ASTA Agency Profile - October / November, 2004 - About ASTA - ASTA

ASTA Agency Profile - October / November, 2004

MEMBER DEMOGRAPHICS

Years in business
ASTA members are well-established businesses. The 1980s represent the largest period of growth for travel agents. Close to thirty-four percent of ASTA members opened their business in the 1980s. On average, ASTA agencies have been in business for 24 years with a median of 21 years.

ASTA membership: ASTA members show a strong loyalty to the organization. Members have been with the organization for an average of 23 years with a median of 16 years.

Regional breakdown: The ASTA agency membership distribution mirrors that of the entire U.S. agency community.

middot; Northeast 24.6%
middot; Mid-Atlantic 14.1%
middot; South 20.6%
middot; Midwest 18.1%
middot; West 22.7%

Agency location
The majority of ASTA agencies are located in storefront offices. Just over forty percent of survey respondents have main street locations. An additional 22.5 percent are located in office complexes. The percentage of agents working out of their homes is up to 12.1 percent from 9.4 percent in 2003 and 7.3 percent in 2002.


2004
2003
2002
Main street
40.2
38.9
39.4
Strip mall
19.5
22.4
23.8
Home based
12.1
9.4
7.3
Office complex
22.5
21.0
20.7
High rise
1.8
3.5
2.5
Other
3.8
4.7
6.4
Internet only
0.2
mdash;
mdash;

Agency hours of operation
While 38.1 percent of agencies open their doors on Saturdays, only 4.3 percent welcome customers on Sundays. Many of the agencies that are closed over the weekend did note that they are available on an appointment basis. 38.3 percent of agencies are willing to make appointments for Saturdays. On Sundays, this percentage goes down to 27.9 percent. Others close their office over the weekend in the summer, but are open for business during the winter season.

Open on Saturday: 38.1%
Open on Sunday: 4.3%
Open on Saturday by appointment only: 38.3%
Open on Sunday by appointment only: 27.9%

Legal status
Just fewer than seventy percent of agencies are corporations, of which two thirds have elected Subchapter S status for tax purposes. Just over fifteen percent of agencies run their business as sole proprietorships.

Corporation, Subchapter S - 42.8%
Corporation* - 26.6%
Sole proprietorship - 16.0%
Limited Liability Company (LLC) - 9.8%
Partnership - 2.4%
Donrsquo;t know - 2.0%

* Includes the answers: C-corporation, Corporation, Inc, Incorporated and California corporation

AGENCY SIZE

Number of employees
The average ASTA agency has between four and five (4.5) full-time employees. This is down from last year, when the average was 5.7. In addition, 73 percent of agencies employ one or more part-time agents. 77.7 percent of agencies work with at least one independent contractor compared to 86.4 percent in 2003.

# of employees
Full-time
Part-time
Independent
contractors (IC)
None
1.6%
27.0%
22.3%
1-2
39.9%
55.3%
33.0%
3-5
40.8%
13.9%
24.4%
6-10
12.0%
2.8%
11.3%
11-20
3.0%
0.8%
5.5%
21-30
1.8%
0.0%
1.3%
31 or more
1.0%
0.0%
2.3%
Mean (average)
4-5
1-2
4-5
Median (mid point)

3

1
2

Sales volume
Just over half of agencies (53.4%) report an annual sales volume of less than $2 million over 2003 or closest fiscal year. While the sales volume distribution is very similar to last yearrsquo;s, comparison to 2000 and 1998 data clearly shows a trend of slightly increased agency size (see graph). As a result of changed market conditions, the number of small agencies has been decreasing while the number of medium and large agencies has been increasing over the past six years.

Sales "bucket"
2004
2003
2002
Less than $1 mil
20.5%
21.5%
21.0%
$1 - $1.9 mil
32.9%
29.1%
30.2%
$2 - $2.9 mil
20.3%
19.5%
18.3%
$3 - $3.9 mil
8.8%
7.9%
10.5%
$4 - $4.9 mil
5.2%
6.8%
7.3%
$5 - $10 mil
7.8%
10.8%
8.4%
More than $10 mil
4.4%
4.3%
4.1%

AGENCY BUSINESS PRACTICES

Conducting business
The phone continues to be the number one way for agents to conduct business. Agents report they conduct an average of 71.6 percent of total business over the phone. Customers visiting the office account for an average of 19.6 percent of business and the remaining 8.9 percent are generated by Internet business. These numbers are nearly identical compared to 2002-2003.

Phone - 71.6%
Internet - 8.9%
Walk-ins - 19.6%

Leisure vs. corporate orientation
ASTA agencies report that leisure products make up an average of 76.3 percent of total sales. Corporate sales make up just under one-quarter of total sales. In 2000, the corporate share was 35.5 percent.

Leisure sales - 76.3%
Corporate sales - 24.1%

Domestic vs. international sales
The majority of trips booked concern travel within the United States. ASTA agencies report that an average of 56.9 percent of total bookings concern domestic trips. The sales mix is nearly identical to 2003.

Domestic - 56.9%
International - 42.9%

Specialization
Just over 36 percent of agents define their businesses as dedicated to one particular destination or type of travel for at least 15 percent of total business. The remaining 63.8 percent run all-purpose agencies.

All-purpose - 63.8%
Dedicated (15%+) - 36.2%

Sales mix
Average air sales as a percentage of total sales continues to decrease. The survey data shows an increase in tour packages compared to previous years. Agents are anticipating a further decrease in average air sales. For 2005, they expect the average percentage of airline ticket sales to decrease to 25.8 percent of total sales. Projected figures for 2005 also show an increase of tour package and cruise sales. Hotel, car rental and other sales are projected to remain the same.

Product
Current 2004
Projected 2005
Airline
29.1%
25.8%
Car rental
4.7%
4.5%
Hotel
8.2%
8.1%
Cruise
22.8%
25.9%
Tour packages
30.4%
31.5%
Other
4.9%
4.4%

Consortia membership
A steady 83.8 percent of ASTA members belong to a consortia and/or franchise.

Year
%
Consortia
%
2004
83.8%

Vacation.com
35.1
2003
84.5%

Other
25.7
2002
85.1%

Do not belong to a consortia
16.2
2001
84.0%

Travelsavers
12.2
2000
86.0%

Carlson Wagonlit Travel
8.4


Ensemble
6.6

Results
6.0

American Express
3.0

Westa
2.8

Virtuoso
2.4

Mast
2.4

Signature Travel Network
2.0

Jurni
1.2

IT Group
1.2

AAA
0.2

*Multiple answers were possible

Member age
Nearly seventy percent of ASTA membership is between the ages of 45 and 64. 11.6 percent of survey respondents are between 35 and 44 years of age. Survey respondents are agency owners and managers.

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ASTA - American Society of Travel Agents
675 N Washington St, Ste 490
Alexandria, VA 22314 U.S.A.