We have the process nicely laid out here on our website which you can read over by clicking What We Do. However, what people are really asking is... how do you get paid? Do I pay you? If so how much?
Travel professionals work very much like a Real Estate Agent.
Travel professionals work on commission paid to them by the supplier or vendor (travel company) where we book your travel. The percentage of commission depends on the volume of travel made with each supplier. Similar to the Real Estate Agent, the person selling the home (or vacation in this case) is the one who pays the agent commission.
Why would a travel supplier, like Disney, Royal Caribbean or Sandals, pay a commission to a travel advisor to handle your reservation? Why does any company have a sales force? To bring in more sales of course!
If you own a company and you know you can't possible handle each and every sale with a standard of quality then you are going to hire an outside source. But rather than have thousands of agents on payroll there is a partnership that is created. And each supplier has a travel advisor training program that one must complete in order to sell travel with that supplier.
Like a Real Estate Agent a travel professional needs a business license and have a seller of travel ID in order to work with any travel company.
History of the Travel Professional
Once upon a time before the internet there was a line of clients at the door of every travel agency. True Story. When the airlines stopped paying commissions to travel agencies then the dynamics changed. Along with the internet came email and online brochures. No longer was it necessary to have a brick and mortar storefront, though many still do, and the home-office travel professional became more of a reality.
So, why did ASTA change the name from "agent" to "advisor"? Because today's travel professional is not an order taker. And an advisor is someone to advises. [Advisor and adviser are the same meaning with different spellings. Advisor is Latin based while adviser is Germanic based.] The term advisor more closely represents the relationship of consumer to travel professional. You tell us your desires and we go out and find the match. An order taker is you choose from what we offer.
What about fees?
Many travel pros DO charge a service fee, or perhaps a plan-to-go fee. They are providing a service so they are more than welcome to charge a fee for their services. An attorney may receive compensation from a settlement but they still charge a service fee, unless it's pro-bono.
Much of the development of service fees has happened due to consumers who don't understand how a travel professional works and the amount of time spent building an itinerary.
A consumer who inquires with a travel pro, receives a quote, then takes that itinerary and book everything online is giving the online travel agency the reward for someone else's hard work and is stealing from the travel professional who developed the itinerary. This has led many travel agencies to establish charging a fee... this is especially true for Disney vacations.
I hope this has helped you understand how a travel professional works... for now. I am sure with our ever-changing world that it will develop and grow accordingly.
Until next time...
Are you interested in experiencing a cruise or land vacation for yourself? Then consider booking your next vacation with us at Sail & Sand Travel. We are here to assist you by taking care of all the details - removing the grief while you keep the fun. Info@sailsand.com