NEW YORK -- Lead-generation evidence compiled by Travel Leaders Network suggests a trend many have discussed anecdotally: An increasing number of consumers want to work with travel advisors.
Twenty percent of leads coming through Travelleaders.com come from consumers who have worked with an advisor, Travel Leaders Group chief marketing officer Stephen McGillivray said during a Travel Leaders Network media update this week. That is a 30% increase in new-to-advisor leads compared to before the pandemic.
In 2022, the website delivered 214,345 leads to advisors, up 40% compared to the year prior. Thus far, in January, TravelLeaders.com is already up 72% compared to the leads received in January 2022, McGillivray said.
Travel Leaders Network is growing
Travel Leaders Network continued to add new members in 2022, according to president Roger Block. The network added 260 affiliates, representing $837 million in sales. In 2021, the network added 185 affiliates.
Last year, Travel Leaders Network added seven franchises, representing $135 million in sales; in 2021, the network added four franchises.
Block said Travel Leaders Network now has 97,000 advisors under its umbrella.
2023 is looking good
Turning into 2023, Travel Leaders Group president John Lovell is bullish on the travel industry and the agency community in particular.
"The last three years, we've been at the lowest point we ever will be in the history of the travel industry, and now, we're in certain respects at the top of the industry," Lovell said. "From an overall perspective, we're doing extremely strongly. The credit has to go to the travel advisor."
Advisors have been "instrumental" in recent years, Lovell said, with their services highlighted in a big way by the pandemic.
"I don't think there's a better time in the history of the industry to be an advisor," he said.
The year ahead looks to be a strong one. According to Lovell, river cruising is nearly back to prepandemic levels and demand from first-time river cruisers is high.
Ocean cruising is also doing well. Lovell estimated that ocean cruising in 2022 was nearly on par with 2019 levels, and he expects it to be above prepandemic levels this year.
Consumers are also flocking to land vacations. While domestic and close-to-home destinations that swelled in popularity during the height of the pandemic are still doing well, Lovell said there is renewed interest in Europe.