Consumer Travel Agency Industry: Market Size

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Consumer Travel Agency Industry: General Statistics

In the last five years (2013-2018), the consumer travel agency industry in the United States witnessed a growth of about 5.2%, generating a revenue of $42 billion in 2018. In 2017, around 67,330 travel agents were employed in the United States.

NUMBER OF CONSUMER TRAVEL AGENTS IN THE UNITED STATES

  • According to Statista, there were around 67,330 travel agents employed in the United States in 2017, down from 68,680 travel agents in 2016.
  • In 2015, about 66,560 travel agents were employed in the United States.
  • Currently, there are 9,826 travel companies/agencies in the United States.

AVERAGE NUMBER OF TRAVELS AN AGENT BOOK PER YEAR

  • In 2013, "the front line travel sellers in leisure travel agencies" booked travels that generated an average revenue of $714,077. The full-time independent contractors and agents booked travels that generated an average revenue of $388,684 while corporate agents generated an average of $1.1 million in revenue per agent.

INCREASE/DECREASE OF CONSUMER AGENTS OVER THE LAST 5 YEARS

  • In the last five years (2013-2018), the consumer travel agency industry in the United States witnessed a growth of about 5.2%, generating a revenue of $42 billion in 2018.
  • The number of businesses in the industry has also increased by 3.8% over the last five years while the number of employees grew by 3.0%. In 2018, the number of businesses in the consumer travel agency industry in the United States was 63,331.
  • In 2018, the consumer travel agency industry sales were at $24.7 billion, according to a report published on Market Research. In the last three years, the annual growth rate of the industry was around 8%. The average revenue per company in the United States was $2.3 million in 2018.
  • According to Statista, the consumer travel agency industry generated around $12.2 billion in revenue in 2010. It is predicted that the industry will generate about $17.3 billion in revenue by 2020.
  • The travel agency industry has grown and travel agencies are witnessing profits. As of 2016, around 78% of the revenue made by the travel agencies came from commissions and 22% from service fees. This data was based on a survey conducted of 1,193 travel agents. Around 60% of travel agents witnessed an increase in sales in 2015 as compared to 2014.
  • Around 8% of travel agents reported a decrease in total sales in the year 2017. This is a decrease from 2015 where 12% of travel agents in the United States reported a decrease in sales. Around 9% of travel agents reported a decrease in total sales in 2014, 10% in 2013, about 14% in 2012, and around 17% in 2011.

OTHER FINDINGS

  • According to the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), there were 9,386 travel agency organizations that operated 15,671 retail locations in March 2010. This is not inclusive of the agencies that do not provide air services.
  • As of May 2008, the travel agency industry had around 105,300 full-time employees, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

RESEARCH STRATEGY:

After conducting an extensive search, we were not able to find the most recent data on the average number of travels an agent book per year. We scoured through reliable sources such as IBIS World, Market Research, Statista, and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics among other credible sites. We were able to find the most recent number of consumer travel agents and agencies in the United States and information about industry growth over the last 5 years. However, these sources did not provide insights into the average number of travels an agent books annually.

According to the American Society of Travel Advisors, consumer travel agents (also travel agents) work on behalf of the consumer to book tickets; identify affordable prices; personalize services for their clients; provide competitive options, promotions, and value-added benefits; and resolve their challenges.

We extended our search to look beyond the required time frame by searching for sources older than 2 years. We were able to find an estimated average of 2013 from Travel Market Report. The data suggested that average revenues of front line travel sellers in leisure travel agencies, full-time independent agents and contractors, and corporate agents. We hoped to use this information in triangulation to find the requested information but unfortunately, the strategy was fruitless. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics provided the average amount that travel agents earn instead.

We broadened our research scope to focus globally and not just the United States. This research strategy was also not helpful because we were not able to retrieve data on the average number of travels booked by agents per year. Statista and Market Research only provided the number of agents/agencies and consumer travel agent industry growth. Global search provided us with the leading travel agents in the United States and globally, however, there was no data on the average number of bookings that these agents/agencies do annually. More data on consumer travel agencies in the United States can be found on Statista that was hidden behind a paywall. Thus, we were not able to pursue the course.

In conclusion, we could not find the information that covered any data regarding the average number of travels an agent book per year. This information is not publicly available probably because most of the travel agents are private entities and do not disclose their data to the public. This could also be because no such research has been conducted before as most bookings are done online nowadays.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Consumer Travel Agency Industry: Market Size

The size of the consumer travel agency market in the United States is an estimated US$57.0138 billion, based on figures provided by travel market research firm Phocuswright, which defines travel agencies as traditional travel agencies or travel management companies. Data on the number of bookings could not be located in the public domain, but available information suggests that if online travel agencies (OTAs) are not excluded, the largest consumer travel agencies in the United States are Expedia Group, Booking Holdings, Flight Centre Travel Group USA, Travel Leaders Group, and American Express Travel.

