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The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has released the 2016 edition of its Independent Agents Report. The report, based on second half 2015 survey data from members of ASTA’s sister association, the National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA), provides insight into trends in the operations, host agency and franchise relationships, GDS usage, commission structures and sales and revenue data of the independent agents community.
Currently the independent agent community stands at 20,000 and growing, said Zane Kerby, ASTA president and CEO.
Key insights of the report include:
- NACTA member agents pointed to commission split/level, supplier relationships and reputation as the top factors that go into choosing a host agency.
- Among independent agents, direct GDS usage is rare. Rather, NACTA members primarily use supplier websites and phone calls to book travel for their clients.
- Six in ten NACTA member agents reported increased sales and revenues in 2015 compared to 2014, indicating improved business trends since 2011.
- NACTA member agents, on average, possess 16 years of industry experience.
- Over four in ten independent agents (44%) are hiring either employees or engaging independent contractors to catch up with travel demand post-recession.
“As the independent agent community continues to grow, industry suppliers are allocating more resources trying to better engage these travel sellers,” said Ann Chamberlin, NACTA president and ASTA senior vice president, operations.