Traditional agencies account for one third of travel bookings in the U.S., and today's travel agents are reinventing themselves to stay relevant and competitive, says a new report from PhoCusWright.
The past 15 years have brought dramatic changes to how travel is booked in the U.S., PhoCusWright says, with consumer migration to online channels driving a decline in the number of traditional travel agencies.
Despite this, traditional travel agencies accounted for nearly US$95 billion in travel sales in 2011, or one third of the $284 billion U.S. travel market, according to the PhoCusWright study.
Corporate agencies, which rebounded quickly from the recession, now account for nearly three fourths of all agency bookings and are focused on air, hotel and rental car sales, the new study says.
Leisure agencies tend to specialize in more complex leisure products such as vacation packages and cruises that are more challenging to book online, and represent a little over one fourth of total agency sales, PhoCusWright says.
The Once and Future Agent: PhoCusWright's Travel Agency Distribution Landscape 2009-2013, reports that both the leisure and corporate agency segments have changed dramatically over the past 15 years and more change lies ahead.
Conducted by Douglas Quinby, PhoCusWright's senior director, research, the report examines the traditional travel agency channel, assesses the state of the marketplace and providing a detailed outlook for the future.