New travel counselor study shows pandemic struggles and recovery
A new study on travel advisers and agents shows that while the industry has taken a hard hit from the coronavirus pandemic, the road to recovery has already begun.
According to Travel Weekly’s 2021 Travel Industry Survey, domestic travel topped international tourism sales for the first time in 17 years due to issues with different border entry requirements and closures.
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Following the border closures, cruise lines, tours and destination-oriented travel all reported significant declines in activity, while theme parks, resorts, vacation packages and National luxury travel all reported signs of improvement this year.
âWhile historical data shows that many usual travel patterns return relatively soon after a crisis, I’m not sure the return to dominance of international travel is fast,â said Arnie Weissmann, editor-in-chief of Travel Weekly. âMany people who thought vacations were not vacations unless they stamped their passports discovered the appeal of modern travel to the United States. “
The study also found that the way advisors identified themselves had also changed, as 51% of those surveyed identified themselves as an âadvisorâ instead of an âagent,â a huge jump from just 11% who identified themselves as advisors in 2018.
As for why advisors use hospitality agencies, access to lead generation was cited as the top reason by 26% of agents in 2021, an increase from the 20% reported in 2019. accreditation also fell from 84% of sales in 2018 to 91%. in 2020.
Travel counselors said the top three factors impacting income were the pandemic, government policies on travel and immigration, and hassles and delays at airports. Traditional agencies also reported a drop in revenue, with 67% reporting revenues of less than $ 1 million.
Independent home-based agencies saw their average incomes drop from $ 899,000 in 2018 to just $ 346,000 last year, erasing several years of marked progress. Almost 60% of those polled said during the pandemic they were monitoring spending more carefully, while 34% cut their marketing budget and 34% developed a new or different business plan.