How much do travel agents earn? | Travel agency salary 2022 (2023)

How much do travel agents earn?It's a simple question with a complicated answer. I would like to start with a video trailer to answer the question.

The video offers some insight, but there is sooo much to consider when looking at how much travel agents make.The cost of living makes a big difference as average travel agent salaries vary widely by region.For example, a Minneapolis dollar is only 47 cents in Manhattan, NY, but if you drive south to Des Moine, your Minneapolis dollar is worth $1.16.1

The vast majority of leisure travel agencies today are independent contractors affiliated with a host agency.

Another important factor in the earnings of the travel agent is whether they are employees or entrepreneurs.The vast majority of leisure travel agencies today are independent contractors affiliated with a host agency. This is a change from the old days when most travel agents were employees of business agencies.

One last big factor in travel agent salaries? The kind of trip that a travel consultant sells.Amanagement consultanttypically earn a higher salary than leisure/holiday travel agents.

Organizations that report travel agency salaries outside of the travel industry are unaware of the nuances of our specialty.

The problem is that organizations that report travel agent salaries outside of the travel industry are unaware of the nuances of our specialty.Most external websites do not include independent travel agencies in their data,the same as hosted travel agencies (those associated with aHost-Agent) are the big names in holiday travel. Often they only look at the salaries of travel agency employees.

That's why we're here! :) As a company that focuses solely on travel consultants, we're going to break down some of those nuances to give you a more accurate view of travel agent salaries. Let's look at some internal data to break down travel agent salaries and earnings into understandable categories. Here's what you can expect:

  1. ALL travel agencies (hosted, independent and staff)
  2. independent travel agencies(including hosted travel agencies and independently accredited travel agencies).
  3. Travel agents only
  4. Corporate travel agency employees only(including business travel agencies and travel managers)

Then sit down. Find the fluffiest cotton candy you can find because the full travel agent pay show is about to start (and it's going to be awesome).

How much do travel agents earn? All of them.

Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) data shows a 26% increase in travel consultant salaries over the past decade. The chart below shows how it has increased over time.

How much do travel agents earn? | Travel agency salary 2022 (1)

The latest BLS figures (2021) reported an average travel agent salary of $46,5802. This year, that number was well above the HAR average. Here are some reasons:

  1. BLS employee profiles only.The BLS website puts it in a nutshell: "Estimates without the self-employed". When calculating the annual turnover. We interviewed full-time and part-time self-employed travel agencies and employees.
  2. The BLS is only looking for full-time travel agencies.Here's how they analyze their numbers: "Annual wages were calculated by multiplying the average hourly wage by 'full-time year-round hours'." The average earnings of HAR for all travel agents decreases because we also consider part-time travel agents.3

So we looked at the BLS data, which you now know is heavily employee-centric and doesn't reflect the true landscape of the industry where most travel consultants are self-employed. Let's take a look at oursTravel Advisor Survey 2022which primarily profiles independent consultants. The table below provides HAR's overview of wages fromALL agents– self-employed, employed, full-time or part-time.

How much do travel agents earn? | Travel agency salary 2022 (2)

HAR search heartbeat results are less than the BLS number, which is what the data indicatesFull-time consultants made $37,473 on average for the year.

It's important to note that HAR's research profiles the income of self-employed consultants (any consultant not employed by a travel agency). In our 2022 surveyonly 4% of consultants who took part in the HAR survey were employees.

HAR's 2020 Longitudinal Report indicates that the income of full-time hosted consultants increased by 38% in four years between 2016 and 2019

Our website helps travel agents to start and grow their travel agencies, so our readers are strongly biased towards entrepreneurs. There is another important reason why HAR survey data on travel agent salaries is lower than BLS reports. . . COVID. As an employee, you get a paycheck regardless of whether the company has revenue or not. But if you own your own travel agency and a global pandemic hits no one can travel, guess what happens to your income? It dries.

