Are Travel Agents Really Making a Comeback?

SHERMAN, CT--(Marketwire -03/29/12)- The past 15 years have brought dramatic changes to how travel is booked in the U.S. Consumer migration to online channels has driven a decline in the number of traditional travel agencies. But according to a new report from travel industry research authority PhoCusWright, traditional agencies still account for one third of travel bookings in the U.S., and today's travel agents are reinventing themselves to stay relevant and competitive.

"The Once and Future Agent: PhoCusWright's Travel Agency Distribution Landscape 2009-2013" ( reports that traditional travel agencies accounted for nearly US$95 billion in travel sales in 2011, or one third of the $284 billion U.S. travel market. Corporate agencies, which rebounded quickly from the recession, now account for nearly three fourths of all agency bookings and are focused on air, hotel and rental car sales. Leisure agencies tend to specialize in more complex leisure products such as vacation packages and cruises that are more challenging to book online, and represent a little over one fourth of total agency sales.

Both the leisure and corporate agency segments have changed dramatically over the past 15 years, and more change lies ahead. Douglas Quinby, PhoCusWright's senior director, research, addresses some of the key shifts that have taken place in the travel agency distribution landscape.

"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:

  • 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)
  • Assessment of the growing home-based travel agent phenomenon
  • 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

"The Once and Future Agent: PhoCusWright's Travel Agency Distribution Landscape 2009-2013" (US$1,100) traces the dramatic forces that have redefined the traditional travel agency sector, and provides essential guidance on the shaping of this distribution channel in the years to come.


PhoCusWright, the travel industry research authority, fosters smart strategic planning and tactical decision-making by delivering primary research on the evolving dynamics that influence travel, tourism and hospitality distribution. To complement its research in North America, Europe and Asia, PhoCusWright partners with and produces several high-profile conferences around the world.

© 2012 PhoCusWright Inc., Sherman, CT United States