Avoya Travel is looking forward to a strong Wave Season for 2018, according to a newly released survey of its network of independent travel agencies.
In the 2018 Wave Season Tips and Predictions survey, which canvassed top million dollar-producing independent agencies in the Avoya network, 80 percent of respondents said they expect agency sales in 2018 Wave to be better than or the same as Avoya’s very strong 2017 Wave and sales year. With the majority forecasting growth, the most common reasons given by Independent Agencies in the Avoya Network for why 2018 Wave sales will be better than 2017 include:
- Pent-up demand from travelers who may have held off in 2017
- An improving economy and strong stock market
- Increased inventory with new innovative ships and exciting itineraries
- The trend of a great 2017 Wave season and strong sales throughout the year will continue
“The stock markets have been doing really well this year, and I’ve seen both spending per trip increase and repeat and referral business grow,” said Lesley Egbert of Live Longitude Travel. “In addition, there are some great new itineraries and attractive incentives from both Avoya Travel and suppliers available for travelers to take advantage of, so I think overall it’s going to be a great Wave season.”
Lisa Long, co-owner of Luxury Vacations LLC, shared that after world events affected her 2016 Wave growth, 2017 Wave was exceptional for her independent agency. “I anticipate that 2018 will be even stronger, and I sense that customers are starting to feel more comfortable traveling again and that there will be pent-up demand,” she said in a written release.
Of the independent agencies Avoya surveyed, most foresee growth along all product segments of the leisure travel industry. In particular, river cruising and upper premium and luxury cruising were projected to do exceedingly well, with over 78 percent of respondents expecting sales increases during Wave in those categories. Growth is also forecasted for escorted tours, all-inclusive resorts, and contemporary and premium cruising.
Independent agencies in the Avoya Network credited new inventory and great promotions for helping to drive demand across these top segments. Lisa Long shared that her business is experiencing growth as, “Many of my premium customers are moving to upper premium, and river cruises are becoming more popular than ever. Cruise lines are opening up new itineraries and delivering unique experiential travel options that appeal to a more diverse clientele.”
Avoya’s survey also showed that 75 percent of the independent agencies predict Alaska, Europe, Caribbean, and Hawaii will be the top four destinations with high demand during 2018 Wave. Alaska is expected to be an even bigger seller this year with new ships, and independent agencies placed Europe as a close second believing the ever-popular destination will be as strong as ever.
Respondents overall had a positive outlook for the Caribbean, encouraged by the speed at which the islands are recovering and the promotions from suppliers.
“Caribbean ports will have updates soon and my customers are confident these islands will open back up, so I believe there will be demand,” said Cheryl Myerson, owner of Unforgettable Cruises & Tours, LLC.
“Avoya Travel is looking forward to 2018 Wave season and helping a growing number of independent agencies in the Avoya Network connect with customers ready to plan their next vacation,” said Scott Koepf, senior vice president of sales for Avoya Travel. “With more capacity in Alaska, new immersive travel experiences from river cruises and tours in Europe, new ships, and strong industry support for promoting the Caribbean, we expect lots of demand from customers in all travel segments.”
Avoya surveyed all independent agencies in the Avoya Network that produce more than $1 million in annual sales.