Yes, size matters
The diversity among sellers of travel has become so great that he Travel Weekly Power List, which for more than 20 years has ranked which companies sell the greatest volume of travel- related products, has evolved into a listing that contains not just apples vs. oranges, but apples vs. oranges, huckleberries, kum-
quats, dragonfruit and purple mangosteens.
or economic uncertainty.
But given the sheer number of factors
that can challenge an intermediary that
sells travel, we feel safe in predicting that
the big will continue to get bigger, and ev-
ery business that can will work to increase
scale. Being big helps; it’s much more likely
that an agency will disappear from the list
after being absorbed by a larger agency
than fall off due to dropping sales. Though
not an ironclad insurance policy, scale is
When compiling the list, we’re not fussy
about what business model companies use;
AAA (No. 9) makes far more money selling
insurance than it does selling travel.
You’ll find incentive houses, loyalty marketers, group and meetings specialists, discounters, rebaters and
Side by side on the list are
CheapCaribbean.com (No. 24)
and luxury specialist Valerie
Wilson Travel (No. 25). No. 29,
Global Crew Logistics, sells almost exclusively to aviation and
maritime crews. Some listees rely
on self-booking tools, others on
Power List companies are privately held and publicly held, family businesses and the brainchildren of entrepreneurial MBAs. Most of the companies are
American-born, but others originated in
Asia, Australia, Europe or Canada.
Every year, Travel Weekly discovers po-
tential new entrants that challenge our
assumptions about how travel is sold and
force us to look at our rules afresh. Tech-
nologies that enable third-party sellers and
white-label sites have led us to double-
check just who, exactly, is the true agency
of record, from the supplier’s point of view,
and thus earns the right to claim credit for
FROM THE WINDOW SEAT
There is one question about travel sales
that the Power List can’t answer: How are
smaller agencies that are unaffiliated with
Power List businesses doing?
In separate research that Travel Weekly
conducts, we’ve found that the average sales
for individual travel sellers (whose totals
might or might not ultimately be included
in Power List sales figures, depending upon
their affiliation) moved up from about $3
million to $5 million over the past decade,
with most growth showing up at the book-end sides of the business, i.e., small home-based agencies and ones above $10 million.
Our conclusion: Size matters. In travel,
the middle ground tends to be rough territory.
Email Arnie Weissmann at aweissmann@
travelweekly.com and follow him on Twitter