ASTA released the results of its exclusive 2011 Technology and Web Usage Report, which found that a substantial number of travel agents are using elements of Web 2.0 to enhance their networking and marketing efforts.
Now in its seventh year, the survey is the only report of its kind that specifically looks at online booking revenue, Internet usage, Web 2.0 marketing, and website development from the agency’s’ point of view. The survey also looks closely at how agencies use the Web for supplier research and booking.
“Like everyone today, travel agents are under the gun to adapt to rapidly changing technology and incorporate it seamlessly into their businesses,” said ASTA CEO Tony Gonchar. “Keeping up with changing technology is costly and time-intensive, and most agencies don’t have the resources or personnel to do so. How agencies keep up with these changes will be a major issue going forward. ASTA is the only organization researching this subject and developing learning and training programs with the goal of assisting members with this exact challenge.”
The study found that most agents are using Web 2.0 for promotion and brand-building rather than as a revenue or lead generator.
Among other findings:
· The percentage of agencies that book directly on supplier websites peaked in 2007 (93%) and 2008 (94%) and has declined slightly since to 77 percent today.
· The percentage of agencies with a website plateaued in 2008 at between 75 percent and 78 percent. Today, it stands at 77 percent.
· The percentage of revenue agencies receive strictly from online tools remains at 7 percent.
· Approximately 66 percent of agencies use Web 2.0 techniques for networking and marketing.
· Awareness, promotion, and advertising are seen as the social media goals by about half of those agencies surveyed.
· Only 39 percent of agencies have CRM software. The largest technical issues facing agencies are keeping up with technology changes and justifying the return on technology investment.
· 2011 saw a very large increase in agencies providing mobile access to itineraries for their clients from 20 percent in 2010 to 65 percent in 2011.
The ASTA Research Family, which was used for this study, is comprised of a representative sample of ASTA member travel agency owners and managers. The report indicates a 95% confidence with an error rate +/- 4.8%.
ASTA wishes to thank Sabre Travel Network for its generous support of this study.
The mission of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. ASTA seeks a retail travel marketplace that is profitable and growing and a rewarding field in which to work, invest and do business.