The Corporate Association of Specialized Travel Agencies (acave) considers that 2021 has been the year of the beginning of the recovery for Spanish travel agencies, although many companies in the sector are still immersed in a complicated situation that will continue this year. According to Acave data, presented this Thursday at the Fitur fair, for 40% of the companies in the sector, the volume of travel reservations in 2021 represented an increase of more than 50% compared to 2020, while for 35 % of those consulted, growth was between 25% and 50%. Martí Sarrate, president of Acave recognized that in the sector they are “optimistic, but also prudent”, because “95% of the agencies have not yet recovered the level of reserves of 2019”.
Sarrate defends that in the current situation of uncertainty generated by the pandemic, travel agencies have reinforced their role as intermediaries: “The uncertainty caused by the pandemic and its consequences has caused many clients to turn to travel agencies as a safer platform for the organization of your vacations”. According to the results, most of the agencies surveyed consider that the factors most valued by their clients in 2021 have been -and will continue to be in 2022- professional advice on the requirements and documentation necessary to travel to each destination; the guarantee of recovering the money in the event of border closures or quarantines; and flexibility in last minute changes.
The clients of the agencies have also increased during this last year the anticipation of contracting trips. According to the results, 30% of reservations have been made between 3 and 4 months in advance, and 5% between 3 and 6 months before. 26% of customers have contracted their trips 1 month before their vacation. According to the president of Acave, “these data show that the majority of Spaniards who have resorted to travel agencies sought to prepare their trips in advance with the
International travel boom
The results of the survey show an interesting change for 2022 in the contracting of vacations in travel agencies, since it is expected that the products most demanded by Spaniards in this new year will be mainly international trips. It is a perception that airlines like Vueling, for example, corroborate. The five products that the agencies agree in pointing out as the preferred ones for 2022 are Europe, the United States, African countries and safaris, destinations in South America and Asian countries. This trend would demonstrate the recovery of the confidence of travelers to travel outside our borders. By countries, the most demanded are expected to be France, the United States, Egypt, Maldives, Costa Rica, Mexico (Caribbean) and the Dominican Republic. In the field of national destinations, Spaniards who go to travel agencies to organize their holidays will refer to coastal destinations, mainly the Balearic and Canary Islands.
In the field of receptive agencies, 85% of those surveyed agree that the most important source markets for Spain this year will continue to be France and Benelux. These markets will be followed in importance by the United Kingdom, Germany and the Nordic countries. 87.5% of the agencies also agree that flexibility in booking conditions will be the most decisive factor for the purchase decision, followed by security and confidence in the application of covid measures.
When asked about their situation, only 35% of travel agencies say that they have reopened 100% of their points of sale and have their entire team (without permanent staff). For their part, another 35% of those surveyed have been able to reopen all their points of sale but have been forced to keep part of their employees in ERTE. Another 26% have opened only part of their offices and maintain permanent staff, and finally 4% have remained closed to this day. Regarding the implementation of telecommuting, 26% of those surveyed affirm that their company has re-established 100% face-to-face work, while 39% have opted for a mixed model of office work and telecommuting. For their part, 35% of companies state that 100% of their employees telecommute.
The Corporate Association of Specialized Travel Agencies (ACAVe) is the employers’ association for state-wide travel agencies based in Catalonia and encompasses 450 associates and around 1,000 points of sale throughout Spain.