Travel agencies

Cruises are now the flagship product of travel agencies

Travel agencies continue their post-COVID transformation.

Cruise is now the number one travel product sold by travel agencies, surpassing all-inclusive packages, a bullish sign for the travel industry’s recovery after COVID-19.

That’s according to the latest edition of TMR’s Distribution Outlook, a comprehensive look at what drives the travel business, including how it has recovered from the pandemic.

“To truly understand the growth of the travel business during this next boom period, we first need to get a sense of where the travel agency distribution channels in North America are right now, so that you and your peers industry can see where you stand, and where there is room to grow, ”said TMR Editor-in-Chief Daniel McCarthy.

“That’s why we’re proud to announce the second edition of our Travel Agency Channel Distribution Outlook, a report on you and your role in the industry. As a media voice, TMR is pleased to have undertaken this research to show you and your partners how valuable you are to the survival of the industry during COVID, and to thrive now. “

The survey interviewed 1,082 travel counselors, 51% of whom were either owners or managers of travel agencies, and found that 32% of travel products sold by agencies were in the cruise segment, a number up 2% from 28% last year.

It was the first in the general classification. Cruises were then followed by all-inclusive vacations (30%, as in 2021), flights (17%, down 1% from 2021) and hotels (14%, up from 16% in 2021).

The fact that cruise is now the top segment proves how far the industry has progressed since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when cruise ships grabbed the headlines due to forced quarantines on board. It’s also noteworthy that the cruise segment has surpassed all-inclusive, one of the segments that were seen as potential winners at the start of the pandemic.

Today, agencies are seeing more interest in cruising than ever before and advisers have recognized this. In the survey, advisers said they wanted to focus primarily on river (61%) and ocean (56%) cruises as a specialty.

The survey results, which were first presented to the public today, also revealed a number of trends advisers should be aware of moving forward, including:

  • Couples remain the primary customer profile (93% of respondents say so).
  • Affiliations matter more than ever (52% of respondents were associated with a consortium, 29% with a host, 7% with a franchise and only 12% did not mention any affiliation).
  • Customer service is the most important factor when it comes to choosing a supplier partner (79% of respondents said so).
  • Online training is still very popular with advisers (79% of respondents say so).

The full survey results are available here.