How do travel agents make money?” This is a question I hear often. Usually the people asking are either those who are interested in becoming a travel agent or it’s coming from those who find out I work in the travel industry and they can’t believe travel agencies are even still around! (Um, they are, and they’re the new darlings of the time-starved, information-overloaded travelers of today!)

I’ll go more in-depth in just a second, but here’s the basic step-by-step of how most travel agents make money:

A traveler works with a travel agent and finalizes their itinerary.

The travel agent books the various vendors (air, hotel, car, tours, cruises, etc) used in the traveler’s itinerary through a special travel agent portal or by calling the vendor and giving their accreditation number. Depending on the booking type and the agency, the agent may also charge the traveler a separate consultation or service fee.

The vendor recognizes the travel agency through their accreditation number. Using the accreditation number, the vendor pulls up information about the agency, including the travel agency’s commission level and the address where the commission check is to be sent.

The travel agent makes the booking and is credited with the booking via their accreditation number.

The commission is paid to the travel agent. For most trips, the vendor pays commission to the travel agent after the client has traveled. For most cruises, the travel agent is paid their commission after final payment (typically about 60–90 days before the sailing).

Related: How to be a travel agent

Author's Bio: 

I am a lifelong writer and first began creating other worlds