Travel Bound reports a 15 percent increase in 2009 bookings compared to 2008, with gains in all product categories: hotel stays rose 8 percent, sightseeing tours 15 percent, transfers 33 percent and pre-set land packages 50 percent. Destinations showing the highest gains in bookings were Greece and the U.S.
Selling exclusively through travel agents, Travel Bound saw the largest volume of business last year in 10 countries in Europe and North America: Italy, France, the U.S., UK, Spain, Greece, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Most popular cities booked included Rome, Paris, London, Venice, Florence, Barcelona, New York, Athens, Amsterdam and Las Vegas. The company’s Groups department also reported 40 percent higher bookings in major U.S. cities last year, as well.
“For many tour operators, business improved in the latter part of 2009, but we experienced a significant bookings increase as early as May,” said Nico Zenner, president of Travel Bound. “As travelers opted for shorter vacations and staying closer to home, we capitalized on the trend by expanding our U.S. hotel portfolio. Agents are now cross-selling more and adding transfers and sightseeing tours to customized F.I.T. itineraries and hotel bookings. Agents also are taking advantage of the pre- and post-cruise selling opportunity that we have been promoting.
Agent commission starts at 10 percent on hotels, sightseeing tours and transfers, 15 percent on pre-set packages.
Examples of hotel rates in the top-selling cities include: $126 at New York's four-star The Dream, $95 at Athens' three-star Plaka, $93 at Amsterdam's three-star Blue Square; $39 at Las Vegas' four-star Planet Hollywood; and $88 at Vancouver's three star Best Western Uptown
Sightseeing tour example include: Bike to Bay tour in San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausolito, starting at $65 per person; Ancient Rome walking tour, starting at $42; Flamenco Show including one drink in Madrid, starting at $46; Whale Watching tour in Boston, starting at $44; and Montparnasse Tower & Champagne in Paris, starting at $29.
Private transfers between cruise port and hotel in Miami start at $72; between airport and Manhattan hotel in New York $72; between cruise port and hotel in Sydney $69.
Some popular pre-set land packages – commissionable at 15 percent - include: two hotel nights plus roundtrip transfer starting at $160 in Lisbon; two hotel nights plus transfers, cruise on lake and city tour starting at $316 in Zurich; and three hotel nights, transfers, city tour and Tigre coastal train ride starting at $178 in Buenos Aires.
To book more than 31,000 hotels, apartments and villas, more than 5,000 transfer options and 11,000 sightseeing tours, attractions and excursions in 120 countries including the U.S., visit www.booktravelbound.com or call 1-800-808-9541.