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.”

  2
  2
TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
What Does Your Out-of-Office Message Say?

In the dog days of summer, some travel advisors try to take a vacation. While you’re gone, what does your out-of-office message say about you and your business?

California Independent Contractor Status Still In Jeopardy as State Senate Debates Bill

On Monday, legislators discussed a broad bill that could eliminate the ability for travel advisors to be engaged as ICs in California.

What Advisors Should Know About Succession Planning for a Small Business

 

The existence of an estate plan that provides for proper handling of the business in the event of the death of the owner is an essential legal document to put in place.

With Political Unrest Growing, What Protection Does Travel Insurance Offer?

Recent civil unrest in Puerto Rico and Hong Kong once again raised the issue about what insurance travelers should purchase for the best protection.

Travel Agent Popularity on the Rise Yet Again

MMGY study shows travel agent popularity is again on the rise as more consumers seek them out for their international expertise and knowledge of tours and lodging.

Look-a-Like Travel Booking Websites Could Cost Consumers

Legitimate looking websites appear to represent popular airlines and hotel chains, but they are costing travelers money and creating customer service nightmares.

News Briefs
Tip of the Day

As travel advisors, we have to be curious. Curiosity leads to impactful connections that pave our road to success. - Jenn Lee, VP of Sales and Marketing, Travel Planners International

Daily Top List

Tips for Reaching $1 Million in Sales

1. Be consistent in your marketing.

2. Create systems and follow them.

3. Use your consortium’s marketing services.

4. Listen for personal details and use them.

5. Leverage your CRM.

Source: TMR

TMR Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
AmaWaterways - Christmas Markets