If you are like most travel agents in Canada, 2020 hit you very hard. You spent countless hours supporting your customers with their cancelled trips, Future Travel Credits, getting them back to Canada safely, rebooking trips, answering question after question and you likely did this as an extension of the service you had previously provided to your customers because you care.
When you reflect back on all the work, all the hours, and all the support you provided to your customers and which point did it occur to you that you were doing it all for free?
Tour operators recalled commissions; airlines recalled commissions (the few that do offer them) but you did your job and should have retained the money you earned. It’s time we all started having the FEES conversation.
Many professional services include a fee base structure to access their knowledge. Lawyers, Psychologists, Plumbers, Electricians, Mechanics and the list goes on. These professionals charge for the knowledge they have acquired through education, time and the experience of being a professional in that industry for years.
Customers willingly pay the fess associated to these services because it is common practice. Why should a travel professional be any different?
What you call the fees you charge your clients is really up to you. Some call it a service fee, others call it consultation fee. Some travel agents charge fees for changes, cancellations or additions to the trip.
They have a fee structure based on the product being sold, or the number of travellers. Some even have a research fee that must be paid upfront before any work is started. To Learn MORE™ watch this video.
Perhaps you think your existing client base would not be agreeable to a new fee structure after booking with you in the past where there were no fees applied. How do you now approach the subject of fees with this type of client?
Perhaps you think you will lose a new booking because there is a fee to book that trip through you and you don’t know how to talk fees with confidence.
When purchasing a service from a professional that has a service fee, confidence is key. Be professional, upfront and clear about what your fees cover and the benefit to the purchaser.
When clearly explained, clients will see the value and appreciate that paying for your service actual translates into better service for the client. Paying a fee to receive your service means they value your expertise and knowledge and that you have what they need to get the best out of their money and their time away.
When airlines stopped paying commissions, it became common place for agents to charge a processing fee to book an air only ticket. Why-simple. You weren’t making any money doing your job for your client. Fees for booking travel services is an extension of that philosophy.
The client is benefiting from a long list of credentials you have accumulated over your years of being a travel professional. If they object to paying for your service, how do you talk to them about why they should feel confident in paying fees?
The commission you earn is paid to you by the supplier for doing all the work to sell their product. Hours qualifying your clients, researching availability and of course looking for the best value for money for your clients.
But what did your customer pay you for your time, energy, experience and knowledge? A client who doesn’t see the value you bring when they choose to book their travel with you doesn’t really value you at all.
Did you know the average trip for a family of 4 can take roughly 5-7 hours of your time to put together? Calculate how much time it takes to consult, research, present, adjust, book, invoice, follow up, verify for just one trip?
Once you have that amount of time do the math on how much money you made on the file based on the commission and that was your hourly rate for that file. Charging fees for your service puts you in the driver seat and is vital to ensuring you are in control of your earnings.
If travel agents and agencies are going to succeed moving forward, charging fees is key to that future. Your time has value. Your experience can’t be Googled. Your care and attention to detail is not provided via Online Travel Agencies.
Clients who want expert advice and an advocate on their side to ensure they get the best value for money is only possible when a fee structure is implemented by all agents and agencies across Canada.
The Travel Agent Next Door has created a 19-chapter training course designed with agents/agencies in mind. Whether you are a seasoned agent with years of experience or brand new to the industry joining through our New Agent Program, this course will have you empowered to know your value, create a fee structure that supports your business and arm you with the confidence to explain fees to your clients.
Plus, we offer an easy to use automated authorization tool that support charging fees to make your business effective and less administratively arduous.
Music courtesy of www.bensound.com
Whether you are a brand-new agent or an agent with decades in the industry, we hope the details included here will ensure that your fee structure supports you and your business.
If you would like to know MORE™ about The Travel Agent Next Door and how we can support your travel business and the list of tools available to you to assist you in working smarter and not harder reach out and have a call with us today.
Home Based Travel Agent
Our FREE webinars are designed to inform you, the new or experienced travel agent, how you can benefit MoreTM from becoming part of the Travel Agent Next Door.