How to Increase Travel Agent Commissions in 5 Steps

September 28, 2020
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Travel agent commissions are the travel agency payments received from hotels for the bookings an agent made at the hotel. For example, a commission payment may be 10% of the cost of the client’s room stay. Commission payment percentages vary from hotel to hotel, and travel agents can expect a bit of variance in their final payment amount. But finding ways to increase travel agent commissions can seem difficult with so many unexpected variants in the mix.

Bookings may be subject to unexpected cancellations, guests may check in late or check out early, or it’s possible that a hotel may not consider the stay to be commissionable, effectively rendering the travel agent commissions as zero.

With so much unpredictability in hotel commission payment, how can you increase travel agent commissions? Further, how can you ensure you’re receiving the hotel commissions you’re owed? Follow the steps below to start gaining better returns for your travel agency business.

1. Increase Travel Agent Commissions Through Partnership

Men shaking handsHotel partnerships can be a big advantage for commission payments. If you do a quick Google search for “Travel agency partnerships” your search will probably show you dozens of results from hotels looking to collaborate with agencies, but it’s not often that you’ll see agencies being as vocal about hotel partnerships.

By actively seeking hotel partnerships, you can set yourself apart from the competition and grow business relationships that increase your revenue. Working directly with hotels that you trust, and that you know pay consistent and accurate commission payments, is a great step in the right direction for your revenue.

What can you do right now? Find your next contact to reach out to by looking back at your past commission payments. Find the hotels that most mirrored your commission expectations. Using historical data to strengthen your commission payments will be key to forming lasting partnerships that will be mutually beneficial.

2. Leverage Insights From Your Global Distribution System (GDS)

GDSs have been around for some time, and many providers have managed to keep the look and feel modern and easy to navigate. Using them in a smart and efficient way can give agents an advantage in increasing travel agent commissions. With so much rich information in the GDS for travel agents, you have the insight you need to target hotels that are great partners.

What can you do right now? Make sure you’re working with a hotel that uses a commission processing system. Commission processing automates hotel payments, which takes manual error out of the equation for travel agents. Several GDSs have the ability for you to filter by commission program or processor. Utilize this filter to ensure hotel commission payment accuracy.

3. Consider Adding a Fee-Based Structure to Your Revenue Stream

While commissions are a travel agents strongest form or payment, considering a fee-based approach with clients can help you improve cash flow when it’s needed most. Travel agent commissions are normally paid after a stay has taken place, but fees implemented with thoughtfulness can bring in revenue even before a trip takes place. Fees also generate the clientele you most want for your business: people who are serious about travel. And it can also deter those who aren’t willing to commit to using your services.

What can you do right now? Access the Onyx CenterSource eBook that goes in-depth on the different kinds of fees available to you and how best to enact them into your business plan.

4. Expand Your Target Market and Offerings

Person using social media to increase travel agent commissionsAs a travel professional, you can expand your network and the types of travel opportunities you extend to your network. Review your current clients and see where opportunities lie to introduce new demographics. Consider branching out to group events as well. Now is the time to plan for the inevitable comeback of in-person events, and you can create a winning game plan that will positively impact your travel agent commissions. Once you identify your audience and craft your niche, you can target the platforms and places where your audience lives.

What can you do right now? Start by optimizing your social media strategy. A solid social media plan is both useful and economical for travel agents. Check in with your audience and read up on tips to improve your social media presence.

5. Automate Commission Reconciliation to Increase Commissions

If you follow the tips on this page to increase travel agent commissions, you’re on a solid path to grow your business exponentially.  And as your business grows, you’ll introduce a level of back-office work that may become burdensome or that may even hinder your growth. The act of reconciling commission payments can cause problems for even the most efficient travel agents. From generating invoicing to commission inquiries to currency conversion, increasing commissions can mean more work for you.

Automated commission reconciliation works on your behalf to collect hotel commissions owed to you. It is a cost-effective solution for agencies of all sizes to help maintain oversight of who owes you payment and where payments you receive are coming from.

What can you do right now? Speak with a Onyx CenterSource representative today to see if our Sure Pay and RecoverPro solutions could help you manage your reconciliation process efficiently and effectively.