Updated July 2023 – As a tour and activity provider, expanding your business reach goes beyond direct customer marketing; networking with industry agents and wholesale travel partners is equally important. Engaging with a diverse array of agents, including OTAs, local visitor centers, travel agents, and hotel concierges, among others, can help launch your products to a wider audience, ensuring increased online bookings for your company.

However, they will expect a commission for these sales in exchange for the many benefits they can provide. When determining your travel agent commission structure, it’s essential to consider the cost of working with resellers and strike a balance that benefits both your business and the agents involved.

What is commission and why do travel agents change it?

Commission is a fee or percentage that tour operators pay to travel agents for promoting and selling their products or services to customers. Travel agent commission structures serve as an incentive for agents to promote and prioritize your tours or activities to their clients.

By offering commission percentages, you motivate agents to work actively on selling your products, resulting in increased bookings and exposure.

How percentage commissions work

As the name suggests, with a percentage commission you agree to give your agents a percentage of the retail rate of your product. In this case, you set the retail rate, and your agents have to sell your tour or activity at that flat rate.

commission percentage

For example, you run a kayaking tour, and you sell it at $100 per tour. Your agents must also sell it at $100 per tour. You offer your agents 20% commission because you know that to make a profit, you need at least $80 per tour. Thus, you keep $80 and they take the $20 commission.


If you want to make sure all your customers see the same price for your tour or activity (whether it’s with you or your agents), then this travel agent commission structure might be the best for your business. Customers could book with some confidence that there isn’t a lower price available somewhere out there.


However, you may fail to attract large, savvy OTAs with the percentage commission option because they won’t be competitive. OTAs know how to market your tours and they know the price points that work for their audience.

How net commissions work

With a net commission, you tell your agents the flat dollar amount you want to get paid per tour, and leave the retail price to be determined by the agent. Hence, they set their own commission level.

net commission

For example, you sell your kayak tours on your website for $100 per tour. You tell your agents to pay you $80 per tour at a net rate. This means that one agent could resell your tour at $81, and another could resell it at $110. Either way, you know exactly what you’re getting and you’re making a profit. This can also make your cashflow easier to manage and plan for.


Net commission is a better scenario, because you are guaranteed to make a profit for each tour, and you give your agents flexibility in the marketplace. They can apply pricing strategies that allow them to be more competitive with each other, cutting into their own commission if they have to in order to sell your tours.


On the downside, with net commissions, you may encounter challenges in maintaining price consistency across different agents. Some might undersell tours to gain a competitive edge, potentially leading to price discrepancies and customer confusion.

How to come to the right commission rate

Determining the appropriate commission rate involves a few key steps to ensure a fair and mutually beneficial agreement between your business and the agents you work with.

travel agent commission structure

Research the market

If you’re unsure about how to find the ideal commission percentage for your business, conducting market research can help you determine the typical tour operator commission rates prevalent in your industry. This will provide you with valuable insights into the prevailing norms and help you set competitive yet profitable rates for your agents.

Negotiate with transparency

Remember to maintain open and transparent communication while negotiating with agents. After all, finding the right kind of travel agent to partner with is crucial as it can significantly impact the success of your tour and activity business.

Discuss your business needs, profit margins, and the value they can expect from promoting your tours. A clear understanding of each other’s expectations will lead to a more equitable commission structure.

Offer incentives for agents

Consider offering performance-based incentives to motivate agents to achieve higher sales volumes or meet specific targets. Incentives can be in the form of bonuses, higher commission rates for surpassing sales goals, or exclusive access to special offers.

Be flexible

Stay open to adjustments and revisions when setting commission rates, especially if you notice certain agents consistently outperforming others. Being flexible with your travel agent commission structure allows you to maintain mutually beneficial relationships with high-performing partners.

Stay in touch

Above all, maintaining regular communication with your agents is crucial. Keep them updated about new products, promotions, and any changes in commission rates. A strong, collaborative partnership is much more likely to lead to long-term success for both parties.

Leverage technology

Consider utilizing travel technology platforms that offer automated commission tracking and reporting. This streamlines the process, reduces administrative burdens, and ensures accurate commission payments to agents.

Rezdy, for example, offers an advanced commission tracking and reporting system, making it an indispensable tool for businesses that work with multiple agents and partners.

Integrating Rezdy into your operations provides you access to a seamless and efficient commission management process. With its automated system, you can easily track bookings, monitor sales performance, and calculate accurate commission payments for your agents. This not only saves you valuable time but also eliminates the risk of manual errors in commission calculations.

Experience seamless commission management with Rezdy

Whether you’re considering a net commission or percentage commission structure, Rezdy has the perfect solution to meet your needs. Rezdy’s automated system simplifies the process of reconciling commission, saving tour operators valuable time and ensuring accurate payments to their agents.

tour operator commission rates

Don’t let the complexities of commission management bog you down. With Rezdy’s advanced travel technology platform, you can streamline your operations and focus on what truly matters – providing exceptional experiences to your customers. Start your FREE 21-day trial today or book a demo and experience how Rezdy can revolutionize your commission tracking and reporting process.

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