July 27, 2017
Findings reveal perceptions about policy issues at a time of turmoil and change
Alexandria, Va., July 26, 2017 – The American Society of Travel agents (ASTA), the leading organization representing travel agents in the U.S., today released a groundbreaking study that tracks perceptions of American travelers. This year’s wide-ranging study includes reaction to prominent issues like airline regulation and travel bans, collected to help ASTA better advocate for travelers as well as support travel agents as they advise their clients.
“We’ve approached this year’s study with greater focus on the changing landscape for travel and the issues shaping that change,” said Zane Kerby, President and CEO of ASTA. “This is part of our commitment to be an advocate for travelers, as well as for our travel agency members.”
The study comes at a time of turmoil for American travelers, a time of highly-publicized airline incidents, travel bans and tightened regulations and restrictions concerning carry-on items. ASTA collected the opinions of more than 1,500 travelers on a wide range of travel topics, including public policy issues such as travel bans and restrictions, airline regulation and a proposed Mexican border wall. Key findings include:
ASTA presented the study results to its members during the ASTA Capitol Summit event in June in Washington, D.C., which featured compelling educational content as well as the Society’s annual “Legislative Day” where over 100 travel agency executives took to Capitol Hill to speak to lawmakers about the critical issues that face the travel industry and the traveler. ASTA plans further explore the project’s results with its members during the ASTA Global Convention, August 27-29 in San Diego, CA.
“We are committed to protecting the interests of the traveling public on both domestic and international issues, including ease of booking, process transparency, and – above all else – safety while away from home,” said Kerby. “Our research shows Americans’ passion to travel is stronger than ever and we believe travelers deserve complete transparency from all vendors involved in the booking process, including from the government itself. America’s travel agents are dedicated to serving the needs of the public, and ASTA plans to build on this data to amplify our voice in support of travelers and the travel agents who serve them.”
Kerby said the good news for the travel industry is that study respondents, despite concerns about bans and restrictions, remain zealous in their intention to travel. “The good news for travel agents is that Americans are an intrepid group and are always looking for new ways to discover the world and spend quality time with their families and friends,” he said.
Both the quantitative and qualitative parts of the study provided ASTA and its members with insight into travelers’ perceptions and expectations of travel agents. They learned, for example, that many travelers are driven to find highly-authentic travel experiences, especially ones that will take them off the beaten path. These travelers want to know their agent has expertise and experience about a desired destination and can understand and adapt to the client’s own travel preferences. ASTA travel agencies are well-positioned to help in this regard, with the average member having been to over 56 countries.
To review the full study findings, you can visit this link.
PSB, a global market research and opinion polling firm, conducted a scientific quantitative study of 1,522 Americans ages 25-70 to gauge perceptions regarding a wide range of travel topics. PSB conducted the survey online, and the respondent sample is proportional by race, gender and generation to U.S. Census demographics. Additionally, PSB conducted six focus groups of American travelers to understand their travel perceptions and priorities. The groups took place in Charlotte, Denver and Philadelphia, and were divided into two age groups, 25-35 and 36-45.
We’d like to thank Carnival Corporation, an ASTA Proud Partner, for sponsoring ASTA’s consumer research for the fourth year in a row. As an ASTA Proud Partner, Carnival Corporation is building on its track record of helping agents better understand today’s consumers and supporting research that benefits all ASTA travel agents.
ASTA would also like to thank our dedicated Chapter Presidents for funding a portion of this research. They recognize the importance of consumer awareness. And this year, the Chapter Presidents renewed their commitment to ASTA and consumer awareness by funding another round of support. That sort of commitment provides the resources necessary to keep the consumer awareness machine running on all cylinders. Their commitment to our industry and their national trade association is invaluable.
ASTA (American Society of Travel agents) members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally based members, it is the leading global advocate for travel agents, the travel industry and the traveling public. ASTA’s history of travel industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931 when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. For more information, visit ASTA.org.
ASTA’s sister association, The National Association of Career Travel agents, represents a professional community of independent travel agents ready to assist the traveling public.
Rebranded in 2018 as the American Society of Travel Advisors, ASTA is the leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry and the traveling public. Its members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally-based members, ASTA’s history of industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931 when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. For more information about the Society, visit ASTA.org. Consumers can connect with an ASTA travel advisor at TravelSense.org.