The travel agency industry in the United States is projected to generate 17.3 billion U.S. dollars in revenue by 2020, up from around 15 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 and about 12.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2010. The industry did not only grow in terms of revenue, however, but profits of travel agencies in the United States have also increased annually in recent years. A decade ago, the industry’s average profit-to-revenue ratio came to six percent. This figure is estimated to have doubled to 12 percent by 2015. A 2016 survey of 1,193 travel agents found that on average 78 percent of their revenue was made up by commission, with 22 percent generated by services fees. While many in the travel industry have declared the era of travel agents to be over, recent research shows that travel agents in the United States are reporting an increase in business. In 2015, over 60 percent of travel agents reported an increase in sales over the previous year. The share of travel agents reporting a decrease in sales dropped from 80 percent in 2008 to just 12 percent in 2015.
The marketing methods of travel agencies have changed over the last few years, with many more travel agents using social media as a marketing tool. The most popular platform used for marketing in 2016 was Facebook, followed by LinkedIn and Twitter. Despite improvements in the industry, a 2017 Statista survey found that only 16 percent of respondents who would like to take a spring vacation, would 'certainly' or 'probably' use a travel agency to book a trip.
Travel management, like many things, is becoming increasingly web-based. In 2016, digital travel sales in the United States amounted to 180.6 billion U.S. dollars. This figure was forecasted to exceed 213 billion U.S. dollars by 2020. Such is the success of the online travel market; that the largest travel agency worldwide is the online travel agency (OTA) Expedia, followed by another OTA: the Priceline group. These two OTAs were also some of the preferred agencies of U.S. travelers. A 2017 survey found that 41 percent of travelers stated they would book a trip with Expedia and 24 percent stated they would book with Priceline, ranking them first and third in the survey respectively.
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