Renee Taylor, of Renee Taylor Travel in Searcy, Arkansas, said the decision to start charging for services was not easy.
Deciding it was time to start collecting royalties after not collecting royalties for 15 years was very difficult, but it was something I had wanted to do for a while, Taylor said. I enlisted the help of a colleague and developed a fee schedule that I could confidently present to my existing and new clients. Most of my clients have been very receptive and have even commented that they wonder why I have waited so long to charge for my services.
Eileen Anderson of Journeys Afar in Raleigh, N.C., noted that the past year has reminded her that her experience is valuable.
Clients have even told me that they don’t expect me to work for free; they value my expertise, my relationships and my efficiency. But some of those who have had planning fees waived in the past have gone away, Anderson said. More: More time is available for those seriously interested in travel design collaboration.
Ralph Jantoska was already charging his customers, but he switched to a subscription model.
I had to stop and think about my value, says Jantoska, what I really do and what I can contribute.
Iantosca is not the only company moving from a one-time fee to a subscription-based structure.
Jolene Detillon of Your Travel Designer in Seattle, WA, said: We are eliminating special rates for most of our loyal customers who travel frequently throughout the year and have introduced an annual travel pass that starts at $2,500 for a family of four. This allows us to involve our clients in the planning process and not just for major trips, but to encourage them to think of us for all their travel needs.
Not everyone on the board was lucky enough to get sued.
Linda de Sosa of Bucketlist Travel Consulting in Houston, Texas, still doesn’t charge her clients anything for her services.
I beg clients to use me for short trips, and I don’t want to derail that.
One thing that has become a hot topic during the pandemic is travel insurance.
The pandemic has raised awareness of the importance of travel insurance, says Kim Steiger of Adventures Abroad in St. John’s. St. Charles, Minnesota.
Holly Lombardo of Lombardo Travel in Atlanta, Georgia, agrees.
I am very clear to my clients about the fact that travel insurance is a must in these circumstances, she says.
Christina Schlegel of Bluetail Travel in Arlington, Virginia, is noticing an increase in the number of people choosing to purchase insurance.
My mantra has always been: Travel insurance is highly recommended, but not required, Schlegel said. I would say that 90% of my clients now buy travel insurance. It was always clever. Travel expenses are often a significant financial investment that you want to protect.
PHOTO : Consider the importance of adding health insurance to your travel insurance policy. (Photo via iStock / Getty Images Plus / courtneyk)
Ms. Taylor noted that her clients have always purchased insurance, but are now considering more comprehensive policies.
I would say 98% of my clients have always had travel insurance. Insurance is such an easy sell for me, she says. The only difference is that I now see the value of cancellation insurance for any reason, after realizing that epidemic/pandemic coverage was not originally offered by any insurance company.
Anderson makes sure their bases are covered if clients choose not to purchase insurance.
When clients refuse to purchase insurance, I have them sign a statement that the insurance has been offered and rejected.
However, Jantoska does not pressure its customers to buy.
It’s his choice, he said. COVID’s cancellation policy is not worth it in most cases.
frequently asked questions
Why do most travel agents charge a service fee?
Compensation promotes the reputation and health of our industry. Of course, your customers can also do their own research online. But as a travel professional, you eliminate information overload and create a personalized, painless travel experience for them.
How much does a travel agency cost?
Many agents also charge their clients a fee separate from travel expenses, which can range from $100 to $500 or more. This fee can be collected upfront as a deposit and refunded to you at the end of the planning process, or more commonly, applied to the cost of the trip itself.
How much commission do travel agents earn?
A commission level of 7-8% is fairly common for host agencies working with independent agencies. Independent travel agents earning 90-100% commission are usually experienced agents with a large volume of work who don’t need the help of a travel agent.
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