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[ NEW PHOCUSWRIGHT STUDY ]
By Johanna Jainchill
of cruise sales
is seen falling
A new PhoCus Wright report confirms what
many travel agents already knew intuitively:
While sales of cruise products by traditional
travel agencies have grown slowly in recent
years, agents’ share of total cruise sales has
The study, titled “Travel Agency Distribution Landscape 2009-2013,” is a wide-rang-ing body of research touching on all aspects
of travel agent sales across product segments.
An especially poignant finding, however,
was the drop in agent share of total cruise
sales, which led PhoCus Wright to predict
that travel agencies’ share of the cruise market will fall from 68% in 2009 to a projected
64% by 2013, or about one percentage point
Nicaragua: On the verge The second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, it nevertheless is determined to exploit its location and environmental treasures to create a tourist trade rivaling that of any destination in the region.
New sites bet hotels will bid for bookings
BY ARNIE WEISSMANN
Newly published research
reports that while agents’
cruise sales are rising slow-
ly, their share is dropping.
By Danny King
The study suggests there are several reasons for this. First, the number of agents has
remained flat at a time when the growth of
ship capacity has accelerated, forcing cruise
lines to broaden their distribution channel.
And second, the report suggests that a significant part of the reason for the decline in
share is a direct result of the fall-off in agent
compensation as a result of both lower fares
and increases in noncommissionable fees
Both have served to reduce agents’ incentives to sell cruise and to encourage them to
look for ways to expand the range of travel
products they offer, PhoCus Wright said.
(PhoCusWright is owned by Northstar
Travel Media, which also publishes Travel
In part, this is because a greater number
The newest way consists of a class
of websites that promise consumers
discounts by having hotels bid against
each other to force room prices down. But
analysts suspect that the model might have
been created on the assumption of a desper-
ate hospitality industry saddled with lots of
excess inventory and flagging rates.
Back in 1889, Mark Twain famously observed that there was
“more than one way to skin a
cat.” Today’s analogy might well
be ways to book a hotel room
on the Internet: There appear to
be about a thousand of them.
Guestmob and Montreal-based BackBid
have all launched within the past six months.
All say they can beat prices offered by hotel
websites and online travel agencies (OTAs)
like Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity by
having participating hotels engage in a bidding process to unload unsold inventory at
the last minute.
TripAdvisor launched March 21. It
claims to be the first booking site that
automatically rebooks a reservation at
a lower price in the event that the published rate for a particular stay falls, then
refunds the difference to the customer.
Tingo, citing PhoCus Wright’s estimate
that OTAs booked $15.2 billion in U.S.
hotel reservations last year, estimated
that American travelers would have saved
almost $314 million in 2011 by using its
Meanwhile, Guestmob, which
launched last fall and now serves 20 markets, including New York, Los Angeles,
Then, Guestmob informs the customer
between one and six days prior to the stay
which hotel was booked. It claims its model
enables it to offer prices 20% to 50% lower