Passports, wallet and money. (photo via volgariver / Getty Images)
Several agency groups are reporting stellar sales for 2022, along with predictions for a stellar year in 2023.
Travel Experts said it is experiencing a record year, with sales exceeding those in 2019, which has the luxury host agency’s best year.
“Our member advisors have experienced a great surge in sales all year long as client pent-up-demand from two years of the pandemic generated bookings to vacation destinations in the U.S. and around the world,” said Sharon Fake, the host agency’s executive director.
“In August of this year, we have already matched the record sales recorded for the entire year of 2019 and we still have four months to go,” said Fake. “Our weekly ARC sales are regularly setting records and corporate travel has yet to fully recover so we anticipate further growth as people start traveling for business again,” said Heather McIntyre, Travel Expert’s director of technology & finance. “We expect to top $400 million in sales for 2022.”
To deal with growing demand, Travel Experts has been adding new advisor affiliates and staff to help member advisors handle the increase in bookings.
“While we did lose some advisors during the early days of the pandemic, we are now back to pre-COVID numbers and have increased the size of our team to handle the onboarding process,” Fake said.
“In 2022, to meet the demand of a growing list of affiliated advisors we grew our staff by 30 percent, up from 20 to 26 employees.”
For its part, Outside Agents, have set seven monthly records for growth, and so far this year and September will likely be no exception.
“Revenge buying consumers and marketing savvy agents came together and capitalist magic happened,” said the host agency’s co-owner Chad Burt.
Better still, booking for 2023 appears even rosier.
“Dan Crutchfield, our national director of sales, estimates a 22 percent year-over-year growth rate for 2023, Burt said. “I’m putting it closer to 35 percent. Either way, we will set new records on the backs of the new records we made this year.
“At the heart of this success is the relationship and trust we share with our agents. When we were screaming ‘education’ during the pandemic, they trusted us and listened. We continue to build on this trust as we propel our agents forward with new education and marketing initiatives.”
Similarly, CruiseOne and Dream Vacations’ franchise owners are also having a strong year, said Drew Daly, CruiseOne and Dream Vacations senior vice president and general manager.
“We are seeing a high engagement from the agents who are traveling themselves more and sharing a lot on social media. I definitely think they are inspiring their customers to get out there and see the world as well,” he said.
“We are definitely seeing some of our best days and weeks of the year and average price is growing too.”
Daly also predicted that 2023 will prove to be the comeback year for the travel industry.
“More ships are coming into the marketplace; consumer demand is stronger than ever and travel advisors are busier than ever in helping their customers plan their future travel,” he said. “Luxury travel and multigenerational travel will definitely be solid niche areas as people saved more money and they recognize the value in enhancing their overall travel experience. Plus, they want to be traveling with their loved ones and creating great memories from their dream vacations.
“Prices will continue to increase because it follows the law of supply and demand. Travel Advisors have done a great job stressing urgency when they are talking to their customers. Consumers must book today because availability will be gone tomorrow.”
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