NYC-based First in Service Travel LTD (F1S), an independent travel agency that entered the Canadian marketplace immediately prior to the pandemic, says its bookings are up “dramatically” this year, eclipsing sales from the same period in 2019.
In a news release issued Tuesday (June 28), F1S noted the “unparalleled surge in demand” for travel over the last two years.
As a result, travel bookings to date for 2022 are up 25 per cent compared to pre-pandemic times, the company says.
Additionally, a cross-section of surveyed F1S travel advisors say that their individual books of business are “enjoying a renaissance this year,” particularly "as international travel soars."
“With all the pent-up demand for travel, especially within the luxury leisure segment, we are not surprised by our year-over-year increases or those far surpassing 2020, when the pandemic first devastated our industry,” stated Fernando Gonzalez, F1S’s CEO. “But as this year began, we never anticipated that our bookings to date would now soar past those prior to the pandemic in 2019.”
“Our 31-year-old agency is now on track to enjoy its best year yet, and we’re thrilled that our advisors are sharing in our success.”
Gonzalez said that while luxury leisure travel has led the recovery, F1S is also seeing positive momentum among its corporate and entertainment segments as they have mostly returned to pre-pandemic levels.
He said that despite some economic headwinds, including inflation, F1S expects all three segments to continue growing throughout the year.
Individual advisors are also reporting an increase in bookings.
Bookings are up
“We recently surveyed our advisors to see how they are faring individually. We were very pleased to find our advisors largely experiencing the same kind of boom as we have had company-wide,” Gonzalez stated.
“The results show that the overwhelming majority are experiencing significant growth in sales, particularly for international travel from both Canada and the United States.”
In the survey, First in Service advisors in Canada and the United States were asked to compare their international bookings for 2022 with each of the last three years, including pre-COVID 2019.
According to the results:
2022 vs. 2021 – 80% of advisors indicated that their bookings were up, with 65% saying they were “up significantly.”
2022 vs. 2020 – 80% of advisors characterized their bookings as up, with 75% saying they were “up significantly.”
2022 vs. 2019 – 60% of advisors labeled their bookings as up, with 40% saying they were “up significantly.”
Canada vs. United States – Canadian advisors were more likely than those in the U.S. to say their international bookings had increased over each of the last three years: 2021, 81.8% vs. 77.8%; 2020, 81.8% vs. 77.8%; and 2019, 63.6% vs. 55.6%.
In the same survey, Canadian and U.S. advisors were asked to compare their respective domestic bookings for 2022 with each of the last three years, including pre-COVID 2019.
According to the results:
2022 vs. 2021 – 55% of advisors indicated that their bookings were up, with 25% saying they were “up significantly.”
2022 vs. 2020 – 55% of advisors characterized their bookings as up, with 35% saying they were “up significantly.”
2022 vs. 2019 – 45% of advisors labeled their bookings as up, with 20% saying they were “up significantly.”
United States vs. Canada – U.S. advisors were much more likely than those in Canada to say their domestic bookings had increased over the last two years: 2021, 77.8% vs. 36.4%; 2020, 66.7% vs. 45.5%. However, advisors were nearly on par in comparing 2022 with 2019: 44.4% vs. 45.5%.
“Our advisors are emblematic of our ongoing growth and success. To put it simply, we would not be where we are at this point in the post-pandemic climate without them,” said Gonzalez.
“Similarly, we are humbled to hear how instrumental First in Service has been to our advisors’ recovery and renaissance, and we look forward to building on our mutual success together.”
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