Who is the Hosted Agent in 2017?

June 9, 2017

Host Agency Reviews chats with you on Facebook, over email, and through tweets. But regardless of our mode of communication with you, figuring out who the average travel agent is was just a little something we were wondering about. So we issued a Travel Agent Income Survey, that gave us a ton of info—not only in regard to how much moolah independent agents are taking to the bank—but who exactly it is we're talking to as whole!

The survey also provided awesome demographic info, and we wanted to share with you too. While there’s no such thing as an average Joe (let's be honest, average Jill) travel agent, with over 700 agents responding, we think we’re getting a clearer picture about just who these agents are!

Here's an infographic that shows you the big picture:

Okay. It’s data party time. Here’s a look at how some of these demographic factors impacted earnings.

Travel Agent Demographics

Ever wondered who the “average” travel agent is? Take a look at any travel industry event, and you'll know the majority of travel agents are female, but now we've got some hard data for you.

As expected, the majority of travel agents are female — 80% to be exact.

In 2015, women earned on average 83% of what men earned in the United States1. While our survey still reflects a gender pay gap among travel agents, the gap is considerably smaller than the national average. According to our survey, female travel agents earned 96.6% of what male agents earned.

And what's the age of the average travel agent? The largest set of respondents fell in the 40-49 age group.

The last demographic stat we looked at was racial and ethnic background of travel agents. 73.1% identified as White/Caucasian while 14.9% identified as Black/African American—but you can see the rest of the breakdown in the chart below:

2017 Hosted Agents Demographics: Race/Ethnicity

Business Models

A whopping 96.5% of agents that responded to the survey are home based travel agents, while the remaining 3.5% own or work at a storefront agency!!!! (If you want to read some cool profiles of agents who transitioned from home based to store front, check this article out . . . it’s a gem!)

97.1% of responding agents reported they are hosted, and of those, 7.2% of the agents are hosted and have their own accreditation. 2.9% reported having their own accreditation without a host or franchise (flying solo).

Of the agents who responded to the question, What is your specialty?, “Ocean Cruises” was the most popular response. Many agents reported having multiple specialties, so we were unable to find a clear correlation between a single specialty and earnings. But the breakdown of specialties is below:

Certification and Compensation

Travel certification has a strong correlation with higher earnings for travel agents. 50.6% of our responding agents reported having earned some kind of certification or training. Those who received certification2 reported earnings 77.1% higher than those who did not have certification or training.

However, higher earnings did not directly correlate with more years of education: Those who reported earning a high school diploma earned 28% more than those with some college, 15% more than those with an Associate degree, 22% more than those who attended trade school and 46% higher than those with a Bachelor’s degree. 

Respondents with a Doctorate earned 3% more than those with a high school education, and those with a Master’s earned the highest average AGI (annual gross income), registering 2% higher than a those with a Doctorate.3.

Compensation by Region

Income was relatively level across regions in the United States, with a spread of 105% between the highest earning region—the Midwest—and the lowest earning region, the Southeast. Below outlines the average travel agent income of established agents (those with 3+ years owning or working at the agency).

The mysteries revealed:

2017 Hosted Travel Agent Income by Region

Travel Agents Are a Happy Bunch

Travel agents overwhelmingly are happy with their job. 81% are either “happy and satisfied” or “super happy and satisfied” with their career choice, and 96.9% would choose to become a travel agent again.

The most common response when asked what was the most rewarding part of their job was Gratitude/ Relationship with Clients. 73.88% of responding travel agents feel fairly compensated for their work.

On the more bummer days, agents most commonly reported that the most challenging part of their job was “dealing with difficult clients.” (Psst! If you're wanting some more support through work challenges, check out this article on creating a work community!) 

What You've All Been Waiting for . . . 

We asked the ever important question, “Which animal is your favorite? Dog, cat, or own”? Turns out, travel agents are dog people :). Dogs won out over cats and owls by a landslide. The HAR office dogs were very happy with those results.

Any questions? Are you an owl person who wants to avenge the reputation of your preferred species? Post in the comments below! 


  1. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/03/gender-pay-gap-facts/
  2. Number reflects respondents who listed having any one or multiple of the following certifications: CLIA's ACC, CCC, MCC, and ECC; Travel Institute's CTC, CTA, TAP, CTIE; Destination or vendor specialist; GTP through GBTA
  3. Only respondents who reported earning an income were considered in this data set
About the Author
Mary Stein - Host Agency Reviews

Mary Stein

Mary Stein has been working as a writer and editor for Host Agency Reviews since 2016. She loves supporting travel advisors on their entrepreneurial journey and is inspired by their passion, tenacity, and creativity. Mary is also a mom, dog lover, fiction writer, hiker, and a Great British Bake Off superfan.