Stats: Advisors Willing to Participate in FAMS in 2021

As destinations reopen, mixed success rates are creating continued challenges while the world struggles with the continued pandemic. Travel advisors, however, are stepping up and preparing for the eventual return of bookings that will help drive recovery. DCI surveyed U.S. and Canadian travel advisors for a second time in May to see how their perspectives and practices have evolved since the pandemic’s outbreak in March.

Among the key findings: DCI expects a slightly longer anticipated return to normalcy. Just over one-third (38 percent) of travel advisors expect to resume travel marketing initiatives in their home markets between September and December this year, while one-fifth (21 percent) expect to begin next year or beyond. Contrary to what was seen last time, DCI says U.S. travel advisors are slightly more wary about an earlier return within their home markets for both domestic travel marketing initiatives and FAM trips.

When it comes to international travel, less than half (43 percent) of travel advisors reported a willingness to participate in FAM trips beginning in Q1 of 2021. Most Canadian advisors (56 percent) said the earliest they would anticipate visiting the U.S. is also the first quarter of 2021. Advisors were generally indifferent (71 percent) when it came to single or multi-destination events, with slightly more preferring a single destination. Outdoor events edged out indoor events, as well.

All that said, it would seem that the worst is already behind us. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of travel advisors reported experiencing a cancellation of bookings and 68 percent reported a decline in future bookings for 2020; however, this edition finds fewer advisors reporting this compared to March, “suggesting that the worst is likely over for most travel agencies,” according to DCI.

Travel advisors are also preparing for new bookings by spending more time engaging in educational programs and destination research. “This finding suggests that although FAM trips and sales calls must wait, there is still a lot that destinations can be doing to woo travel advisors during this period, as advisors will still be receptive to destination outreach,” DCI adds.

DCI, which stands for Development Counsellors International, is a marketing firm based in New York City that specializes in economic development and travel marketing.

Related Stories

USTOA, CATO AND ETOA Create Guidelines for Tour Operators

Stats: Travel Spending in U.S. to Drop 45 Percent in 2020

Trump Admin Considering “Explore America” Tax Credit

ASTA Urges CDC to Take Lead in Travel Industry Recovery