10 Things You Need to Know About Remote Travel Agent Careers featured image

10 Things You Need to Know About Remote Travel Agent Careers

In this guest post, Mary Stein from Host Agency Reviews offers her insights into the world of travel agent careers. Drawing from her expertise in connecting travel advisors to industry resources, she provides actionable tips and practical strategies for those considering or already in the field, ensuring a deeper understanding of the profession’s dynamics and opportunities.

The current travel landscape offers good news for those interested in turning their passion for travel into a career as a travel agent. Using a travel agent is becoming a more common practice for travelers. A 2023 consumer research survey from American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) found “50% of people are more likely to use a travel advisor today than they were in the past.” 

With a growing demand for travel agents, the market share of travel booked over online travel agencies such (e.g. Priceline and Booking.com) is decreasing as booking with travel agents becomes more popular. A Phocuswright report projected that travel agents will be a more popular channel to book trips compared to online booking engines by 2026. 

Interested in pursuing a career in selling travel? Here are a few things to know about becoming a travel agent.

1. Most travel agent employees work remotely at least part of the time.  

Agencies are embracing flexibility as they look to fulfill roles within their travel agencies. According to Host Agency Reviews’ 2023 Travel Advisor Employee Report, nearly half of travel agents employees — 48% — work fully remotely. This is a huge increase from 2019, when only 18% work 100% remotely.

2. The average travel agent employee income is over $50,000.

If you’re a travel agent employee, according to Host Agency Reviews’ (HAR) 2023 Travel Advisor Employee Report, you can expect an average annual salary of $51,727. However, this will vary depending on a few factors including:

  • Compensation structures (read below for more info!)
  • Experience level
  • Work role (e.g. if an advisor has managerial duties in addition to selling travel)

Keep in mind that the salary doesn’t involve perks like the potential for travel agent rates or familiarization trips (when travel advisors get to experience a destination discounted for free). 

3. There are 3 main compensation structures for travel agent employees. 

Travel agents reported three primary income structures. 

  1. Salary plus commission
  2. Salary or hourly wage only
  3. Commissions only

44% of travel agents earned a salary or hourly wage only, making it the most common compensation structure for travel advisors. 31% earned commission only, and 25% earned salary or hourly plus commissions.

Source: 2023 Travel Advisor Employee Report

4. Travel agents with commission and salary earn more.

Compensation structure has a substantial impact on income potential for travel agent employees. Those who earned salary or hourly wage plus commission earned an average annual income of $88,909, which is 53% higher than the average overall. 

5. The average hourly rate is nearly $20.

The average hourly wage for travel agents was $19.29. However, when it came to annual earnings, travel agent employees who were salaried had an income advantage compared to those who earned an hourly wage regardless of income structure. 

Those who earned an hourly wage and no commissions reported 28% lower average income compared to travel agents who were salaries without commissions. There was a greater divide when it came to agents who earned commissions as well. Travel agents who earned an hourly wage and commissions earned 40% less than those who were salaried with commissions. 

6. Most travel agent employees receive benefits. 

HAR’s survey found 70% of travel agents receive employer benefits. This is higher for full-time employees (79%) and considerably lower for travel agents who worked part time (33%). What are the top three benefits for travel agents? Paid vacation, health insurance, and paid sick time.

7. There is a high demand for travel agents from travelers and travel agencies alike.

In 2023, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) reported 50% of travelers were more likely to use a travel advisor than in the past. With a higher demand for travel agents, comes more job opportunities among hiring travel agencies. This is especially true for corporate travel agents. According to Heather Kindred, Vice President, Business Development and Education for Travel Leaders Network, “There is a new need for corporate travel agents. Travel agencies that manage business travel are now open to hiring the person that fits with their culture and then providing training.”

Ocean cruises were the most popular product sold among employee travel agents. This was 9 points higher than other higher-volume products for travel agent employees. 

9. Travel agent employees love their job. 

Travel agents love what they do. The vast majority of travel agent employees, 95%, reported they would become a travel agent again in Host Agency Reviews’ 2023 Travel Advisor Employee Report.

10. Travel agent employees are rewarded with higher income when they take on managerial duties. 

Most travel agent employees, 64%, reported frontline sales responsibilities only. However, travel agents earned more as they took on more responsibilities. Those with sales and managerial duties earned 81% more than those who reported only frontline sales. If you are looking to grow into a career as a travel agent employee, a great tip to search for agencies that offer opportunities for future growth.

Becoming a Travel Agent Career is a Viable and Rewarding Career Option

In addition to employee benefits and income growth as you gain experience and take on more job responsibilities, a career as a travel agent offers rich travel to experience global destinations. Travel advisors who meet sales minimums will have opportunities to access special travel agent rates and free or discounted familiarization trips. 

Travelers seek added value, increased support, and unique experiences of working with a travel agent. Agencies are hiring to meet these needs not only for leisure travel, but for business travel as well, making it a great time to pursue a career as a travel agent. 

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Author Bio

Mary Stein is the Sr. Content & Data Manager for Host Agency Reviews, an independent online resource that connects travel advisors to industry resources, specializing in guides and resources for those interested in learning more about becoming a travel advisor. She’s contributed to other trade media including Travel Research Report, Travel Market ReportAdventure Travel News, and The Travel Institute. She lives in Minneapolis with her partner, adventurous kiddo, and a sweet devious pup. 

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