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ASTA Offers Marketing/Customer Retention Survey

August 17, 2009 By: George Dooley

Most travel agencies generate less than 10 new customer leads a month, the vast majority of them coming from referrals, according to the results of a newly released ASTA survey of marketing and customer retention. The survey, a first, is designed to help travel agent members benchmark their marketing efforts and determine how to best promote their agencies. On average, respondents said that 20 percent of new clients book once and never return, according to ASTA.

“Retaining clients and generating new customer leads are key issues for travel agencies,” said ASTA president and chairman Chris Russo. “And thanks to research such as the latest study from ASTA, travel agents will have a better understanding of how well they are retaining clients, what marketing vehicles have been most successful, and how many new customer leads they should be generating a month.”

The report also examines how and when typical agencies market promotions to consumers, and provides key benchmarking data on such issues as costs for various types of ads, average advertising spend and number of active clients.

Among the findings:
*    Agencies that consider themselves to be equally leisure- and corporate-oriented out spend the other two business models in advertising.
*    Few agencies use magazine or newspaper print ads in their marketing plans.
*    Eighty-eight percent of agencies surveyed use follow-up campaigns as a key way of keeping in touch with clients.

The amount spent on client entertainment varied greatly based on company size, but on average most corporate agencies spent around $4,000, ASTA said. The ASTA Research Family is comprised of a representative sample of ASTA member travel agency owners and managers. The report indicates a 95 percent confidence with an error rate +/- 4.8 percent.

ASTA Premium Members will receive this full report for free and travel agent members will receive a free three-page summary, but can also purchase the entire report for $150. The cost for ASTA member suppliers is $250 and $450 for non-members.


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