Stats: 40 Percent of ASTA Agencies Are Home-Based

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Modern technology is continuing to drive up the share of home-based agencies, according to a new study by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).

Part of ASTA’s Travel Agency Benchmarking Series, the new Labor and Compensation report takes a look at the current employment and salary trends in the travel agency industry.

According to the report, home-based agencies, which include both agencies with or without employees, were the second-most popular location type, at 40 percent. One location outside the home with employees or independent contractors (ICs) was the most popular, at 46 percent, followed by home-based agencies with no employees or ICs (20%), home-based agencies with employees or ICs (19%) and agencies with multiple locations (12%) in 2016.

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In terms of compensation, ASTA agency members with multiple employees reported that hourly pay was the top compensation model, at 36 percent, followed by salary at 23 percent. Next was hourly plus commission at 17 percent and salaried plus commission at 14 percent.

The report also polled ASTA agencies on new Department of Labor regulations regarding that had been set to increase the salary threshold under which virtually all employees are guaranteed overtime pay. Those rules have been on hold following a court challenge and a new administration in the White House.

“We’ve certainly heard nothing since the Trump administration began that there’s any intention to pick this up again,” said Peter N. Lobasso, ASTA’s general counsel, in a press call discussing the study. “It is nonetheless instructive that this type of move would have had a big impact on our membership.”

At the time of the survey, which was conducted last summer, 66 percent of respondents said that they had heard about the rules. 34 percent were either very or somewhat concerned, while 32 percent said that the new regulations would not affect their business model.

39 percent of respondents, however, said that having to begin tracking each salaried employee’s work hours every week would have been either very or somewhat burdensome.

Source: ASTA