Get Us in Your Inbox
Last year at our annual Future Leaders in Travel Retreat, we featured a workshop called “Let’s Talk About Money, Honey.” Led by the dynamic Jenn Lee of Travel Planners International, the class discussed ways that travel advisors can better utilize standard business practices to achieve their career goals. Whether an agent is an agency owner or works as an independent contractor, an employee or in some other capacity, there are money-planning basics that need to be considered to succeed. Lee covered topics such as setting revenue goals, estimating expenses and developing new sales channels. It was a big hit with attendees, but one of the more contentious topics of the workshop was whether to charge fees.
As you’ll read in this issue’s cover story, “A Method in Madness” (page 12), the debate over charging clients a service or consultation fee is a major issue in the industry. According to the latest research, it’s still somewhat rare for advisors to add a fee, and the reasons for this are probably as varied as the multitude of agency business models out there. Some advisors worry that charging fees will chase away customers, while others insist that by not charging a fee, an agent is devaluing his or her expertise.
Of course, the final word on fees will depend on your business, but I encourage everyone to at least evaluate the pros and cons before deciding one way or another. It would be a shame to limit your success based on a gut reaction in either direction — and keep in mind that “this is how we’ve always done it” is not an acceptable response. When it comes to your financial well-being, you need to be open to every possibility.
If you want to learn more about Jenn Lee, be sure to check out “Humans of Travel,” TravelAge West’s new podcast. In the latest installment, Deputy Digital Editor Valerie Chen leads a wide-ranging, often hilarious, discussion with Lee, who is one of the strongest advisor advocates in the industry. You can learn more at www.travelagewest.com/podcast.