The Internet was supposed to put travel agents out of business, but I notice there are still a ton of them around. I've relied on their expertise once or twice myself, though I have no idea what kind of shadow world pays them. The hotel and flight prices were all the same. Perhaps they have a strange travel-barter system worked out where they get to go places for free, but I still wonder how they pay their rent. A friend enlisted the help of an agent to book flights and, curious how he made his money, asked the same question. The agent told my friend that there's a system where agents pay the same price as consumers (or sometimes a bit less) and they also get a percentage of the sale. Then the agent gave my friend his flight itinerary, and my friend said, "I got the same thing on Kayak but it was $100 less." The agent said, "Well, I gotta get paid somehow." So I guess there's more than one way that they make their money.