MARKET SIZE

  • The travel agency market in the United States is expected to grow from US$112.8 billion in 2017 to US$127 billion by 2021, according to travel market research firm Phocuswright. Phocuswright defines the travel agency market as separate from the OTA market.
  • Consumer or leisure travel accounted for around 47.22% or US$53.26416 billion of the United States travel agency market in 2017. By 2021, it will account for around 48.06% or US$61.0362 billion of the United States travel agency market.
  • Corporate travel, on the other hand, accounted for around 52.78% or US$59.53584 billion of the United States travel agency market in 2017. By 2021, it will account for around 51.94% or US$65.9638 billion of the United States travel agency market.
  • These figures suggest that the United States consumer travel agency market will grow at a CAGR of 3.46% during the period 2017-2021.
  • Given this CAGR, it can be estimated that the size of the United States consumer travel agency market in 2019 is around US$57.0138 billion.

MAJOR PLAYERS

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To determine the size of the United States consumer travel agency market, we referred to an article published by Phocuswright, a travel market research company that has been studying the country's travel agency distribution landscape since 2006. This article shows that the United States travel agency market, which Phocuswright defines as the market where traditional travel agencies or travel management companies (TMCs) operate, is projected to grow from US$112.8 billion in 2017 to US$127 billion by 2021. It also has pie charts showing the breakdown of the United States travel agency market into the following segments: corporate and leisure. We assume that leisure travel, in this context, pertains to consumer travel. Though the percentage shares are not displayed, an online protractor can be used to determine them. With an online protractor, we were able to determine that leisure travel accounted for around 47.22% of the United States travel agency market in 2017 and will account for around 48.06% of the market by 2021. These figures enabled us to make the following computations:

2017: US$112.8 billion x 47.22% = US$53.26416 billion
2021: US$127 billion x 48.06% = US$61.0362 billion

Given that the United States consumer travel agency market will grow from US$53.26416 billion in 2017 to reach US$61.0362 billion by 2021, we were also able to determine that the United States consumer travel agency market will grow at CAGR of 3.46% during the period 2017-2021.

CAGR, 2017-2021 =(((US$61.0362 billion/US$53.26416 billion)^(1/4))-1) x 100% = 3.46%

With this CAGR, we were able to compute that the size of the United States consumer travel agency market in 2019 is around US$57.0138 billion.

US$53.26416 billion x 1.0346 x 1.0346 = US$57.0138 billion

For consistency purposes, we checked if Phocuswright has information on the major players in the United States consumer travel agency market. We, unfortunately, were unable to find any, and all we were able to find was Phocuswright's paywalled reports on the United States travel agency distribution landscape and the United States consumer or leisure travel market. To find the major players, we took a number of approaches. First, we looked for the top, largest, or biggest consumer travel agencies and travel agencies. This step led us to some rankings, such as Travel Weekly's list of the top travel agencies in the world by revenue and AdvisoryHQ's list of the best travel agencies in the United States. We had problems with these lists, however, because Travel Weekly's list is worldwide and inclusive of purely online travel agencies (OTAs), which travel expert Phocuswright considers a separate segment or market from travel agencies, and AdvisoryHQ's list is not based on quantitative metrics. We were unable to find any ranking based on the number of bookings. This may be because sales, revenue, or gross bookings is a better metric for ranking and the dollar amount varies widely from one booking to another.

Second, we checked if market research firms, other than Phocuswright, have released reports or articles on either the United States consumer travel market or the United States travel agency market. This step produced a number of reports on travel agencies in the country, including those published by IBISWorld and First Research. These reports, however, do not distinguish between consumer travel and corporate travel. Moreover, they differ from Phocuswright's report in that they include OTAs. There appear to be differences in how market research firms define the travel agency market. In answering this request, we assumed that Phocuswright, being a long-time travel market specialist, knows more about the travel agency market than IBISWorld and First Research.

Third, we consulted the websites, publications, press releases, presentations, and regulatory filings of the largest consumer travel agencies in the world that could be identified from Travel Weekly's list. This is to see whether these agencies have segmented their revenues or gross bookings by both country and type of customer. We were unable to find such segmentation, however, so we looked at where these travel agencies are headquartered. We assumed that if they are all based in the United States, they will also be the largest consumer travel agencies in the country.


Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "The travel agency industry in the United States is projected to generate 17.3 billion U.S. dollars in revenue by 2020, up from around 15 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 and about 12.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2010."
Quotes
  • "This statistic shows the number of travel agents employed in the United States from 2015 to 2017. In 2017, over 67 thousand adults were employed as travel agents in the United States."
Quotes
  • "This statistic shows the share of travel agents reporting a decrease in total sales from the prior year in the United States from 2008 to 2017."
Quotes
  • "The Travel Agencies industry has experienced steady growth over the five years to 2018, as online booking agencies capitalized on increased demand for travel while traditional travel agencies worked to reinvent their business practices."
Quotes
  • "The Travel Agencies industry has experienced steady growth over the five years to 2018, as online booking agencies capitalized on increased demand for travel while traditional travel agencies worked to reinvent their business practices."
Quotes
  • "Over the past 3 years, the industry has grown at an annual rate of 8%"
Quotes
  • "The Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) reports there are 9,386 travel agency firms operating 15,671 retail locations"
Quotes
  • "In 2013 full time frontline travel sellers in leisure agencies booked an average $714,077, "
From Part 02
Quotes
  • "The overall U.S. travel agency market is forecast to reach US$127 billion by 2021, up from $112.8 billion in 2017"
Quotes
  • "Phocuswright has been researching the travel agency distribution landscape in the U.S. since 2006."