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WhatIn 2017, the U.S. travel agency market was valued at $112.8 billion. According to Phocuswright, that number is forecasted to grow to $127 billion by 2021.
Why It MattersThe travel advisor business is flourishing alongside consumer direct and online travel agency channels. And agents know why: Consumers who book with them are willing to spend more on unique and customized experiences, and they value having an expert manage their trips. Reports such as these are great to share with prospective clients who might still be on the fence about the role of a travel advisor. (Note: Phocuswright and TravelAge West are both owned by Northstar Travel Group.)
Fast Facts- The report shows that advisors are not just surviving — they are being courted.
- At 30 percent, travel advisors are the biggest consumer of travel products. By 2021, that number is expected to dip by one percent with supplier-direct channels taking the lead.
- More than 69 percent of agents and 59 percent of agency owners report increases in sales volume from 2016 to 2017.
- More than 20 percent of agencies have hired new agents.
- Air remains the largest travel agency segment; at $66.7 billion, air represents 59 percent of agency sales. It’s most important to corporate agents.
- Hotel is the second-largest travel agency sector with 18 percent share.
- Fifty-one percent of travel advisors work at home, with 48 percent of these homebased agents identifying as independent contractors.
- The typical agent is female, 55 years old and books mainly leisure travel.
- Thirty-four percent of agents book directly through their mobile phones, though complex and tailored trips are still mainly booked over the phone.
- Referrals and word of mouth are still the main sources of attracting new clients.
- Consortia affiliation is up (82 percent of advisors in 2018, compared to 77 percent in 2011).