Our recent column, "Travel Advisors Don't Save Their Clients Money," sparked a lot of interest and feedback from our readers. Most of you agreed that it's time to move beyond tying a travel advisor's value to dollars and cents. You were most vocal, however, about whether advisors should be charging their clients a fee.
With one exception, the feedback we received was all in favor of charging fees.
One advisor we heard from was worried we were spreading misinformation because some states with seller of travel licenses may have rules about who can and can't charge fees. Rest assured, any advisor or agency that chooses to purchase their own seller of travel license, rather than rely on a parent company's license, is free to charge fees. We happen to know of one Cruise Planners advisor who did just that specifically so she could start charging fees.
Here we present some of the letters we received, both positive and negative, to give you a sense of the different perspectives on this topic.
I enjoyed your article and it truly makes a lot of sense....
I work both ways, charging fees and not depending on the customer and trip. I do find I do a lot of extras and do not get paid for it (like cancellations), so I am looking into a way of charging fees, whether up front or for added services.
Thank you for making me think and see things from another perspective.
Joy Teet, MCC, CTA, VTA, Co-Owner
I read your article and I admit, your title caught my eye and initially had me in react mode because like many others, I initially thought you were insinuating the opposite but to my relief I saw you were pro agents and recognizing the value of a true professional.
I have been advocating, borderline preaching that we all should be charging research fees, even to open a file there should be a fee. I began charging fees back in 2010 and if a client objected, I was happy to lose the client.
When I needed a lawyer in my divorce, the very minute he picked up the phone, I was charged, so when I became an agent and I saw how many people were trying to pick my brain for information without necessarily booking, well I decided if a lawyer is worthy of charging a fee, then so am I.
I prefer to lose a client than lose my fee because those who complain about a fee are usually the ones who don't respect or value what I do.
Gail Lea, Senior Travel Consultant
I thoroughly agree with your article. I, too, have been in the "business" for 35+ years and I find it sad that advisors still don’t value themselves enough to charge fees. I wish everyone would read your article and heed the well said advice.
Thank you very much!
Karin Dicke, Senior Travel Advisor
AAA - California
The Seller of Travel License for the State of Florida, required for any agents selling to Florida travelers, prohibits the charging of fees, or collecting money from those travelers except as a pass-through from client to supplier.
Therefore, your statement that all advisors should be charging fees is inaccurate and incorrect. There are major penalties for such practices.
Please check all of your facts before passing on dangerous advice.
Don Rennard, Owner
When I saw the headline I almost didn't read the article thinking it was another "slam the travel advisor" article. So glad I did, I totally agree with it! For our part we started charging professional fees a couple of years ago, not just for the revenue, but to demonstrate to our clients that we bring value to their travel purchase. We do not want to be the cheapest avenue for travelers, we want to be the one who brings the best value.
Thank you for the article, but I think the headline might have chased a lot of supportive advisors away from reading it.
Dave Hershberger, CTC, CBTS, VTA, President