Seventy four percent of American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) members reported that agency revenue for the first half of the year was better than, or at least the same as, the first half of 2013.
A recent survey by ASTA said increased transactions were cited by 45 percent, and 43 percent reported increasing their client base. This is a robust showing considering that the comparison year—2013—had solid growth, ASTA said.
“ASTA members are benefitting from the appetite consumers have for travel,” said ASTA president and CEO Zane Kerby. “Consumer studies have shown that Americans say they have a better trip when they use a travel agent. Leveraging the experience and expertise of an ASTA travel agent makes the difference between having a bad trip or even a so-so vacation, and having the experience of a lifetime,” he said.
Independent agents and corporate agencies reported the strongest performance gains in the first half of 2014, with 53 percent of independent agents and 52 percent of corporate agencies reporting increased revenues, ASTA reports.
Retail leisure agencies lagged behind the other two segments with only 44 percent of agencies reporting increased revenue. This is the first time in several years that retail leisure didn’t report equal or better performance suggesting that retail leisure gains may be leveling off after several robust years, according to ASTA.
When asked about sales per travel segment, agencies reported the largest increases in sales were for insurance, FIT, cruise and tour/group. Segment sales were either flat or increased for the majority of reporting agencies.
Also encouraging, agencies are projecting stronger profits in 2014 and 2015 compared with 2013 and 2014. On average, agencies are expecting a nine percent profit in 2014 measured as a percentage of total revenue and 10 percent in 2015. This compares with seven percent and eight percent profits in 2013 and 2012, respectively, ASTA said.
Survey data was collected through the 2014 ASTA Research Family, a panel comprised of a representative sample of ASTA member travel agency owners and managers.
The sampling reflects ASTA members in key agency demographics including sales volume, leisure/business mix, number of part-time and full-time employees and geographic location. The reply level indicates a minimum of 95 percent confidence with an error rate +/- 5 percent, ASTA said.