Only 43% of independent agents charge service fees: poll

Only 43% of independent agents charge service fees: poll

MINNEAPOLIS — A new survey shows that while 43% of independent travel agents charge service fees, fee amounts vary widely, ranging anywhere from US$12 to $500 for FIT arrangements, and from $2 to $350 for basic consultation fees.

The U.S.-based survey by Host Agency Reviews polled more than 550 hosted agents. “When it comes to whether or not to charge travel agent service fees, there is no one answer. Some agents live by service fees, and others refuse to charge them,” says Host Agency Reviews.

Not surprisingly, the highest number of agents charged service fees for domestic air ticketing; about 72% of agents polled said they charge between $10 and $100. Approximately 62% said they charge fees for international air ticketing. The number of agents charging fees for cruise bookings didn’t even hit the 10% mark.

Between 39% and 56% of agents polled also indicate they charge fees for niche bookings, including corporate travel, honeymoon and destination weddings and adventure travel.

When asked ‘What is your hesitation in charging a service fee’, reasons ranged from: commissions provide enough income; agents don’t feel comfortable asking clients for service fees (especially loyal clients); fear that clients will book on their own or go with a different agency; don’t want the hassle of the logistics of charging travel agent service fees; not enough experience in the industry to justify charging service fees/ still a newer agency; trying to stay competitive with the Internet; and sensitivity to local clientele and local competition. Some agencies pointed out that accepting a fee is challenging in terms of logistics (can’t accept credit card payments, billing complications, etc.)

Some respondents who stated they don’t charge service fees reported that they’ll make an exception if they a plan a trip and the client ends up not booking with them. Others expressed that they’re interested in exploring charging a fee, or stated they may consider charging a fee under special circumstances.

Only 43% of independent agents charge service fees

For more details on the survey see

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