Travel agents earn a percentage of the total value of every booking they make. This percentage varies depending on the model an employer or chain utilizes. Travel agents earn a base salary apart from commissions so that this percentage acts as an incentive to generate higher sales.
A travel agent earns commission on every booking made, be it for a hotel, flight, car, cruise or package deal of any variety. The amount earned from each booking is dependent on the travel agent's firm. Agencies provide compensation in the form of commissions ranging from 10 percent to 17 percent of the full value of pre-tax transport, lodging and amenities.
Private establishments also staff their own travel agents and supply similar incentives for generating more revenue. These hotels, rental car outlets, cruise lines and airlines offer compensation that is generally 10 percent of all sales.
Travel agents are compelled to make more sales to increase their commissions. At the same time, this grants them the ability to create special deals and create custom packages for travelers. Price matching, reduced travel insurance and savings for booking early or online are common tools for boosting commissions and sales. Commissions are protected by confidentiality agreements between employers and their workforce, thereby allowing companies more freedom in pricing.