ASTA Reports Growth in Home-Based and Leisure Sales

Comparing 2003 with 2011, the percentage of home-based agencies grew by 328 percent, ASTA reports in a new survey, the 2011 ASTA Agency Profile, with leisure products making up an average of 78 percent of total agency sales.

The survey of ASTA members also found continued growth in the number of agencies with sales of less than $1 million (40 percent) as well as those with sales of more than $10 million (8 percent), up 93 percent and 150 percent respectively from 2002.

“The slow rebound in the economy continues to be reflected in the travel industry with ongoing growth of both small and large agencies,” said ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo. “Whereas the largest agencies have continued to do well, many of mid-sized agencies opted to downsize operations. As the economy strengthens, so too will the rank of mid-sized agencies.”

The study also found that the travel business is still very much one defined by personal relationships and the “human touch.” While the percentage of sales conducted by phone decreased to 50 percent compared to 72 percent in 2003, during that same time period the percentage of business conducted by appointment/walk¬-ins remained steady at about 20 percent.

Other data of note from ASTA’s Survey:
• The percentage share of international sales (55 percent) has increased over the last six years. Beginning in 2010, agencies expect international sales to be a larger percentage of their overall sales. .
• Between 2002 and 2011, the percentage share of air sales (26 percent) dropped 23 percent. Car rental (4 percent) also saw a large decrease (24 percent) in percentage share during the same time period. In contrast, hotels (10 percent), cruises (26 percent) and tours (31 percent) all saw strong increases in percentage share of 24 percent, 18 percent and 13 percent respectively.
• ASTA agencies report that leisure products make up an average of 78 percent of total sales, and corporate sales make up the remaining 22 percent of sales.
• The largest percentage of agencies (37 percent) maintain a retail location with multiple employees.
• Comparing 2003 with 2011, the percentage of home-based agencies grew by 328 percent.
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 +/- 4.3 percent.

For further information about the study, contact Melissa Teates, ASTA’s director of research, as [email protected]. The ASTA Agency Profile report can be downloaded at no charge from


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