Updated August 2023 – Your ability to grow your tour and activity company depends heavily on your distribution strategy. Through your distribution strategy, you should be partnering with various tour agents who will resell your products to their own customers. These agents play a crucial role in boosting your bookings, and in return, they expect a travel agent commission.

In this article, we’ll explore the concept of travel agent fees/ commissions and delve into the industry standards for various types of tour agents. 

What is commission?

Commission is the fee that you pay agents who market your products and resell them to their own customers. For your tour agents, their commission is their income, and it’s what motivates them to encourage their own clients to book your products. While travel agent commission rates may seem like an extra expense, it is a necessary fee to pay if you want to increase your reach amongst your target market segments.

When setting commission with agents, tour operators often face the choice between offering net or percentage commission. Net commission is a fixed amount or flat fee paid to travel agents for each booking made. This approach provides certainty to agents about the amount they will earn for each sale, regardless of the booking value. On the other hand, percentage-based commission involves paying agents a percentage of the total booking value. This approach aligns the travel agent commission percentage with the actual revenue generated from each booking. 

What is the industry standard for travel agent commission rates?

The typical commission for travel agents varies based on the type of tour agent that you are working with. The following can be used as a guideline when it comes to calculating commission levels for travel agents:

Retail travel agent rates

the future of travel

These agents will make up a large portion of your distribution strategy. They are the traditional travel agents who resell your products directly to their own clients. Retail travel agents generally work for travel agencies, visitor information centers, and other organizations that offer travel booking services. They often sell their clients’ packages that will include tour and activity products, so in all likelihood, you won’t be directly dealing with retail agents on a regular basis. However, they are part of the process, and they will expect a travel agent commission. Generally, retail travel agents earn about 10-20% of the retail price of your tours.

Tour wholesaler rates

Tour wholesalers are the agents that connect your tour and activity company with the retail travel agents who will package your products. They do not promote your products directly to travelers who are interested in your destination but rather try to sell your products to retail travel agents who can use your tours to complete their latest vacation package. You can expect to pay a tour wholesaler a 25-30% percent commission, based on the retail price of your tours.

Inbound tour operator rates

Also known as ITOs, these travel agents are based out of your destination. They generally work to promote travel products that are available in your destination with international distributors, such as wholesalers, event planners, and retail travel agents. For the most part, ITOs work to create packages that appeal to specific groups of people. For instance, ITOs may create tour packages for religious organizations, volunteers or for special interest groups. The typical travel agent commission rate for ITOs is 25-30% of the retail price of your tours.

How to determine travel agent commission rates

Setting the right travel agent commission rates requires a thoughtful approach that takes various factors into account. Here are some essential considerations to determine the right commission levels for travel agents:

Travel product

The cost and complexity of your tour and activity products, along with any bundled services like flights, accommodation, and meals, should be factored into the commission rates to account for the cost of reselling tours. High-value products or those that involve substantial logistical arrangements may require higher commission rates for agents. Agents need to be adequately incentivized to promote and sell these products to their clients, and a competitive commission rate can serve as a powerful motivator.

Tourism marketing mix

Additionally, when calculating travel agent fees/ commissions, consider the seasonality and demand fluctuations of your tours. For peak seasons or in-demand experiences, offering slightly higher commission rates might encourage agents to prioritize your products over others.

Competition from other tour operators

Industry standards often dictate commission rates. Research what your competitors offer in terms of commission rates and try to remain competitive within the industry. Offering commission rates that align with or slightly exceed the standard rates can attract quality agents and differentiate your offerings in a crowded market.

While remaining competitive is essential, it’s equally crucial not to engage in a race to the bottom with commission rates. Setting rates that are too low may lead to a decline in service quality and deter high-performing agents from working with your company.

Value of travel agent

Recognize the unique value that each travel agent brings to your business. Consider factors such as their sales volume, the size and loyalty of their customer base, their expertise in marketing specific types of tours, and the strength of their network connections. Agents who consistently bring in a significant number of bookings or target specific niches that align with your offerings should be rewarded with competitive commission rates.

Establishing tiered commission structures based on agent performance can be a strategic approach. This rewards top-performing agents with higher rates, motivating them to continue driving sales for your products. Simultaneously, it encourages other agents to strive for higher sales levels to unlock more favorable commission rates.


While the industry standards are important to know, you also should recognize that you can motivate agents to sell your products by offering a slightly higher commission rate. Even a commission rate that is 2% higher than the industry standard may be enough to develop loyalty amongst your distribution partners.

Distribute your tours and activities with Rezdy

Now that you know how much you need to pay the agents who resell your tour and activity products, it’s time to start improving your distribution strategy. Utilizing an online booking software with distribution capabilities, such as Rezdy, will streamline and automate your distribution process. Rezdy’s online booking software provides tour and activity operators with advanced features such as real-time availability viewer, automated communications, reporting tools, the ability to accept online payments, and so much more. Furthermore, as a Rezdy online booking software customer, you’ll have instant access to the industry’s largest network of resellers – Rezdy Channel Manager. 

Rezdy Channel Manager gives you access to over 25,000 active resellers, including the biggest Online Travel Agents (OTAs), all the way to your local travel agents. Furthermore, Rezdy Channel Manager allows you to broadcast your live rates and availability to your resellers, thus, automating the entire reselling process.

Ready to join the thousands of Rezdy operators that increased their bookings by an average of 27% in 2022? Start your FREE 21-day trial or book a demo today.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to subscribe to the Rezdy newsletter, where you’ll receive weekly up-to-date learnings and news from the Experiences industry, straight into your inbox.

Broaden your distribution with Rezdy

Enjoy 21 days to take a look around and see if we are a good fit for your business.

Get started today

No obligations, no catches, no limits, nada

activity tour business
section break
section break