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Travel agents in the U.S. have faced unprecedented challenges over the past 15 years, from a massive shift to online bookings, to lower (or disappearing) commissions. The number of agencies has declined dramatically from its peak in the late 1990s. But all is not doom and gloom in the U.S. agency community.
The corporate agency segment led the charge back from the recession with strong double-digit growth. Many home-based agents are thriving, and agents everywhere have reinvented themselves, more determined than ever to deliver exceptional value and service to their customers.
Presented by Douglas Quinby, senior director, research, and moderated by Mary Pat Sullivan, leisure travel analyst, The Once and Future Agent: PhoCusWright's Travel Agency Distribution Landscape 2009-2013, covers the fundamental components that comprise the traditional travel agency landscape in the U.S., including:
- Market sizing, including leisure versus corporate sales, and sales by segment - air, hotel, cruise, car, tour and rail
- Composition and structure of the travel agency marketplace, examining the number of agency locations, the travel agent population, the mix of leisure and corporate agencies and travel agency affiliations (consortia)
- Assessment of the growing home-based travel agent phenomenon
- Travel agency research and booking methods, including GDSs, mobile devices, supplier websites and other online resources and platforms
- Discussion of trends and key market developments in the U.S. travel agency landscape, such as:
- Outlook for leisure and corporate segments
- Shifts in the mix of travel products that leisure agents offer their clients
- Evolution of a new breed of travel agent in response to changes in technology, consumer behavior and outmoded business practices
- Key threats to the leisure agency distribution channel, including the risk of declining supplier commissions and an aging travel agent population
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