The Bottom Line

Is it more profitable to book group travel? Longer trips? Or to deal with wealthier clients? Travel Agent asked, and agents answered: What's the highest commission you've ever earned, and what was it for? 

Sylvia Berman

Post Haste Travel Service

"There were two wonderful commissions earned," says Sylvia Berman, owner of Post Haste Travel Service in Hollywood, FL. "As most consultants will tell you, incentive groups earn us the most money and that is what we were fortunate enough to do. A two-night package earned us $30,000.

"For a family going to Africa for 10 days," she also recalls, "the commission earned was $37,000. It's lots of work, but for a big reward."

Connie Lemmon

America's VacationCenter

Sometimes it's simply the wealthiest clients that yield the biggest agent rewards. "The highest commission I've ever earned was for booking the penthouse suite on the Crystal Serenity for the 2008 world cruise," says Connie Lemmon, a personal vacation planner with AVC. "The booking was for repeat clients of mine and the total commission was $89,000."

 Rabia ShahenshahRabia Shahenshah

Tzell Travel Group

Rabia Shahenshah of Tzell Travel Group in New York City says that to the best of her memory, her highest recent commission was for booking a family trip. "I think $11,000 dollars for two weeks in Hawaii was my highest commission," she says. She upped the commission by adding extras and giving the client what he wanted in terms of space. "The client owns his own jet. He's pretty wealthy and wanted a two-bedroom suite plus a couple of extra rooms for his family (of six people)."

Randy Maged

Randy Maged

AskTheTravelMaven.com

"I guess the highest commission I've ever earned was for an extremely upscale group trip to France in 2005. I believe it was $20,000," says Randy Maged, the founder and owner of Potomac, MD-based AskThe TravelMaven.com. "It was a group of association members that does a trip every year. Each year, it seems to get more upscale." The group usually invites 30 people, but that particular year, they ended up with many extra family members and friends.

"I have excellent contacts in Paris with hotels, and I have access to the best tour operators. The planning and prep time was insane. I couldn't begin to count the hours. Things changed every day, and the workload was enormous. My commission simply reflected ten percent of the gross."

"A wonderful time was had by all," Maged recalls. "I'm always delighted when that happens." But, she says, "I couldn't wait for the trip to be over. It was a huge commission...but the workload affected my business for a year. Lots of midsize commissions are better for me. I [can't] have one huge trip taking all my time and energy."