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It's Not About the Money

It’s Not About the Money, or Is It?

Positioning fees in a new era of travel

The one thing I know for sure about travel advisors is that their customers always come first.

As a BDM for Princess Cruises, and a sales executive for Expedia, we were always looking to find effective promotions that would benefit the customer, to help get the phone to ring or close the sale.

Given the choice of a $50 onboard credit or $50 bonus commission, the customer amenity typically won the day. After all, it’s not about the money, or is it?

Along comes the pandemic where thousands of hours of unpaid work in cancellations and rebooking has put the value of our time to the test.

The conversation around fees has sprung up everywhere. While some advisors have been charging fees for years, the vast majority are now grappling with how and when to charge them.

For most, the idea of charging fees makes sense. Fees are an effective way of placing a value on your time, regardless of if someone travels. The fee represents those things you do above and beyond making the reservation.

The mistake most advisors make is introducing fees as a pre-emptive strike against the “what if” scenario.

Customers don’t want to feel responsible for correcting the wrongs of an outdated commission structure that doesn’t compensate you for lost time and lost commissions.

The other challenge is introducing fees to loyal customers who did not pay fees in the past. To implement a new fee, there must be an associated increased benefit to the client. That benefit could be more of your time before, during, and after the booking spent on safety protocols, back up plans, and “know before you go” lists.

Lastly, there is a fear that someone down the street or an online agency that does not charge fees will take the business. On this point, this has always been the case. If a customer is willing to switch agents over a fee, you likely didn’t convince them of your value in the first place.

The key to charging fees is having confidence and conviction about the indispensable you. There is only one of you. The more unique you are in your ability to deliver an exceptional experience, the more you can charge.

Positioning fees from a place of scarcity allows the client to understand the value of having your undivided attention on their travel plans, from start to finish.

Before you ask yourself, what will I charge, and what will I say, ask yourself, what will I do for this customer that they would never leave home without me?

Enjoy the journey,

PS For more ideas, join me for my FREE Masterclass on Business Building Strategies for the new Era of Travel. Thursday, October 21st at 1 pm ET. Register HERE.

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