“Does charging a fee mean my client owns me?” : Travel Weekly

To charge or not to charge? Fees, that is – it’s a topic that’s getting more and more attention from the travel agency community during the pandemic. Advisors earn a commission on the products they sell, but do they also have to charge clients for their services on top?

This week, join co-hosts Emma Weissmann and Jamie Biesiada as they explore the ins and outs of the subject with two veteran advisors, Jamie Jones, President of WhirlAway Travel in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and Susanne Hays, President of Fairytale Journeys Travel in Alexander City, Ala. One charges a fee (Jones) and the other doesn’t (Hays), but both are confident in their business model.

Tune in to learn more and hear them answer some questions from listeners, including how to avoid feeling like a customer belongs to you if you charge a fee.


This episode is sponsored by Historic Highlights of Germany.

In this episode:

1:23 – Meet our guests, Jamie and Susanne, two seasoned travel consultants

2:34 – Susanne’s agency, Fairytale Journeys Travel, does not charge a fee. Why?

3:35 – On the other hand, WhirlAway Travel was one of the first agencies in West Chester to charge a fee, and still does today. Jamie tells us more.

4:51 – The Disney agency space – where Susanne operates – is very crowded. Does this mean that the charges are not feasible?

7:09 – Are amateur agents on the rise?

8:11 – Jamie’s main teaching points for new agents (spoiler: consultation and trust)

11:19 – More advisors are moving towards fee charging; what do Jamie and Susanne notice among their peers?

15:40 – Would Jamie or Susanne consider changing their position on charging fees?

5:38 PM – Julie Lanham, owner of Vacations to Remember, just started charging fees, and it was a great experience. But she is worried about the future: will her clients feel like owners of her once they have paid her fees?

8:37 PM – Donna Wolfe, Advisor at Plaza Travel, asks: How do you ask long-time customers to start paying fees?

24:21 – Disney agencies often advertise that booking with them won’t cost consumers more than booking directly. Find out how this plays into Susanne’s strategy.

Other resources:

WhirlAway Travel

fairy tale journeys

A journey through the history of travel, fees included

A Guide for Travel Counselors to Charging Service Fees

Advisors learn about fee billing

How travel agencies are rethinking fare structures

Need advice?

Theme song: Sock Hop by Kevin MacLeod


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