Hosted Travel Agent Income Increased 16 Percent Last Yearby Richard D’Ambrosio /
Hosted agents with three-plus years’ experience reported their gross annual income grew approximately 16 percent last year, crossing the $40,000 threshold.
More than eight out of ten hosted travel agents reported an increase in sales in 2017, according to Host Agency Reviews (HAR), a leading independent authority in the space, helping them push their gross income up to $40,377, from $34,854 annually in 2016. According to HAR’s survey, 11.2 percent of hosted agents reported having incomes greater than $100,000.
Reporting the results of 600 respondents to their survey, HAR found that 83 percent of agents said sales increased last year, up from 57.7 percent who reported higher sales in the 2016 survey. According to HAR, 84 percent of respondents said their total sales from commissions rose, while 57 percent said their service fees increased, and 70 percent said their consultation fee income increased.
The profile of the HAR survey respondent is a female agent (79 percent), about 50 years old, who is home-based (96.3 percent), with an average of 6.2 years’ experience. Nearly 47 percent of these agents reported that selling travel was their primary source of income, up about 9.4 percent from HAR’s 2017 survey; and 30.4 percent reported charging some kind of service fee. The majority of agents reported it took them 3-5 hours on average to produce a booking.
The top three most popular products these hosted agents sell include ocean cruises (42 percent), all-inclusives (30 percent) and tours and packages (15 percent). River cruises were a “top three” product sold by only 3 percent of respondents.
Those agents charging a service fee reported that 96.2 percent of their income was earned from commissions, 2.8 percent came from service fees and 0.5 percent derived from consultation fees.
In 2018, established (3+ years), full-time travel agents earned on average $52,635 while established part-timers earned $11,555 annually. New full-time travel agents earned $8,973 on average annually and new part-time travel agents earned $3,637 annually, HAR reported.
Nearly half of full-time hosted agents (48 percent) worked 30-40 hours per week, while 21 percent worked 41-49 hours a week, and 30 percent worked 50 hours or more. Despite the long hours, 38 percent of respondents reported that they are “super happy and satisfied” with their career choice, while another 37 percent said they are “happy and satisfied.”
In fact, if they were to start over, 97 percent of respondents said they would become a travel agent, and 93.4 said they would also choose their specific niche.
Hosted agents’ greatest challenges are finding clients, competing with online travel agents, and the amount of work required to manage their business. Difficult clients and increasing income were the fourth and fifth strongest challenges.
HAR’s data illustrates the difference in mindsets between those looking to make a career out of being a home-based agent, and those who are still dabbling. Slightly more than 59 percent of established agents said selling travel is their primary income, while 29.5 percent of new agents said the same.
HAR worked with Andavo Travel, Cruise Planners—American Express, KHM Travel Group, Nexion, OASIS Travel Network, Outside Agents, Travel Planners International, Travel Quest and Uniglobe Travel Center to source their survey respondents.