Travel agents have been bombarded with challenges, yet the travel agency channel sold one-third of U.S. travel in 2009. Travel retail continues to undergo dramatic changes, but this $110 billion market isn't going away, according to Douglas Quinby, senior director of research at PhoCusWright.
Today’s travel agent is leaner, meaner and more productive, Quinby said, announcing a new study of the travel agency distribution system. The new study will answer a variety of questions including key questions: How many travel agents are there? What type of travel do they sell? How much do they sell? How do they research, decide and book? How should suppliers market to them? What is the future of their role in travel distribution?
PhoCusWright is seeking participating companies to invest in and help shape the research for the upcoming report, titled PhoCusWright's Travel Agency Distribution Landscape: 2009-2013. The firm said the comprehensive study will provide definitive market sizing and comprehensive trends analysis for the traditional travel agency distribution channel, including historical data for 2009 and forecasts for 2010 through 2013. Findings will be based upon in-depth interviews spanning travel suppliers, agencies, and technology companies, as well as a comprehensive survey of travel agents from leading organizations.
Areas to be addressed in the study:
• Population: What is the split of leisure/corporate, retail storefront/home-based?
• Distribution Impact: What is agency share across the major travel product segments, and how is this trending for air, car rental, hotel, cruise, tour/package, insurance, ancillaries?
• Behavior: How has technology use among agents evolved? What is driving/inhibiting technology adoption?
• Influence: What is the role and impact of key channels to reach agents?
• Marketing: What tools and services do agents want from suppliers?
• Business Conditions and Model: How is the business model evolving? Fees vs. commissions?
• Home-based vs. office?
• Segmentation: How do the above differ by leisure vs. corporate agencies, home-based vs. retail storefront, large vs. small agencies?