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Do Travel Agents Receive Large Discounts?
Gdrinkh2o
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I know this is travel related but it is more of a general question.  A friend brought this up but i was skeptical.  Do travel agents receive a fair amount of perks for personal travel? Do they get sizeable airfare/hotel discounts?  Has anyone done the certification course just for the personal travel deals?  I thought that travel agents werent in very high demand due to the overwhelming use of the internet.  Any thoughts?
 
 

heavydrinker
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Full time travel agents do get many perks, such as heavily discounted hotel rates, and even some free travel.  It used to be that the travel agent was looked at as a consultant, someone who could answer your questions and give you valuable trip adivce, but now there’s been a shift to sales & order takers.
 
With the ability to book flights and get all the information from the internet, there’s no real need for experience, knowleadgeable travel agents.  Most travel agencies now just hire part timers to handle sales, these guys don’t get any perks or discounts.  The courses offered for this field are pretty much useless these days as the job definition has changed over the last 10 years

Gdrinkh2o
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thats pretty much what i was thinking…thanks for verifying.

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The only time I see “large discounts” for “travel agents” is when someone is trying to sell their travel-booking scheme to potential sucke… er, um… clients.

The latest frenzy is YTB which costs $500 one-time + $50 monthly to name your own website as an affiliate of YTB which pays a small commission to the website “owner” per booking. The problem is YTB is never cheaper than any other source, and often more expensive, plus they add an additional $5 booking fee, from which the subscriber gets a cut after the higher-ups get their shares of each $5 booking fee. A simpler, free, higher-yielding solution is simply to sign up with Qixo as an affiliate. I’ve never seen a cheaper fare from YTB vs. from Qixo.

Travel agents that make money are specialising in particular locations or clientele. A friend of my parents retired and does well getting 10-15% commission on cruises through the agency he works for. But he really earns it, cruising and jetsetting to exotic locations about ever other month, and keeping notes on hotels, transfers, sights, dining, etc. to pass on to his clientele. He bluntly tells me he’s not interested in booking airfares—there’s little reward for the hassle involved. Airlines stopped paying commissions about 5 years ago; exceptions on high-volume sales.

Consolidators—agencies with exclusive deal with an airline to sell particular fare classes at high commission—sometimes pass on a commission to other travel agencies that re-sell their “consolidator” tickets. Most “consolidator” tickets sold are actually re-sold, with the agency you deal with getting decent commission, 5 % typically, plus markup, plus whatever booking fee travel agencies charge for booking an airline ticket these days—$25? That’s why shopping around always pays—especially with consolidators—because the closer you get to the source agency, the cheaper the ticket will be, since the re-seller hasn’t marked it up. Plus if you need service on the ticket, you won’t have to jump through extra hoops.

“Travel agent” discounts mostly center around getting the first scoop that an airfare or cruise sale is on, or that a hotel is offering 30% off in June, for example. However, savvy web-travel shoppers often know about the deals before travel agents do, and can often do better without a travel agent. Smarter Travel is a good resource, as is Travelzoo and Farecompare’s airfare sale alerts. In fact, Farecompare often alerts subscribers before sale fares have had enough time to load into all reservation systems—including those which travel agents use.

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Quote:
A friend of my parents retired and does well getting 10-15% commission on cruises through the agency he works for. But he really earns it, cruising and jetsetting to exotic locations about ever other month, and keeping notes on hotels, transfers, sights, dining, etc. to pass on to his clientele.
Well, I hope he enjoys it [] I gather these trips cost him much less then to the ordinary people (or may be nothing at all?). That surely is a benefit.

Don
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Let’s just say he doesn’t have to work [Smile] and the travel agency is more a hobby. His sales might cover part of their travel, but they still gotta live, and the pt agency commissions don’t cover that. He’s good at booking discounts (available to everyone) because he sees them when they’re first announced. But as far as airfares, he’s pretty much lost. And, I think utilizing Priceline for hotels can be as cheap or cheaper than what any travel agent can find. Cruises are where travel agents make money these days.

IrishNed
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Quote:
ORIGINAL: Gdrinkh2o

… Do travel agents receive a fair amount of perks for personal travel? Do they get sizeable airfare/hotel discounts?  Has anyone done the certification course just for the personal travel deals?  I thought that travel agents werent in very high demand due to the overwhelming use of the internet.  Any thoughts?

I used to work for a Travel Agency (as a ‘gofer,’ not a T/A).  This was 10-years ago, before all this Ticketless Travel.  As you thought, they are not in very high demand today because anyone can book their own travel on the net.   There used to be some ‘Comps,’ usually in the off-season, offering FAM (Familiarization) flights:  Travel Agents got ‘Freebies!’   I’m not sure if any of those are still available;  but we used to get mailings from a lot of sources offering FAM trips to our Travel Agents. 
 
Lots of ‘Mom & Pop’ Travel Agencies went out of business in the mid-90’s when Airlines reduced the commissions they paid to Travel Agencies by half. 
 
There are Travel Agencies that specialize in certain destination Countries or in Religious Pilgrimages, etc., but being a Travel Agent is not what it once was.