Travel Advisors Forecasting Strong Year in 2024

Travel advisors from a range of agencies and networks are predicting plenty of growth for 2024.

Seventy-nine percent of respondents to a recent survey by American Marketing Group—which comprises TRAVELSAVERS, NEST and The Affluent Traveler Collection—foresee their sales increasing in 2024. Of those, 31 percent envision significant growth and 48 percent believe sales will grow somewhat. Only 5 percent predict sales will decline somewhat, with no one anticipating a significant drop. 

Nearly identical, 80 percent of respondents to a Travel Experts survey project a business increase for 2024. This comes as more than 95 percent reported that business was up in 2023.

“Travel has come roaring back,” said Kathryn Mazza-Burney, American Marketing Group chief sales officer. “After so much built-up demand, travelers today are venturing far and wide and spending more on higher-end travel experiences. Premium and luxury are leading the way again for 2024.”

Said Tate Hallford, of Tate Escapes, a Travel Experts agency: “2022 was a massive year for us, with quite a few rescheduled trips previously canceled due to COVID-19 and the increased demand for travel after the pandemic. And, now, 2024 is forecasting stronger than 2022, as we have almost doubled the number of trips booked for 2024 from what we had on the books at the same time last year.”

Europe, once again, is projected to be the leading destination in 2024, according to 80 percent of Travel Experts respondents, with more than half indicating the U.K. as the number-one requested country (followed by France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Croatia). Other destinations high in demand were Africa and domestic destinations such as Miami, Hawaii and Montana all seeing a rise in bookings this year. Australia and New Zealand, as well as South and Central America, are also experiencing an increase in bookings, according to Travel Experts.

The travel agency also reports that river cruises remain high on the demand list, with more than 60 percent of its advisors reporting bookings for 2024.

One thing advisors are excited about is generative artificial intelligence (GAI). About half (51 percent) view it positively, saying it’s a great tool or has potential. Eighteen percent view it neutrally and another 17 percent aren’t sure about its impact. Just 13 percent view it negatively with about half of those seeing it as a threat to advisors.

Along those lines, advisors named AI-assisted travel planning as one of the top five trends emerging in 2024. Two-thirds (68 percent) of those surveyed have used AI already or want to try it. Almost one-quarter (24 percent) of respondents say they are not using it and do not plan to try it.

While advisors are confident about sales growth, they are also realistic about the challenges they will continue to face in 2024. The top concern survey respondents envision are issues related to air travel (25 percent), such as fare costs and the NDC. They also foresee problems related to rising prices and geopolitical issues (16 percent each). Respondents also predict competition from suppliers encouraging direct bookings from consumers (12 percent). Lastly, many advisors, coming off an incredibly busy year, anticipate dealing with burnout (10 percent).

Teresa McCombs of TP McCombs Travel, a Travel Experts agency, explained: “I think the amount of business will level off for 2024. I’m not quite as busy as I was at this time last year, but the trips I am working with have higher budgets and clients are spending more time in the destinations.”

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