FROSCH Jumps to #13 on the Travel Weekly 2021 Power List
Each year Travel Weekly ranks the world’s travel agencies that report $100M+ in travel sales. Executives from agencies across the globe were interviewed with regards to sales numbers, impact from COVID on their business, industry trends they are seeing, and more.
The overwhelming responses from the interviews were that agencies wanted to participate in the list this year and share their story and their path forward post-pandemic. The research gained through this Power List compilation has proven to be insightful, as the industry forges a path towards recovery.
In an unprecedented year, there were some shake-ups on the list and key trends discovered amongst the top agencies.
Leisure Leads the Recovery
Among the Power List are agencies with a wide variety of expertise – leisure, business, entertainment, meetings & events, and more. All those interviewed for the Power List report their mix of leisure vs. business travel sales. Within the interviews, it became very clear that agencies with a higher percentage of leisure travel were more optimistic towards recovery. Agencies that have a strong leisure focus are anticipating a “tidal wave” of business to come in over the coming year – with some even saying that 2022 levels will be at or will even exceed 2019 levels.
Many travelers are inquiring about bucket-list trips, milestone trips, celebratory trips, longer than usual vacation lengths, and the opportunity to just escape after long quarantine periods. FROSCH agency, Valerie Wilson Travel (#35 on the list) is quoted as saying that “travel panning has especially picked up for milestones, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations.”
Business Travel Coming Back … It’s Complicated
Business / Corporate Travel continues to show a wide spectrum across the industry. There are the road warriors who are ready to get back out on the road and have the pent-up need for business travel, and there are those companies that are just not ready to release their employees out into the friendly skies. It will be a “slow and steady” recovery vs. the leisure boom that we are seeing as an industry.
One true factor is that the corporate travel model has forever evolved in response to the pandemic. Travel Managers are shifting their focus to traveler care, risk management, security, traveler tracking / knowing where their travelers are, ROI for business trips, purpose of trip, pre-trip approvals, and travel policy. As the pandemic changed business travel forever – the one main challenge that agencies will find is to find the proper blend of digital and human service. The travel agencies that can strike that balance and get it right will grow faster than others.
Mergers and acquisitions were robust during the pandemic – highly driven by the need for technology to acquire new business, the need to expand to meet leisure travel demands, and more. FROSCH acquired Valerie Wilson Travel in May of 2021.
Search for New Revenue Streams
With the industry turned upside down, agencies found themselves looking for new revenue streams, pivoting from their typical revenue sources. Areas that became a key focus across the agencies on the Power List included: rental car sales, homestay rentals, travel within the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean, Entertainment and Production Travel, all-inclusive stays, wellness travel, and villa rentals.
Examples of these can be seen with, FROSCH agency, Valerie Wilson Travel (VWT). VWT formed a marketing partnership with Trilogy Spa Holdings to showcase Trilogy’s wellness offerings to VWT clients. VWT also launched VWT Associate Access, a training and mentoring program for budding travel entrepreneurs.
Technology Updates and Innovation
In a year filled with video conferences, remote work, canceled business trips, and moved vacations, the importance of technology was thrust into the spotlight. There was no better example of this than in the travel industry. Investment in technology was paramount to survival for agencies in 2020. Technology changes for agencies included: updating call centers, updating computer systems, unused ticket management, future cruise credits, traveler tracking, safety and security, and more.
One major innovation seen here, at FROSCH, was with the creation of GuideMe – a duty of care platform integrating all COVID-related information for clients and advisors.
To meet the demands and changes that the “new normal” presented, agencies found themselves having to implement new tools and change with the times. To best position advisors and employees for success once travel resumed, training and re-training of all employees was an emphasis for all agencies on the Power List.
The impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry will go down in history as one of the most extreme of any economic sector. The industry’s response will most likely be a case study in crisis and change management for decades to come. The agencies listed on the Travel Weekly Power List go to show the true resiliency and strength of the travel industry and the ability to adapt and pivot with the times.
On the Power List, lucky #13 FROSCH is shown as having the outlook of a leisure-led recovery expected and a rising demand for other sectors (corporate and meetings) to coincide with vaccine rollout and the easement of COVID restrictions.
See the complete list and article HERE.