$110 Billion and Counting!!!

Finally, some good research has been done that seeks to delve deeply into your world and shed real light on all that you do as travel agents. Last month PhoCusWright, Inc., the leading research company in the travel industry, unveiled the findings of its new report: PhoCusWright’s Travel Agency Distribution Landscape: 2006–2009.

Kerry Cannon

Group Publisher Kerry Cannon on safari in South Africa.

As online travel distribution continues to mature, the growth in that channel has slowed. And while a great deal of travel is and will continue to be booked online, a significant portion—more than 41 percent of all travel—is booked offline (translation: booked by you, the travel agent). That amounts to more than $110 billion in sales per year through offline and traditional travel distribution channels.

The seismic changes in travel distribution over the past decade have resulted in fundamental shifts in the way you conduct your businesses. As a result, many of you (the smarter ones anyway) had to reinvent yourselves and morph into more proactive, customer-centric enterprises, focused on selling more complex travel products, packages and destinations. PhoCusWright, in cooperation with ASTA, ARC, CLIA and another trade media company undertook the study to take a realistic snapshot of the total agency market, to identify the significant developments in the market and to project future trends.

Point-by-Point Examination
PhoCusWright undertook a comprehensive study of the travel agency distribution landscape to assess the size of the total agency market, identify key developments and project future trends. According to Philip Wolf, president and CEO of PhoCusWright, the objectives were to determine and examine the following:

* The size and profile of the U.S. agency community…how many agents and agencies are there?

* The size and profile of the home-based agent community…how many are there and how much travel do they sell?

* What is the size of the U.S. travel agency marketplace in terms of gross bookings?

* What products and services are agencies selling?

* How do travel agents research and book travel?

* And what are the overall business conditions of the travel agency environment?

There has been no shortage of surveys and studies released in recent years about many other aspects of the travel industry. But the traditional agency channel has been overlooked by the research community until now. I applaud PhoCusWright and their partners in this study for their efforts, and I will be spending a great deal of time poring over the findings.

If you would like to obtain a copy of the survey, it is for sale at the PhoCusWright website, www.phocuswright.com


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