ASTA Survey Finds Agencies Optimistic for Stronger Profits in 2012 and 2013
By Mimi Kmet
September 24, 2012 4:33 PM
Travel agencies expect to see stronger profits in 2012 and 2013, returning to pre-2009 profit levels, according to a recent ASTA survey. Already, most of the ASTA member agencies who were polled said they saw stronger revenue and transaction volume in the first half of 2012, compared with 2011, the survey found.
Most ASTA members said their revenues (73 percent of respondents), transactions (72 percent) and client volumes (75 percent) were the same or better in 2012 than in the first half of 2011. Only about a quarter saw a decrease in revenue, transactions and/or clients. While on par with results from a similar study conducted in 2011, this year’s results are a major improvement over those from 2010, when a third of agencies saw a decrease in performance, and from 2009 when four-fifths saw a decrease.
“The results of this survey indicate that, despite a slower than hoped for pace, the travel agency industry is rebounding well and set to recover fully,” said ASTA President and Chair Nina Meyer in a statement. “Certainly, some of this improved economic forecast can be attributed to the fact that consumers, realizing the value that comes in working with a travel agent, are again planning their next trip with the help of a travel professional.”
For the first time in several years, the percentage of corporate agencies seeing a decrease in performance was less than leisure agencies. While many corporate agencies reported increased performance for revenue and transactions, most did not see an increase in their client numbers, suggesting that the revenue increase is not related to an increased clientele. Instead, their clients increased business travel in the first half of 2012.
Cruises, tours/groups, insurance and FIT were the strongest performing segments, based on the percentage of agencies reporting increased sales in the first half of 2012. Corporate agencies saw an increase in air sales in the first half of 2012 compared to 2011 and also had a significant increase in insurance sales during the same period.
Agencies are optimistic regarding future profits: The average profit predicted for 2012 is 9 percent, while 2013 brings an even stronger year with an average profit of 10 percent predicted. Corporate agencies predicted profits of 9 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
Survey data was collected through the 2012 ASTA Research Family, which consists of a representative sample of ASTA member travel agency owners and managers and reflects ASTA members in key agency demographics, including sales volume, leisure/business mix, number of part-time and full-time employees, and geographic location. The survey data was collected online during June and July.