By Emily Peters
Contributing Writer

In your search for the best host agency, you may have stumbled across the term preferred suppliers or preferred vendors. You also may have wondered, “what the heck is that?” or perhaps the understandable “don’t care—just tell me about what kind of commission I’ll make.”

But that’s exactly what preferred suppliers are all about: making you more commission. Let’s explore further.

What makes a supplier “preferred”?

Travel agents make money primarily in three ways: by charging fees, by marking up a trip, or by getting commission by selling a product. Whose product are you selling? Products from suppliers.

Suppliers could be cruise lines, tour companies, travel insurance companies, even airlines. Commission paid to you is sort of like their thank-you for choosing to sell their product over a competitor’s. In general, suppliers will start commission around 10%.

Not a bad number, but it could be better. But suppliers are all about volume: if you commit to selling THEIR product over the competition, they’ll begin to bump up your commission level. Think 13%, 15%, 17%—and in some cases even higher. Essentially, when you enter into a shared commitment to sell a certain volume of a supplier’s product, they’ll pay a higher commission rate—hence, they become preferred. More money for you.

Why are preferred suppliers such a big deal?

Because it’s tough to get those higher commission rates on your own. When you join a host agency, the supplier looks at the total sales from the entire agency—not just you. When your host is a hybrid like MTravel (functions as a host agency AND a retail travel agency), that booking volume is even bigger.

What’s that mean for you? A lot of the pressure is off to get those preferred rates! Preferred supplier commission is one of the most critical benefits to working with a host agency, which is why you’ll hear it come up so much.

But why can’t I just sell whatever my client asks for?

You can—and should—sell your client what they want. But remember, travelers are coming to you for your expertise. They may have an idea of what they want, but you’re the painter to pull the masterpiece together. You should only recommend suppliers you know, like and trust.

This is where preferred suppliers are once again incredibly valuable. A legitimate host agency like MTravel will only partner with the most reputable suppliers in the industry with extremely high customer-satisfaction rates. After all, why would we send them business if clients wind up unhappy?

Becoming a preferred supplier with a host agency isn’t just about promising the highest commission rate. It’s about having a stellar product AND amazing customer/travel professional support. It’s about establishing a relationship that goes deeper than just dollar signs and respecting the travel agent profession and what it brings to their business.

That’s why some host agencies simply won’t partner with suppliers who lack these qualities. And that’s why booking preferred suppliers is always the best practice for you as as an independent travel professional: to get reputable products and attractive commission rates.

Make sense? Now get out there and learn all you can about your preferred supplier partners. The better you know their product, the better you can match your clients to the right travel experience. Good selling!


Are you ready to start your independent travel business with MTravel? We are here to help! Contact us here or call us at 800-870-5799. Be sure to check out our website at and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.