Leisure travel sellers have busted the dam.
For the week ending April 24, leisure-focused U.S. travel agencies sold 1.1% more airline tickets than they did during the same week in 2019, according to ARC data. It was the first time that sales in a given week had exceeded sales for the same week in 2019 since early February 2020.
And leisure sellers have achieved that milestone ahead of their corporate-travel and OTA counterparts. The air ticket transaction count for OTAs for the week ending April 24 was 19% behind 2019, while TMCs sold 27.9% fewer tickets.
Overall, for the summer travel season, leisure agency airline ticket sales are accounting for 14.4% of all U.S.-origin travel agency ticket transactions, ARC said, up from 11.7% in 2019. Conversely, the share coming from corporate travel agencies is just 4.1%, down 19% percent in 2019.
Share for OTAs has also dropped, edging downward from 44.7% in 2019 to 36.8% this year.
But the share held by agencies that ARC doesn't classify as strictly a leisure or corporate agency has skyrocketed from 26.7% in 2019 to 44.7% this year. Most of these agencies are small operators, ARC spokesman Randy Spoon said.
ARC said the average round-trip ticket price for U.S. domestic summer travel through April 10 was $526, up 21.5% from 2019 and up 28.6% from last year.