When I book a trip, do I have to pay travel agency fees?

October 16, 2014

Although many people book their own trips on the Internet, there is a lot of security and peace of mind that comes with using a travel agent to slog through the details. But what about those travel agency fees? It may seem redundant to pay a consultation fee to a travel agent nowadays, but there are in fact many advantages to doing so.

Why do they charge a fee?

At one time, travel agents earned their salaries by taking a commission on the services they provided for their customers. However, things have changed and agencies now invoice consultation fees for the logistics services they provide their clients in booking trips and making other travel arrangements. While years ago they were included in a trip’s price, they are now usually charged as a separate item.

An explanation from the AssociationofCanadian TravelAgencies(ACTA)

ACTA explains that agencies used to receive a commission from airline companies and other suppliers that made up the majority of their earnings. In the mid-1990s, suppliers began reducing these commissions. That’s when service fees were introduced by travel agencies. The objective was to continue being able to compensate travel agents for the work they do in providing travel booking services to their clients.

How much will you have to pay?

It all depends on the company you do business with. Although some agencies do not charge separate consultation fees, on average you can expect to spend between $25 and $50 per person.

When are these fees invoiced?

  • Sometimes there is a cost involved in having an agent carry out research for you, even though you may choose not to purchase a trip.
  • Other agencies only charge their fees when you actually buy a trip with them.
  • Some agencies may let you know in advance that fees could be added later in the process, depending on the services you require.

Ask beforehand

Watch for the phrase “service charges” when you talk to a travel agent. Ask before they do any research if there will be fees and when they’ll be invoiced. Many travel agencies request that you sign a contract before they begin their research, but the travel agent has the duty to inform you about all the fees prior to the transaction. In fact, you should insist on it. You can also ask about the possibility of recovering the service fees if you buy their package at a later time.

A custom trip

Despite all this information, you don’t need to be afraid of travel agency fees. They are usually very reasonable and are a small price to pay for your trip to be prepared by a competent professional who will assume responsibility for the outcome. It can give you great peace of mind to be handed a plane ticket and a detailed itinerary, all set up to take you where you want to go.

When I book a trip, do I have to pay travel agency fees?
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