For More Travel Agents, There's No Place Like Home
Author: David Juman
Published: April 19, 2012
Amid overall agency declines, home-based agent population soars
The story of traditional leisure retail travel agencies is not solely one of decline. While the total number of agencies has fallen dramatically over the past 15 years, many leisure storefront agents have migrated to a home-based model – operating either independently or in affiliation with a travel agency or host agency.
According to The Once and Future Agent: PhoCusWright's Travel Agency Distribution Landscape 2009-2013 (a Global Edition publication), the home-based agent population, which focuses overwhelmingly on leisure travel, soared to 40,000 in 2011, from 31,000 in 2006. Along with their increasing numbers, home-based agents now account for a substantial portion of agency leisure sales; in 2010, home-based agents racked up nearly US$10 billion in gross travel sales, or more than one third of all agency leisure sales.
"Home-based agents have clearly become an integral part of the overall agency marketplace. There has been a broad migration of experienced leisure agents from storefront to homefront, while new travel sellers are entering the market through the host agency model," says Douglas Quinby, PhoCusWright's senior director, research. "The critical question for the future is whether there will be enough new entrants to replenish the larger segment of older, more experienced home-based agents."
The Once and Future Agent: PhoCusWright's Travel Agency Distribution Landscape 2009-2013 examines the traditional travel agency channel, assessing the state of the marketplace and providing a detailed outlook for the future. The report includes:
- Assessment of the growing home-based travel agent phenomenon
- Comprehensive travel agency market sizing, including leisure and corporate sectors, and analysis by segment – air, hotel, cruise, car, tour and rail
- Composition and structure of the travel agency marketplace, examining the total number of agency locations, the travel agent population, the mix of leisure and corporate agencies and travel agency affiliations (consortia)
- Travel agency product selection and booking methods, including the role of GDSs, supplier websites, mobile devices and other online resources and platforms
- The rising average age of travel agents and potential market implications
- Trends and key market developments in the U.S. travel agency landscape