I have long maintained (and history has backed me up on this) that travel is remarkably recession-proof. People may take different vacations, shorter vacations, but for most Americans vacations are necessities rather than options.
So I was pleased to note some recent news reports that show that, even in a time when politicians and pundits are screaming that the sky is falling, Americans continue to travel and take vacations. Hmmm. Maybe they want to get away from those politicians and pundits!
First, Ipsos Public Affairs, a polling organization, announced that a majority of Americans (51%) are planning on taking a vacation this year. And that’s up 13% since last year.
By the way, a “vacation” for the purposes of that poll was defined as a leisure trip of at least a week to a destination at least 100 miles from home.
Then, VisitFlorida, the state tourism agency, announced that 21.2 people visited that state in the second quarter of 2011 alone. 21.2 million! How much of that market would you have to capture to make a decent living? Oh, and that’s in addition to 5.6 million trips taken in-state by Florida residents.
So send your clients to Florida to visit Walt Disney World and search for Hidden Mickeys. Or for a change of pace, point them to Universal Orlando, now home to Harry Potter, everybody’s favorite boy wizard, or the SeaWorld parks where nature takes center stage. The choices are really almost unlimited.
Here are some things to remember about selling Florida. First, it’s the biggest family destination in America, as these numbers attest. And despite what you hear about the cost of one-day theme park tickets (which are, indeed, pricey), there are many multi-day park admission products that reduce the per-day cost to extremely reasonable proportions and some are commissionable, too!
If you think Florida is too far away for your clients, consider that more and more people are willing to drive a considerable distance to avoid the hassles and, often, the humiliation of air travel. And even at today’s gas prices, a car trip to Orlando, with an overnight at a (commissionable) motel is often cheaper than airfare for a couple, even cheaper when you add kids.
But the major takeaway from this good news is that when you hear people saying that travel agents can’t make money and that people aren’t traveling because they can’t afford it, you can smile your secret smile knowing that misinformation like this keeps the uninformed from jumping into the business and competing against smart travel agents like you who will continue to prosper.
If you haven’t yet become a home-based travel agent, click here. If you have, keep selling that all-American vacation ideal.