The coming year should be a good one for travel advisors, as 29% of consumers intend to work with a travel agent in 2020, according to the latest “How America Travels” survey published by the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA).
ASTA also found that travelers expect to spend more on their next trip ($6,772 per person), a 10% increase over the past 12 months; and they anticipate taking 2.9 trips this year.
More travelers expect to take trips in the U.S. in the coming 12 months than did so in the past 12 months (79% versus 75%), according to the ASTA survey, which reached 2,050 consumers. For those traveling abroad, the top destinations chosen by respondents include the UK (49%), Italy (47%), France (45%), Spain (40%) and Germany (32%).
In Asia, Japan is the destination most preferred by consumers in the survey (54%), followed by China (42%) and Thailand (36%).
Interestingly, there were gender differences in the countries that consumers want to travel to. For example, 58% of men would choose to travel to the UK, versus 37% of women; while 38% of male respondents would visit Germany, versus 24% of women.
Conversely, 50% of females want to visit France, versus 41% of men; and 37% of women want to visit Greece, versus 23% of men.
In South America, men are more likely than women to want to visit Brazil (27% versus 15%), Colombia (26% versus 10%), and Argentina (23% versus 11%). In the Caribbean, men are more likely than women to want to visit Cuba (26% versus 14%).
ASTA found some other significant differences between respondents in the survey. For example, men plan to take more trips than women (2.6 versus 2.0); Millennials plan to take more trips (2.7) than any other generation – Gen-Xers are not far behind at 2.5 trips; and fewer travelers plan to take trips outside of the U.S. (17% versus 23%) than they did in the previous 12 months.
Also, Gen-X travelers plan to spend more ($2,780) than Millennials ($1,816) or Baby Boomers ($2,158).
Who works with an agent?
Travelers who intend to book through an advisor anticipate taking more trips on average than those who do not use an agent (3.6 versus 2.5 trips); and they are more likely to travel overseas than non-users (31% versus 8%). Also, 84% of consumers who have used a travel advisor said they have loved working with an agent.
According to ASTA’s survey, certain kinds of consumers are more likely to use travel advisors. They are more likely to be male (63%), live in the Northeast (25%), be married (56%), and have children in their household (57%). They also tend to be younger – with an average age of 39, versus 45 for non-travel advisor users.
Also, their household income is likely to be larger ($99,000 versus $81,000) than the typical traveling consumer; and they anticipate spending more on their next trip than those who don’t plan to use an advisor ($4,015 versus $1,687).
Consumers also shared some of the motivations they have for using a travel advisor. They include working with advisors who can help them beat the prices they find on the internet (68%), adding special touches at no cost (67%), and not charging fees (67%).
The survey was conducted between July 29 and Aug. 7, 2019, with a representative sample of U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 75. The margin of error for the overall survey results is +/- 2.2%. The margin of error for subgroups is larger.
Nearly half (45%) of respondents are married, while another 12% report living with their partner. In addition, more than one-third (36%) of respondents report children living in their household. Of the respondents, 44% report an annual household income of $50,000 or less; 30% report household income between $50,001 and $100,000; and 26% report income above $100,000.
Geographically, 18% of respondents live in the Northeast, 20% live in the Midwest, 39% live in the South, and 23% live in the West.