Let’s talk about travel agent commissions.
- Travel agents get 0% to help you book a domestic flight. (But they usually help in hopes that they can book your hotel & car too.)
- They get between 4% and 8% to book an international flight.
- They get 5% or so to book a rental car for you
- They get 10% to 20% to book a hotel or cruise (That’s where the money usually is.)
NOW let’s talk about mistake fares…
- Whether an actual mistake, or intentional fare dump to get 4 or 6 butts in seats to keep from cancelling an under-sold flight – travel agents get paid ZERO commissions on mistake fares.
- On top of that, sites like Travelocity and Expedia HEAVILY discount hotel commissions when you bundle air and hotel together (including when you pay next-to-nothing) for the flight. (Sometimes, so much so – that you can get air PLUS hotel for less than the cost of the flight alone.)
Although travel agents can offer great assistance with “normal” trips – they cant compete when it comes to mistake fares unless they charge an additional fee to you.
Don’t get me wrong – Travel agents still provide plenty of value in the right circumstances (Just like Mom & Pop store owners offer way more value than the minimum-wage Wal-Mart employee when you need to pick out the right baseball glove.)
But when it comes to prices… Even if a travel agent rebated their entire commission back to you – they still couldn’t come close to the price you can find by booking a mistake fare on a major travel site.
So you’ve got three choices:
- Pay a pretty penny for the convenience of finding a flight that goes to the exact place, at the exact time you’re looking for.
- Have a little flexibility and use a free system to find the mistake fares that happen every day from your home airport…
- Have a little flexibility and use a paid service that focuses exclusively on mistake fares. (Just don’t plan on them doing it for free – because they’re not going to get a dime when you eventually book a trip.)
With enough patience & flexibility – both choices 2 and 3 will have you traveling for 50% to 90% less than option 1. (And not some bullshit department store “Mark it up so we can say it’s marked down 50% to 90%…” crap…
Put a little energy into finding mistake fares, schedule trips around them when you find them and you will ACTUALLY pay 50% to 90% less than what most people on the exact same trip as you are paying.
Here is an article on how to find mistake fares on a daily basis – for free.