Travel Agents Continue to Dominate Cruise and Tour Sales

by Richard D’Ambrosio

While online travel agencies (OTAs) and supplier websites are increasingly growing their share of overall travel bookings, traditional travel agents maintain a significant share of cruise and tour bookings, and that share will increase over the next three years.

Traditional travel agent tour and package sales increased 4 percent in 2017 to nearly $9 billion and now represents 68 percent of total sales, according to Phocuswright's recently released U.S. Cruise and Packaged Travel report.

Travel agency share drops when Phocuswright adds in OTA dynamic packaging (e.g., Expedia bundles), but even then, agent market share still registers “a respectable” 46 percent of all packages sold in the U.S. (both online and offline).

When combining traditional vacation package and cruise sales, agency’s own 67 percent of the market, and Phocuswright expects that share to grow to 69 percent in 2021. “That's good news for a business that's constantly under threat from the growing forces of tech, and was once deemed obsolete,” Phocuswright said.

Travel agent cruise sales increased 5 percent in 2017, according to Phocuswright, “outpacing the overall travel market to reach $11.5 billion. Despite OTAs' earlier attempts at selling cruise, two thirds of cruise sales still go through traditional travel agents – and that's not expected to change much through 2021,” Phocuswright said in its report.

In comparison, traditional travel agencies and travel management companies own a 27 percent share of all U.S. travel sales, where 52 percent of all U.S. travel was still booked offline. “While this percentage is waning year after year, in some segments, offline isn't just the majority – it's dominant,” Phocuswright said.

Phocuswright said “travel agencies are thriving in two sectors that are leisure-only and more complex to sell. This indicates that consumers aren't making their purchasing decisions based just on channel, but on personal service and advice as well.”

  0
  1
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Offline Places to Find Luxury Travelers

1. Local schools.

2. Professional services.

3. Local luxury retailers.

4. Arts community.

5. Luxury establishments.

Source: TMR

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
After Years of Strong Growth, Travel Sales May Be Slowing
After Years of Strong Growth, Travel Sales May Be Slowing

Vacation spending will be flat this year, and the number of trips likely will decline, MMGY Global annual survey says.

Here Are the Top Reasons Travel Insurance Claims Are Delayed or Denied
Here Are the Top Reasons Travel Insurance Claims Are Delayed or Denied

Travel agents relentlessly recommend their clients purchase trip insurance, but a traveler’s missteps could delay or deny their claim.

What Individual Fare Pricing Means to Travel Agents
What Individual Fare Pricing Means to Travel Agents

Travel sellers cannot afford to remain unaware of this seemingly inevitable and revolutionary development in the way that air travel is sold.

New York Times Promotes Perks Travel Agents Offer
New York Times Promotes Perks Travel Agents Offer

In a story that will appear on Sunday, the Times highlights the benefits for travelers of working with a travel agent.

Selling to the Affluent and Determining Where Their Value Lies
Selling to the Affluent and Determining Where Their Value Lies

At The Affluent Traveler Collection Symposium, industry veteran Larry Pimentel shared insights and tips on selling luxury travel, including the importance of defining exactly what luxury travel is in today's market.

Headquarter Happenings: American Marketing Group Marks Its 48th Year with New Technology, Partnerships, and More
Headquarter Happenings: American Marketing Group Marks Its 48th Year with New Technology, Partnerships, and More

Travel agents belonging to TRAVELSAVERS, NEST and The Affluent Traveler Collection groups met with preferred suppliers, AMG staff and peers to find "The Way Forward."

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Norwegian Cruise Line