In fact, the HARLongitudinal Report 2020reported that the income of full-time housed consultants increased by 38% in four years between 2016 and 2019 (before the outbreak of the pandemic). Much faster growth than employees whose income has increased 26% in a decade, according to BLS stats.

Because it's difficult to get accurate information that summarizes all categories of consultants (corporate/leisure, employee/self-employed), we'll take a closer look at the average travel agent salaries for self-employed consultants, employee travel consultants, travel managers, and travel consultants. We want to cover all our bases!

How much do travel agents earn? independent travel agencies

Self-employed travel consultants are those who run their own businesses (rather than work as employees).

I'm going to throw industry jargon at you now. Are you ready? The self-employed category includes two main segments of consultants: visiting consultants (those who use another agency's accreditation number, known as a host agency) and independently accredited travel consultants (those who have their own travel accreditation).

What the heck is a travel accreditation number? Read all abouttravel accreditationsHere.

Here's the big picture of what you need to know about freelance consultants. Over time, the number of independent consultants has grown exponentially, while the number of shell travel agents has decreased over time. In particular,Hosted consultants and the hosting agencies that support them have become the primary way to bring new talent into the travel agency sales channel.

Our annual travel agent income survey provides results in the independently hosted and accredited travel agent segment.In our 2021 year, full-time hosted consultants with 3+ years of experience earned an average of $24,982 and their independently accredited peers earned $24,574.

The chart below compares current income to pre-pandemic income levels.

How much do travel agents earn? | Travel agency salary 2022 (3)

It is important to note that income levels from independently hosted and accredited consultants are still being impacted by the impact of the pandemic.look at ourslongitudinal reportfor a 5-year view of travel agent earnings prior to the outbreak of the pandemic for a more realistic view of potential self-employed travel agent earnings.

Owner Deductions (and How This Affects How Much Independent Travel Agents Earn)

I would like to mention one last thing that complicates things when it comes to freelance travel agency salaries. Why why not? You have read this far! 😊

The next section on travel agent salaries gives you figures that roughly correspond to what you can expect when you get hired by an agency. However, when it comes to income for self-employed agents, income/salary figures can be artificially deflated.

Why? Three things:

  1. Business owners may not report all of their income.Because cash transactions leave no paper trail for the IRS to follow, many small businesses do not report cash transactions, thereby reducing the income/earnings they report to the government.
  2. Business owners take losses.I can resign my position. Can I cancel my business trips? I can cancel my work phone and meals with co-workers where I'm discussing business. When I do that, it reduces what I report to the IRS for my taxable income (ahem, salary). Not only that, travel agencies vary LOTS in terms of how much of their income they write off. (See which travel expenses are (and aren't) deductible.)
  3. Salary and income are separate things for some business structures.Depending on the agency's business structure, the owner may pay himself a salary (e.g. $45,000), but the company's income may be much higher. All the IRS requires in these business structures is that the owner pay himself a "fair" wage.

Learn more about the different types of corporate structures here. So keep that in mind when analyzing earning potential.

How much do travel agents earn? Travel agents only.

Travel agent salaries show less variability compared to freelance travel agents. For most travel consultants, revenue doesn't depend solely on commissions. Typically, employees earn a mix of salary and commission income.

In our 2022 survey, see how travel agent employees reported receiving payments in our 2022 travel agent survey:

How much do travel agents earn? | Travel agency salary 2022 (4)

Want to read more about how money gets into the bank? read our article,How do travel agents make money?

A fixed salary offers income stability that is not offered to freelance consultants. In addition, employees often receive benefits as well and are not subject to the added complexity and hassle of paying business taxes.

Looking only at travel consultant staff, HAR's salary data is much closer to the BLS's reports. In the 2022 HAR surveyFull-time travel agency employees earned $38,967.

Employee compensation models play an important role when it comes to how much a travel agent earns. 70% of employees earned a salary or salary (solely or in addition to commission income). The following graphic shows the average income of these two most common remuneration models.4

How much do travel agents earn? | Travel agency salary 2022 (5)

Interested in checking out travel industry jobs?Discover industrial jobs on our job exchange!

