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Travel agent rates depend on the types of travel products that they sell, the amount of consultation that they offer clients, and their own expertise. In situations where a travel agent sells clients travel products that pay little or no commission, such as airline tickets, rates are typically set to ensure that the travel agent is fairly compensated for his or her time. Fees and rates for consulting services are more likely to depend on the experience that a travel agent has in providing travel services or his or her knowledge of a particular geographical region or type of travel. Travel agent rates may also be set in accordance with the cost of living in the area where the travel agent operates.
With the advent of Internet-based travel services, many travel vendors such as airlines, hotels and package operators have reduced or eliminated commissions paid to travel consultants and agents. As a result, these travel experts have had to institute travel agent rates in order to remain in business. In some cases, these rates are in place to compensate a travel agent that secures a non-commission or low commission travel service for his or her clients. These rates and fees may be waived in situations where a travel customer purchases other travel products that provide the agent with a sufficient commission. For example, if a client books an overseas trip and purchases an airline ticket, a resort package and ground transportation services, the travel agent may waive his standard booking fee for the airline ticket as he will receive an ample commission from the other travel purchases.
Some travel agent rates are intended to compensate experienced travel agents for their time in researching travel options and providing advice to clients. These rates are typically charged as a way of protecting the travel agent from spending time counseling a potential client on travel options only to lose out on any commissions when the client books his or her travel directly or with another travel agent. Fees vary according to the type of research that the travel agent will perform on behalf of his or her client as well as whether the travel agent must go to additional expense in securing travel options such as making international phone calls or sending faxes to various travel vendors. As with airline ticket fees, these charges will sometimes be waived by a travel agent if a client makes a significant purchase.