The Hosted Travel Advisor Research Report Summary, 2023

September 30, 2023

The "Hosted Travel Advisor Report, 2023" covers a ton of ground! Beyond income and fees, HAR's research report takes fathoms-deep dives into operations, technology use, host agency relationships, demographics, and more. Whether you're an advisor, a supplier, an agency ally, or a host agency... there is something for everyone!

Here's a preview of the report's full Table of Contents so you can get a taste of what to expect in our 70+ page report.

The data from Host Agency Reviews' "The Hosted Travel Advisor Report, 2023" marks an industry milestone. Why? In a forward-focused industry, it's a joy to reflect on a year of momentum, picking up where the industry left off at the beginning of 2020 when travel agent income for hosted advisors hit a peak. Because while the report is released in 2023, the data is from 2022 which means agencies were still affected by the pandemic.

But hosted travel advisors are accelerating past a recovery mindset. Career satisfaction is high. Average income increased 42% over last year (and even more for full-time hosted advisors). Earnings for new advisors (≤2 years experience) were a quarter of their more experienced peers' (3+ years), which is fourteen points higher than last year. This indicates a flourishing career climate for hosted advisors at every stage of their career journey.

This article offers a high-level view of the latest hosted advisor trends offered in the full research report, which is chock full of pure data goodness!


Something for Everyone: How Travel Industry Professionals Can Use HAR's Data

There's a lot of data in our 70+ page research report. We have a few ideas on how you can leverage it to glean insights most relevant to your corner of the industry. Here's a few shortcuts with tips on how to use the report data depending on where you're positioned in the industry:

  1. Agency Owners
  2. Hosts & Consortia
  3. Suppliers, DMOs, and DMCs
  4. Travel Tech Companies


PUrchase the full report!

UPDATE: Advisors who took the survey will receive their complimentary copy of the report the week of Sept. 9th!


Agency Owners (SOLO & those with ICs and/or employees)

Agencies and their advisors are at the heart of HAR's "Hosted Travel Advisor Report, 2023." Regardless of the size of your agency—whether you're a solo advisor or have dozens (or hundreds) of ICs and/or employees—the report is rife with data for advisors at all stages of the game, from starting up to scaling big.

All solo advisors can:

  1. Benchmark personal sales and income against current averages, taking into account niche, experience, hours worked, and more
  2. Use the data to project future sales and income goals
  3. Gain an understanding of income potential (or average income) by niche and product
  4. See where your average sales per booking falls compared to the industry at large
  5. Make data-backed decisions on fee amounts by comparing to industry averages
  6. Use demographic and regional data to see what can set an advisor apart in terms of client reach
  7. Compare your host agency commission split to the latest industry standards
  8. Find the travel tech that most advisors are using
  9. and more!

In addition to all things listed above, new advisors can also:

  1. Gain an understanding of what to expect in terms of startup costs
  2. Uncover the typical earnings for your first few years in business
  3. Use the data to inform their business plan
  4. Use the data to help narrow down niche options based on income potential and market saturation
  5. Discover why advisors leave their host agency, using the info to help choose a host
  6. Compare your startup commission rates to industry standards
  7. and more!
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Additionally, agencies with ICs (or hoping to host or hire advisors) can:

  1. Benchmark personal income based on IC volume
  2. Benchmark sales per booking amounts based on product and niche trends
  3. Understand what technologies hosted advisors use, and when they use tools provided by their host agency versus supplying their own instead of (or in addition to) a host's tools
  4. See when advisors are most likely to switch hosts
  5. Learn when new advisors are most likely to start their business
  6. Compare your company's commission split against industry standards
  7. and more!



Hosts & Consortia

With the majority of hosted respondents (85%), our Hosted Travel Report 2023 is a treasure trove of information for host agencies and consortia alike. HAR's research report data can help host agencies and consortia in many ways:

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  1. Competitive intelligence (e.g. using the data to help clarify your unique selling point as a host agency to inform your marketing initiatives)
  2. Educating and onboarding your ICs and agencies (e.g. using the data to help inform/manage expectations when starting out or using a tool to help your advisors and agencies develop a business plan or growth plan )
  3. Informing your resource development for your advisors (e.g. offering a concrete guide to standard fees)
  4. Researching the latest startup trends
  5. Discover where the highest concentration of advisors resides to inform your outreach strategy
  6. Understanding how hosted advisors as a segment perceive host agency relationships to anticipate needs for new and experienced advisors alike
  7. Synthesize data on why advisors switch hosts to avoid unnecessary churn
  8. and more!

For host agencies, the "Hosted Travel Advisor Report" is a must-have. For consortia, we recommend the bundle which includes the "Hosted Travel Advisor Report, 2023" and the "Independent Travel Advisor Report, 2023."



