Travel agents who have completed some form of certification
or training are more likely to have higher annual sales and compensation than
those who don't, according to the Travel Institute's "Changing Face of
Travel Agents" study.
The first part of the study revealed
a dramatic rise in independent contractors in the past 10 years. The second
part of the study, released Monday, focused on compensation and job
According to the study, the average compensation in 2017 for
agents who had no certification or specialist training was $19,428. Conversely,
agents who were Travel Institute-certified (as Certified Travel Associates, Certified
Travel Counselors, or Certified Travel Industry Executives) had average
compensation of $42,953.
Compensation for agents who were Travel Institute-certified
as destination or niche specialists averaged $37,534; CLIA-certified agents,
$33,332; supplier/other destination niche specialists, $31,645; and Travel
Institute TAP-certified (Travel Agent Proficiency), $21,968.
The Travel Institute said 22% of Travel Institute-certified
agent, and 16% of CLIA-certified agents, earned more than $60,000 in compensation
in 2017. Only 7% of noncertified agents earned more than $60,000.
Trained agents also had higher average sales, the study
Agents with no certifications or specialist training
averaged $215,114 in sales in 2017. Those with CTA, CTC or CTIE certifications
averaged $554,880. Travel Institute-certified destination and niche specialists
averaged $488,336; CLIA-certified agents, $446,512; supplier/other destination
and niche specialists, $403,775; and Travel Institute TAP-certified agents,
"I look at these results, especially compensation, as a
trifecta for our industry beginning with well-trained travel professionals who
are earning significantly more money than agents without advanced learning,"
Travel Institute president Diane Petras said in a statement.
"Secondly, for suppliers, whose distribution network is
immensely smarter and more proficient at selling travel, including their
specific products. And lastly, the consumer who truly benefits from agents'
hard-earned knowledge and skills that go hand-in-hand in creating an
extraordinary vacation experience."
The Travel Institute also compared its recent study with
another, conducted in 2008, and found agents are happier in their jobs today.
In total, 96% reported being happy in their current position, compared to 84%
in 2008; 97% said they were likely to remain in the travel industry for the
rest of their career, compared to 52% in 2008; and 68% said they would
recommend a career in retail travel, compared to 29% in 2008. Eleven percent of
agents said they had high job-related stress, compared to 29% in 2008.
The study was based on responses from 1,808 travel agents in
the U.S. to an online survey conducted last December by Schreiner Research