How much do travel agents earn? Company employees and travel managers

Corporate Travel Advisor

Corporate travel consultants generally make more than those who sell leisure travel. For business travel agency revenue, we mainly rely on third party data as that is not our problem. We are leisure people here at HAR!

The average annual income for corporate agents ranges from $54,419 to $79,557 depending on which website you link to. Below we provide a snapshot of what third-party revenue reporting platforms post in relation to company earnings.

How much do travel agents earn? | Travel agency salary 2022 (6)

Are you interested in becoming a corporate travel agent? Here's where you can sink your teeth into some succulent treats:

  1. HAR Article,Business travel invasion
  2. Our podcast interview (below) with corporate agent Karen Hurlbut:

travel manager

Looking further down the corporate travel agency career path, the travel manager/supervisory positions start from a much higher base. Business Travel News (BTN) published a report on August 12, 2022 profiling Travel Managers/Supervisors who work for companies as in-house consultants (not working for a travel agency).The average combined salary for corporate travel manager/supervisor positions has been reported as $114,955.

Not much shabs am I right?

Beyond travel agency salaries, why consultants love their jobs

We looked at travel agent salaries from different perspectives. You have experienced the spin madness of the cube acrobats.

HAR-Passincomeerate searchreportsprovide information on what to expect from a travel agent salary. But ultimately it depends on a lot of factors. Not just the type of consultant you are (which we're covering here), but other factors like the type of trips you sell, sales experience, hours worked, and all that other fun stuff.

While it's impossible to pinpoint a one-size-fits-all salary for a travel agent, one thing is consistent across surveys: most travel agents are content with a career filled with travel experience.

HAR's 2022 Travel Consultant Survey found that 74% of full-time consultants were (at least) happy and satisfied with their income. 22% were “rather satisfied” and 4% were dissatisfied with the level of income. And that was during the pandemic!!!

Travel managers who took part in the BTN survey were slightly more indifferent when it came to income satisfaction. 48% of travel managers said their pay was reasonable, 12% felt "well paid" and 41% said their pay was "low for the responsibility".

How much do travel agents earn? | Travel agency salary 2022 (7)

And here's the problem when you're in the travel industry. Many Consultants report that the main benefit of working in travel is rooted in a personal passion for travel and the ability to share your love of travel with others.

Additionally, Consultants often have access to great travel experiences that they might not otherwise be able to get through training trips ordiscounts for travel consultantsfor those who hit sales thresholds or meet requirements.

In general, travel positions offer a lower salary than other industries. But here's the problem, jobs in other industries don't include travel perks andwork while travelling!

Interested in becoming a consultant? Here's where to start

Which brings us to the question of what type of travel consultant career you would like to pursue. Would you like to become a freelance travel consultant to have the creativity to book the types of travel you love and the flexibility to be your own boss?

Or do you want the 9-5 structure with the perks and income security of a travel consultant associate? Travel agency employees may have a salary cap if their pay model is based solely on hourly/salary (about 42% of employees), but for those who own their own business, the sky is the limit. Plus, it's hard to pay a price for visiting beautiful places, checking out the latest properties, and having the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere that comes with owning your own travel agency from home.

How do you decide what type of trip to sell? Do you want to do leisure or business? If you do free time what kinds ofNiches for travel agenciesare the most profitable? If you walk the corporate path, how are you?Hack into business travel booking?

💕 If you're thinking of getting into the industry, here are some resources you'll love: 💕

  1. Start a travel agency at home article
  2. Free 15-page travel agency business plan template
  3. HAR's cool resource on starting a travel agency!

We are here to help! If you have any questions about which route to take or how to get started, let us know in the comments or contact us via


  1. Source: Bankrate Cost of Living Calculator(9. September 2022).
  3. Those:
  4. We didn't have a large enough sample to find a reliable mean for employees earning "Other" or "Commissions Only."
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