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How Do Travel Agents Get Paid (& Why Fora Does It Differently)

Excited to meld your passion for travel with your professional life? One of the first questions prospective travel agents ask is “How do travel agents get paid?”

It’s a fair question, and one we’ll be answering here.

And if you’re not quite sure what a travel agent is, check out this guide first. Otherwise, read on to learn how travel agents get paid in the industry at large, plus, how Fora does things differently with the travel advisors — aka Fora Advisors — who work with us.

Interested in joining us? Sign up to become a Fora Advisor today.

How does a travel agent make money in the first place?

Travel agents, including Fora Advisors, are paid in commissions. A commission is a percentage of the cost of a travel experience (such as a hotel stay). Some agents also charge planning fees for additional services (more on that below).

Commissions are key

For the travel agent industry at large, commissions are the centerpiece of how travel agents get paid. Let’s say a client wants to stay at a nice hotel during their trip. They connect with a travel agent, who books the client’s room on their behalf. The hotel will then pay the agent a percentage of the total room cost.

And it’s not just hotel bookings. There are plenty of other commissionable services that travel agents can book for their clients, like rental car services, tours and more.

Many Fora Advisors (and other travel agents) charge planning or service fees for extras, like custom itineraries, airline tickets & more

There are other ways beyond commissions that travel agents get paid. Enter planning fees.

Many travelers either want a pro’s assistance to get the most out of their experience, or simply want to outsource the trip planning to someone they can trust. Better yet, many of these clients are happy to pay a premium to take their travel to the next level.

Many Fora Advisors count planning fees (charged for creating tailored itineraries) as significant revenue. The exact fee amount varies by advisor, but a common starting point is $250 per week of travel planned. That fee adds up quickly if you have multiple clients planning trips.

How else do travel agents get paid? Offering niche travel planning services can go a long way, too

There are plenty of other tips for how to be a successful travel advisor, but one under-the-radar tactic is to specialize in specific travel niches. These areas of expertise can include things like luxury travel, bachelorette parties or destination wedding support (think helping bridal parties book their accommodations, etc.) and more.

The idea here is that you’re leveraging your experience, and therefore your wealth of knowledge, to your client’s benefit. In other words, a potential client may be more willing to plan their travel with if you specialize in one of their specific needs.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t mix it up. Ultimately, travel agents have a lot of freedom in how they design their business. (And remember, with Fora, you’ll always call the shots. Learn more about how to become an independent travel agent).

Also! Check out our guides on how to become a luxury travel agent or how to become a cruise travel agent, if you’re curious.

How does Fora compare to other travel agencies? How do Fora travel agents (aka travel advisors) get paid?

Fora is a breath of fresh air for an industry that’s seen very little change in recent years. From speedy payments to a fully remote career, here’s how Fora is different from traditional travel agencies — especially when it comes to how our travel agents get paid.

Fora Advisors are paid quickly (in fact, we offer the fastest payments in the biz)

You might be surprised to learn that most traditional travel agencies and agents aren’t paid until months after a client checks out of their hotel. It makes sense to wait to get paid until after a client has finished their trip. (Travel plans do change, after all.) But then there are often many hoops that agents have to jump through to get their commission in their bank account.

When you book a client and they check out, the hotel pays the travel host agency and then the host agency pays the advisor. But that’s a waiting game in itself, especially in an industry that relies on paper checks sent out for commissions.

How do travel agents get paid by Fora? Anytime we partner with hotels, we make it abundantly clear that we expect speedy payments, and consistently advocate for our advisors. In fact, we pay our advisors before we even get paid. Our payments are the fastest in the business.

Fora pays commissions via modern methods

It’s not uncommon for old-school payment methods (ahem: checks) to exist somewhere along the payment pipeline. As a modern travel agency, however, Fora pays advisors as quickly as possible via direct deposit. In fact, we issue payments twice a month.

Fora offers in-house training & certification

There are two more areas that affect how travel agents get paid, at least in terms of their bottom line: travel agent certification and travel agent training. Traditional travel agencies often require prospective travel agents to pay hefty fees and tuition before they ever get paid a commission. These upfront costs impede how quickly you can build your business.

Fora does things a little differently. We offer in-house training ranging from the basics of becoming a travel agent to more advanced topics like group bookings and working with DMCs.

Oh, and by “in-house,” we only mean that courses are taught by Fora HQ members and other industry experts. All of this training is fully remote (learn how to become a travel agent from home for more info).

On average, how much do Fora travel agents make?

An important aspect of the answer to the question, “How do travel agents get paid?” is how much that pay (i.e., how much do travel agents make per booking, personalized itinerary, etc.). There’s no easy answer to this, and for many, you get out what you put in.

Ballpark estimates: some of our full-time, expert advisors earn well into the six figures (or beyond). Others make extra income as a side hustle.

Have more questions beyond “how do travel agents get paid?”

Still curious about how to become a travel agent, or how to become a Disney travel agent? We got you. And to learn more about what you’ll get by joining Fora, watch the video below.

Interested in joining us? Sign up to become a Fora Advisor today.

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