the holiday. 

Secondly, the commission is usually only paid once the holiday has been taken (i.e. after the client has returned home). If a client cancels their holiday or changes plans, you might not receive any commission. 

Finally, it’s important to remember that commission is only sometimes guaranteed. Some agencies have minimum booking values in place (e.g. £2,000), which must be met before any commission is earned. Overall, commission-based pay can be a great way to make money as a travel agent in the UK. However, it’s essential to understand how it works and the pros and cons of working in agencies or starting your own business. 

Service fees

Another way you might get paid as a travel agent is by charging your clients a booking fee or service charge. This fee is typically charged in addition to any commissions received from suppliers. It’s important to note that this fee should be clearly stated upfront so that customers know it before they book their trip with you as a travel agent. Finally, some agencies offer additional incentives and bonuses for meeting specific sales goals or achieving high customer satisfaction ratings. These bonuses can be monetary or non-monetary, providing an extra income boost for successful agents. 

While commissions will make up most of your income, it’s worth considering charging service fees to your clients. This is because commission alone does not cover you for all the extra support you will inevitably provide, including researching your client’s dream trip, hours spent on phone calls getting the best deals, and sorting out any potential issues your clients may have. In the post-COVID landscape, the need for service-oriented travel agents has become more critical than ever to help travellers navigate border requirements and logistics. Many clients don’t mind paying a service fee if you’re providing excellent service. 

Other incentives

Some operators give agents incentives such as high street vouchers and weekends away if they book a lot of holidays with them. While this does not increase your salary, it’s good to take this into consideration. 

Other ways of making more money as a travel agent

  • Group Tours

Organising travel and tours for groups can be lucrative because you’re booking a trip for several people at once. It takes less time than organising everyone individually and generates more money. For example, you might arrange a skiing trip for 10 people, so you might earn a commission for 10 flights, 5-10 rooms, and 10 skiing passes all from the same trip! In fact, group travel can be so rewarding that many travel agents choose to make this their niche. 

  • Niche Travel

This brings us to our next point. Choosing a travel niche can give your business an edge and help it stand out in a crowded market. Rather than appealing to everyone, you can focus your efforts on targeting a particular audience or demographic. For example, you might focus on adventure travel, cruising, or luxury getaways. 

  • Corporate Travel

Another way to make money as a travel agent is by focusing on corporate away days and getaways. Corporate travel is typically much more expensive than leisure travel, so you can earn a higher commission on each sale. Whilst this can be a niche, many agents incorporate it into their travel services. 

How The Travel Franchise can help you make money as a travel agent

Finding your feet as a travel agent in a crowded market can seem daunting, but there’s plenty of help available if you know where to look. Starting your own travel agency as a franchise, for example, through The Travel Franchise, is the perfect way to get set up and running because you’ll have access to a wide range of support. You will get a dedicated Business Development Manager to offer personal support and access to ongoing support and essential training whilst in business for as long as you need. You’ll also have access to an established and successful brand and a formulated marketing strategy and promotional tools, meaning you’ll have everything you need to succeed right from the start. 

Every franchise will take a small cut of your commission to pay for the support, technology, training and marketing. However, The Travel Franchise boasts the highest commission rates in the UK travel industry meaning you’ll get up to 85%, so you can be sure that your hard work will pay off. Moreover, you’ll gain access to exclusive travel deals, meaning you can offer your clients significant savings.  
Our article has given you some insight into how to make money as a travel agent. To recap, most agents are paid on commission or through additional service charges. Still, there are other perks, too, with many travel companies offering high street vouchers and subsidised holidays for agents selling many of their holidays or travel products. Although it’s difficult to predict the exact earning potential of a travel agent, those who work hard and have excellent customer service and networking skills can enjoy six-figure salaries! If this sounds like something, you’d be interested in pursuing, research local agencies in your area to find out what opportunities are available, or check out how The Travel Franchise can help you get started. Good luck!

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