Agency Transactions Up, Online Agents May Face Challenge

travel agent salesThings may be looking up for travel agencies— including mega agencies, traditional agencies and online agencies— according to the Airlines Reporting Corporation's (ARC) monthly Travel Agency Channel Segmentation report.

Mega agencies did 21.8 percent better in March 2010 than March 2009, while "other," including traditional store front agencies, gained 11.4 percent in March. Online agencies (OTAs) gained 13.6 percent. Combined, all three categories tracked by ARC saw a gain in numbers of transactions of 14.25 percent.

Allan Muten, ARC’s director of strategic communications cautioned that the channel segmentation report compares March 2010 to March 2009— an exceptionally poor month and year.

The report indicates that the percentage change at traditional travel agencies and mega agencies has increased year-over-year since January while the change for OTAs (i.e. Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz) has fallen off slightly (14.9 percent to 13.6 percent) while still remaining in double digits ahead of last year.

"Other" agency transactions since January went from a negative year-over-year comparison at the beginning of the year to a double-digit (11.4 percent) change in March. The megas more than doubled in their percentage change, which rose from 8.5 percent in January to 21.8 percent in March.

ARC is now releasing, on a limited basis, its monthly Travel Agency Channel Segmentation report that tracks on a monthly basis the comparative performance of online travel agents, mega travel management firms and all "others" that report transactions through ARC.

ARC’s data offers a percentage change year-over-year by month for a 12-month period and is an effort to track changes in bookings.  The report is separate from ARC’s monthly Sales & Document Statistics (Settlement Sumary) published monthly on ARC’s website at