Of the agencies surveyed by ASTA
on their use of the Web, the majority ( 72.6%) reported generating less
than 10% of total sales from Web
Then there’s SureCruise.com,
which generates 100% of its business from the Web.
A cruise-only agency, SureCruise
.com is the online portal for its owners’ land-based agency, GoDifferent,
in Londonderry, N.H.
Cofounded in 1999 as 02Cruise
.com by Evan Eggers, a former Sabre executive, SureCruise.com is
among CLIA’s top 3% of cruise sellers by revenue. “Three weeks ago
[late August], we had the fourth-best week in the history of the company,” Eggers said.
Eggers touts the agency’s customized software, which he and his staff
built, as key to its success.
The newest innovation, the Cruise
Wizard feature, matches an individual’s personality to a particular ship.
Eggers said he plans to add budget
questions and eventually provide
ship and itinerary recommendations
personalized to the customer’s interests.
Although his site is high-tech,
Eggers said he has no problem
suggesting general technology to
Agents opening up
to value of Internet
By Jorge Sidron
hether at work or at home, ASTA members are using the Web
more than ever, with agency owners and managers spending
as much time online as frontline agents while at work, according to an ASTA study of its members’ use of the Internet.
During the past seven years, the
percentage of ASTA members who
subscribe to an Internet access provider or consumer online service
has increased steadily, with 100% of
ASTA agents surveyed saying they
had Internet access at work.
The most popular connection for
business use is DSL ( 62.7%), followed
by cable ( 19.5%) and T1 connection
( 13.5%). Only 3.4% of agencies are
still using dial-up access. ASTA said a
vast majority of its agents, 91%, also
have Web access at home, with DSL
( 37.5%) and cable ( 36.7%) preferred.
Almost 25% use dial-up at home.
Meanwhile, agency owners and
managers spend about the same
amount of time online at work as
their employees ( 27 hours vs. 25
hours). This year, owners/managers
and frontline agents reported spending about six hours more per week on
the Internet compared with 2005.
Agents were asked to list their favorite Web sites for such things as
searching for air fares, finding reviews
of travel suppliers and keeping up
with industry news. Among the favorites were Orbitz ( 14.4%), Expedia
( 10.9%) and Travelocity (10%) for
air fare searches; TripAdvisor ( 40.2%)
and Star Service ( 9.5%) for traveler
reviews of suppliers; ASTAnet ( 37.1%)
and Travel Weekly ( 21.5%) for industry news; and Google ( 56.5%) and Yahoo (20%) for general searches.
Heading the list of agents’ overall
favorite Web sites were TripAdvisor
( 9.9%), VAX Vacationaccess ( 7.1%),
Book TravelBound ( 4.7%) and
Google ( 4.3%).
Meanwhile, agents report using trav-
el supplier Web sites more than ever,
with 92% of ASTA agencies saying they
have booked directly on a supplier’s
Web site without using their GDS or
calling the supplier’s toll-free number.
As the number of agencies that make
bookings on a supplier’s Web site increases, the
online bookings vs. overall
agency bookings is becoming increasingly significant,
ASTA said. On
agencies are 1999
booking 31.4% 17.7% 2000 31.5%
of their business online,
with about half
than 20% of
on the Web.
This last statis-
tic has grown
from 32% in
ASTA, among 0%
the most pop-
ular supplier sites are Vaxvacationac-
cess.com (14%), Applevacations.com
( 11.4%), Southwest.com ( 5.9%) and
Tours continue to be the No. 1
product booked online by ASTA
agencies, with 81% indicating having done so. About 78% of agencies
that have booked online report having used an airline Web site to make
a reservation, compared with almost
64% in 2001.
Evan Eggers, president, SureCruise.com
PHO TO BY MICHAEL MALONE Y/BLACK S TAR
agents who operate more traditionally, if their purpose is to help them
look professional and do some
advertising. That describes almost
71% of the ASTA agents surveyed,
who reported having their own site
(up from 67% in 2005) and using it
to provide basic information, such
as e-mail links to the agency and to
list areas of specialty.
Percentage of Respondents Who Have Booked
Directly on a Supplier Web Site
Types of Products Booked Online