ASTA Benchmarking Report Shows Labor is Greatest Expense

ASTA has published the first in a series of financial benchmarking reports designed to give travel agencies reference points for assessing their own financial performance. The report is based on a 2006 survey of ASTA's Research Family, which is comprised of a representative group of travel-agency members. The report analyzes labor, sales, revenue and operating-expense data. The survey found that agencies have shifted their business model to reflect changes in revenue sources. Products such as tours and cruises offer significant commission revenue and agencies can use that data to determine the efficacy of their product mixes. Labor is by far the greatest expense, almost half (49.5 percent) of operating expenses. Most of the agencies (63 percent) use independent contractors, who are not employees, as agents. The average salary for a full-time agent is $30,052. Only half the agencies offer full-time staff health insurance, and the average number of vacation days is 13.4, excluding fam trips.

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