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ASTA: Agencies Optimistic for Stronger ProfitsSeptember 13, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) reports its members expect to see a stronger profit in 2011 and 2012--on par with 2008 profit levels—according to a new ASTA survey conducted this summer, which asked travel agency members about their revenue and transaction volume, sales per travel segment, and their expected profits.
“The good news is that most agencies are on track to realize a stronger 2011 than prior year. Market weakness is still apparent, as recent upheaval in the stock market evidenced, however travel agencies have proven themselves to be extremely resilient and adept at adapting to changing forces,” said Tony Gonchar, ASTA CEO. ”Studies such as this provide solid benchmarking data for agencies to use when re-examining their business plans and marketing strategies.”
When asked to compare the first half of 2011 to the same time period in 2010, the majority of ASTA members said their 2011 performance was the same or better for revenue (73 percent), transactions (72 percent) and client lists (75 percent). Approximately a quarter of those surveyed saw a decrease in these areas, a marked improvement from when this question was asked in 2010, when a third of agencies reported a decline, and in 2009, when 80 percent of agencies reported a decrease in performance, ASTA reports.
A larger percentage of corporate-focused agencies—those for whom business travel makes up 70 percent or more of sales-- are still seeing a decrease in performance compared to 2010. Very few are reporting their performance remaining the same. That said, many are seeing increases in revenue (52 percent), transactions (50 percent) and client lists (45 percent), ASTA reports.
When examining sales by segment, agencies reported stronger increased sales for the tour (32 percent), cruise (47 percent), hotel (46 percent) and travel insurance (49 percent) segments compared to 2010. Air (36 percent) and car rental (24 percent) had more agencies with decreased sales than increased sales. As expected, it was the opposite for corporate agencies which saw increased sales for air and car rental when compared with 2010, ASTA said.
Survey data was collected through the 2011 ASTA Research Family. The ASTA Research Family is a panel comprised of a representative sample of ASTA member travel agency owners and managers. The Research Family reflects ASTA members in key agency demographics including sales volume, leisure/business mix, number of part-time and full-time employees and geographic location.
The survey data was collected online in June/July 2011. This reply level indicates a minimum of 95 percent confidence with an error rate +/-5 percent representing the total ASTA agency membership.