23 Jan Pent Up Demand Leads to Strong Early Bookings for Travel Leaders Network Member Agencies
More than 83% of Travel Leaders Network agents indicate overall bookings are higher than or equal to last year; Caribbean cruises and Orlando are top international and U.S. destinations.
New York City, NY (January 23, 2017) – Today, Travel Leaders Network provided insights into its booking trends for 2017, and announced that more than 83% agents surveyed state overall bookings are equal to or higher than the same time last year. Based on survey data from over 900 Travel Leaders Network Members, nearly 93% report year-over-year cruise bookings are higher than or on par with last year, and 81.3% are optimistic about the coming year, while another 15.2% are neither optimistic nor pessimistic. Additionally, the overall top domestic and international “destinations” being booked are Orlando, Florida, and Caribbean cruises, respectively. Travel Leaders Network assists millions of leisure and business travelers, annually, and is the largest seller of luxury travel, cruises, river cruises and tours in the travel agency industry.
“There is pent up demand, particularly within leisure travel, leading to strong bookings as we start the year. With the U.S. GDP forecast of 2.2% growth in 2017, an improving economic environment equates to more consumers wanting to spend their money on travel experiences,” said Roger E. Block, CTC, President of Travel Leaders Network. “We anticipate airfares increasing by an average of 2%, U.S. hotel rates experiencing an average increase of mid-single digits and that European hotel rates will increase slightly. Not surprisingly, our Travel Leaders Network agents state that nearly 95% of their clients will spend the same or more this year on travel, and our travel agents are prepared to use their skills and expertise to ensure their clients are getting the utmost value for what they choose to spend.”
The trends identified by Travel Leaders Network Members indicate that the top international destinations their clients are booking for 2017 include: Caribbean cruises; Cancun, Mexico; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Rome, Italy; and European river cruises. The top domestic destinations are: Orlando, Florida; Maui, Hawaii; Las Vegas, Nevada; Alaska cruises; and New York City, New York.
Specifically looking at the cruise segment of the industry, 46.1% of Travel Leaders Network survey participants say their overall cruise bookings are higher than this same time last year, while an additional 43.6% state their year-over-year cruise bookings are on par. As for Mediterranean cruises, 84.4% state their bookings are equal to or higher than last year, and 79.3% of those surveyed indicate their European river cruise bookings are increasing or remaining the same.
“The cruise industry is continuing to innovate in terms of their ships, technology, and overall customer experience, which is why their customer satisfaction ratings continue to be so high. Additionally, we offer our clients added value through our programs like Distinctive Voyages and the Culinary Collection,” explained John Lovell, CTC, President of Travel Leaders Network & Leisure Group. “We are very optimistic that the early booking indicators for all cruises – and specifically Mediterranean and European river cruises – will hold throughout 2017.”
Domestically, questions regarding Florida travel appear to be allayed. “Nearly 81% of our Members indicate their overall bookings to Florida are even with or higher than last year. And for the small fraction who indicate their Florida bookings are lower, more than two-thirds of those agents state the Zika virus has had little to no impact,” added Lovell, who first cautioned about the potential impact that Zika might have on travel bookings one year ago. As of December 9, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection stated that Florida is Zika-free.
“Overall, we are heading into 2017 optimistically,” Block noted. “We are now one strong, unified organization; and with the new Travel Leaders Network, we can continue to provide heightened technological, training and marketing capabilities in order to accelerate growth for our agencies.”
Travel agencies interested in learning more about the award-winning programs and diverse offerings that Travel Leaders Network offers agencies in leisure and luxury travel, business travel, destination weddings and honeymoon travel – as well as active and adventure travel – may visit TravelLeadersNetwork.com or call 877-404-4172. Led by the flagship Travel Leaders-branded Associates, the nearly 7,000 travel agencies of Travel Leaders Network combined enjoy more than $17 billion in annual sales volume.
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About Travel Leaders Network
Travel Leaders Network assists millions of leisure and business travelers, annually, and is the largest seller of luxury travel, cruises, river cruises and tours in the travel agency industry. Led by flagship Travel Leaders-branded travel agencies (www.travelleaders.com), the network includes nearly 7,000 Associates and Member travel agencies locations in the United States and Canada and represents more than $17 billion in annual sales volume. Travel Leaders Network’s award-winning Agent Profiler agent-locator, marketing, technology, supplier partnerships and educational programs are designed around our travel agents’ commitment to our vacation and business travel clients in providing a progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Network is a Travel Leaders Group LLC company.