Lately, I've noticed that there's some confusion regarding the way a travel agent gets paid. While reading one of my favourite Reddit boards over coffee this morning, I found a thread there asking whether a traveler should be tipping his long-term travel agent.
A travel agent has connected us twice with fabulous deals on our cruises. I've never paid her a gratuity, but now I'm wondering if she'll deal with me since it's been two years since I last contacted her?
I responded to the thread by first revealing that I'm a travel agent, and that I get paid commission for my services and would never expect a gratuity or tip from my clients. I suggested that his travel agent would likely appreciate him leaving a review of her services on her website or Facebook page, and said that referrals are also welcome. Another travel agent on the thread added that she appreciates repeat business from her clients, in lieu of any sort of gratuity.
A lot of folks out there also seem to think it costs them more to use a travel agent to book a trip or vacation. This is usually not the case. It's true that some travel agencies will require its agents to charge additional service fees, but most won't. For example, the agency that I'm affiliated with, Pure Magic Vacations, insists our clients are never charged service fees for travel bookings. This means that when you consult me about booking a vacation, there are no additional fees involved. We travel agents are compensated for the work that we do via commission paid from the supplier (a cruise line, for example) to the travel agency.
So please don't worry about tipping your travel agent. And if you are the kind of person who worries, consider leaving a review online or refer other travelers her way! I guarantee these gestures will be appreciated.