Most home-based travel agents I hear from have been doing quite nicely over the past several years, usually by implementing strategies I lay out in the Home-Based Travel Agent Success Course.
But now, PhoCusWright, the oddly named analytical firm that specializes in the travel industry, has discovered something many of us have known all along: Leisure travel among Americans is booming!
Their “U.S. Consumer Travel Report Sixth Edition” noted that 63% of consumers took a leisure trip in 2013, up from 61% in 2012, but still below the 70% in pre-Great Recession 2007.
The benchmark for a “trip” was a journey of more than 75 miles with a lodging purchase. My takeaway from this is that agents should be thinking more about those one- and two-night, close-to-home getaways and not just week long vacations to far flung destination. I have been bugging agents about this for years!
One item in the report gave me special pleasure. Bookings at those mega-sites like Travelocity and Priceline are off 11.5% from a few years ago. Not surprising given the total lack of customer service. (Did you know that in their Terms of Service these sites don’t even guarantee that the information they provide is accurate or that, if you buy a ticket from them, you actually have a ticket?)
The biggest demographic bumps come from baby boomers (not too surprising) and millennials, those aged 25 to 34, which might surprise some people.
There were some other highlights that drew my attention because they offer great potential for increasing your commission income: Family travel is up 16% since 2011. International travel is also up. With a third of all travelers leaving the country in 2013.
And people are taking more complex trips. To me, that says two things: More people need a travel agent and travel agents can sell more tours. Tours, in case you haven’t noticed, often pay travel agents much better than cruises these days.
The bottom line, although PhoCusWright didn’t say so, is that this is a great time to become a home-based travel agent. For more information, click here.