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Should You Charge Planning Fees? An Expert Travel Agent Weighs In

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Implementing travel planning fees can bring more profit into your business and get rid of clients that waste your time.
should you charge travel planning fees

When you are in the travel industry, sometimes it does (and sometimes it doesn’t) make sense to implement travel planning fees. Implementing fees can be difficult for new agents because they just don’t know how to have the conversation with a client. Whether you decide to do it or not, there are pros and cons to each.

Should you charge travel planning fees as an agency?

The first thing you should do when considering charging fees is to do an assessment on where your business is today. Understand what you’re willing to accept and set boundaries in your business. No one wants clients that waste their time. Look at your clients and see if you have any “tire-kickers” or clients that are costing you time and ghosting you. Think about whether you do a lot of work on non-commission items. Do you offer custom or concierge services? Are you charging for your time for doing that? If you are answering “yes” to all these questions, charging fees may be the right move for you.

Will charging fees cost you clients?

Whether you charge a fee or not, how you message your business and offerings is what truly gets you clients. When someone markets themselves as not charging fees or being “cheaper” your mindset comes from a place of lack. Instead, focus on the opportunity to talk about what you do do.

By charging fees for additional services, you’re showing people that you truly value your time and expertise. The high end clients that you want won’t be turned away by these fees, in fact, they’ll be more likely to book with you, trusting that you’re an expert at what you do.

How travel planning fees can attract more luxury clients

Luxury clients value time and convenience above everything. These clients could be thinking… “maybe there’s a reason this person doesn’t charge a fee,” or “maybe this agent is inexperienced.”

Luxury clients value working with the best of the best, so won’t be turned away by a fee. If you present yourself as someone who’s time must be respected, they respect that and you have almost instant credibility.

Let’s summarize

All of this to say, even if you don’t want to charge a fee, it’s important to be cautious of your messaging. If you want to eliminate tire kickers, it’s important to start charging a fee.

The first thing you can do is to do your self assessment and see where and how you could be charging fees in your business. After this, and when you decide to start charging fees, it’s important to adjust your messaging right away.

Finally, decide what your new boundaries are going to be. Whether it’s “plan to book” fees where the client pays upfront and gets their money back upon booking or group fees, there are all kinds of ways you can monetize your agency.

Fees exist to not only get rid of clients that are going to waste your time but also to bring extra profit to your business. If introducing fees to your business is overwhelming, the Careers on Vacation program, can help you understand how to scale your travel business and make the most profit possible.

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