The days of the old-style travel agent who sat in a storefront office and booked tickets are long gone. If that’s the image you have, you wouldn’t recognize today’s new breed of travel advisor.
They’re full-service counselors who design trips in partnership with their delighted clients. They’re experienced and knowledgeable about virtually every aspect of global travel and fulfill needs and wants clients didn’t even know they had.
Read on to discover 8 travel advisor facts that will likely surprise you.
Travel Advisor Fact #1: More people are using travel advisors.
Travelers of all kinds are discovering the many benefits of partnering with a travel advisor. They’re giving up on do-it-yourself. Online travel agencies have seen a dramatic drop in usage. According to travel marketing company MMGY, 58 percent of travelers obtained information from an OTA this year. That’s down from 84 percent the previous year.
MMGY has found that travel advisor use has risen the last four years. The fastest-growing segment of client? Millennials. A greater percentage of Millennials are booking with advisors than any other generation. The American Society of Travel Agents says that 41% of Millennials used a travel advisor in the past year. And MMGY says the number of Millennials booking trips through an advisor increased 50% from last year to the year before.
Travel Advisor Fact #2: The number of travel advisors is going up.
Makes sense, right? More people are using travel advisors. So more of them are entering the field.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are 64,750 full-time travel advisors in the U.S. It predicts the number of advisors will grow by 10% from 2010 to 2020.
That figure doesn’t include the fast-growing number of advisors who work independently. According to Skift, their ranks grew by 434% from 2003 to 2014. An impressive 40,000 of them have entered the profession since 2000.
Travel Advisor Fact #3: Travel agencies are healthy and profitable.
The American Society of Travel Agents says 54% of its member agencies have reported that their revenues were higher than a year earlier.
ASTA also reports that the number of profitable agencies has risen significantly since 2007. Almost two-thirds (65%) of travel agencies were profitable last year. Agencies are predicting 12% average profits for this year.
In fact, the average ASTA agency has been in business since 1988. That’s another proof point for the health of the profession.
Travel Advisor Fact #4: Travel advisors are really well traveled.
Check out the maps on the profiles of any Virtuoso travel advisor. You’ll be impressed by the number of places listed.
The typical ASTA advisor has visited 36 countries. And they add four new countries each year. More than one in five (22%) has visited 50 or more countries.
Forbes.com reports that top luxury advisors like Virtuoso’s travel well over 100 days each year. They visit the world’s hottest new hotels and experience destinations and cultures firsthand. They build relationships with travel providers to provide superior service to their clients. You can’t get this kind of expertise through a website.
Travel Advisor Fact #5: Affluent travelers in particular use travel advisors.
MMGY has found that the percentage of affluent Americans who plan on booking trips through travel advisors is rising. It reported that 17% of Americans with incomes of $125,000 booked one or more trips with an advisor. And 24% of those making $250,000 or more used an advisor.
By next year, MMGY predicts that 21% of well-off travelers with incomes of $125,000 or more plan to use an advisor. And 29% of those with incomes of $250,000 or more plan to do so.
Affluent travelers say they work with advisors because:
- of the extra level of service advisors provide
- of advisors’ knowledge of destinations
- it removes booking hassles
- advisors book a better trip than travelers can themselves
Travel Advisor Fact #6: Clients of travel advisors travel more.
People who work with travel advisors travel more than people who don’t. ASTA found that clients of advisors take 4.7 trips a year. People who do it themselves take only 3.6 trips.
Not only do travelers with an advisor vacation more, they also stay longer. Travel Weekly reports that the trips advisors worked on were more than 35% longer. Clients of advisors took trips of 8.2 nights on average. But those without an advisor spent just 6 nights away.
Travel Advisor Fact #7: People really love their travel advisors.
An ASTA study found that:
- 72% of travelers who worked with advisors believe they make the vacation planning process easy
- 69% said advisors would resolve problems if they arise
- 68% said advisors had experience in booking special trips
- 61% said advisors possess the knowledge required to plan a quality vacation
- 59% said advisors can secure better deals
- 78% said they were highly influenced by their advisor’s hotel recommendations, and 77% said the same about tours
A Travel Weekly survey reported that 77% of travelers who used an advisor were extremely or very satisfied. Only 4% were not satisfied.
The bottom line? ASTA says 92% of people who partner with a travel advisor plan to do again. Half of them even say they plan to increase their use of advisors in the future.
Travel Advisor Fact #8: It’s easy to find an advisor who’s right for you.
After reading all these travel advisor facts, you might want to experience the difference for yourself. But you might not know where to turn.
Virtuoso makes it a snap. Take just a few minutes to complete a fun online questionnaire. At the end you’ll receive suggestions for an advisor that has the qualities you requested. With 9,800 advisors in 31 countries, there’s someone who will be your perfect partner in travel planning.