Suppliers, DMOs, and DMCs

93% of new advisors chose the hosted route in 2022 making it the most popular pathway to starting a career as a travel advisor. In 2022, hosted advisors who took the survey generated 218,342 bookings for suppliers and 1.5 billion in sales. Yet, they are an elusive segment, difficult to track.

As a supplier, it's imperative to have a strong understanding of the fastest-growing segment of advisors: hosted advisors.

HAR's research report provides a rare opportunity for suppliers, DMOs, and DMCs to look at the latest trends in products and niches for this segment. Here's how your organization benefit from this report:

  1. Illustrates trends not only for hosted advisors overall but also for new advisors, offering suppliers insight into emerging trends distinct to those newest in the industry
  2. Find concrete data on the hosted advisor's growth potential
  3. Understand what technology hosted advisors use
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Additionally, the research report looks at product trends in myriad ways including:

  1. Income generated by primary niche
  2. Average sales per booking for top products
  3. Most common niche and products for advisors overall compared to new advisors
  4. Where hosted advisors are most strongly concentrated

The data offers opportunities to engage in competitive analysis, inform product development and marketing initiatives, guide competitive pricing strategies, and tailor your product offerings.

For suppliers, we recommend the bundle which includes the "Hosted Travel Advisor Report, 2023" and the "Independent Travel Advisor Report, 2023."



Travel Tech companies

This year we took a closer look at travel tech. In our technology section, professionals can learn from advisors' use of CRM, websites, booking engines, and itinerary builders. In this section, you can:

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  1. Learn about market share for the biggest travel tech play among a diverse cross-section of hosted advisors
  2. Learn what percentage of agents use booking engines, Websites, CRMS, and Itinerary Builders
  3. Learn the latest trends as to which products hosted advisors gravitated to in 2022

With this information, you'll be able to track product growth over time among different sectors as we continue to track trends in future surveys. It provides opportunities for competitive analysis, market share among hosted advisors, and more.

For tech companies, we recommend the bundle which includes the "Hosted Travel Advisor Report, 2023" and the "Independent Travel Advisor Report, 2023."


The Hosted Travel Advisor, 2023: Report Summary

This section is excerpted from the Introduction & Executive Summary of HAR's full report!

The data in HAR's Hosted Travel Advisor Report, 2023 reflects income earned and fees charged in 2022, a time of industry whiplash resulting from pent-up demand to travel coming to fruition after a near industry standstill. Surging travel demand in a post-shutdown travel environment aligned with soaring interest in utilizing travel advisor services.

In 2023, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) reported that 50% of travelers were more likely to use a travel advisor than in the past. Additionally, 27% of ASTA advisors reported that more than half of their travel clients were working with travel advisors for the first time.

Indeed, HAR's data reflect what industry leaders are seeing on the ground. The 2068 advisors who completed HAR's survey reported producing over 1.5 billion in sales, generating 218,342 bookings for suppliers in 2022.

Advisors are moving well beyond a recovery mindset. In a robust travel rebound environment, the income increases between this reporting year (2022) and the prior year (2021) are significant, with income increases above and beyond what would be considered "typical" in a pre-pandemic setting.

Of the 2068 total travel advisors who completed HAR's 2023 Travel Advisor survey, 85% were hosted advisors. Here's the hosted advisor segment at a glance:

The Hosted Travel Advisor Report, 2023 | Hosted Advisor Snapshot


Income on the Rise for Hosted Advisors Across the Board

How did hosted advisors fare? The big picture numbers for hosted advisors in 2022 reflect a rebound from COVID-impacted income lows.

Average annual sales (among all hosted advisors, including new advisors) landed at $464,064 in 2022, a 42% increase from the prior year. Average income jumped 26%, from $37,440 in 2021 to $47,179 in 2022. It's important to keep in mind that the average incomes and sales mentioned above are artificially deflated by the new advisors whose sales and income take a few years to build up.

The graph below illustrates the income profile for hosted advisors in 2022, comparing full-time and part-time average income by experience levels.

2023 Hosted Travel Advisor Income by experience


With few exceptions among the full-time segment, advisors earned more as they gained experience.

Looking at the experience ranges listed in the graph above, full-time advisors' average income increased at a higher rate as they gained experience compared to their PT peers, 24% compared to 17% respectively.

This offers a benchmark for advisors interested in tracking personal income gains as they move up HAR's income range categories.


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New Hosted Advisors Narrow the Income Gap in 2022

Let's talk new advisors.

The average annual sales for new advisors was $114,823, and the average income was $11,694. In 2022, new hosted advisors, those with ≤2 years experience, earned one-quarter of what their more experienced peers (those with 3+ years experience) banked.

This indicates a stronger start during the earlier stages of selling travel compared to last year when new advisor sales and income reached only 14% and 11% of their experienced peers respectively.

The leap in income gains between the 2nd-year advisors and those with 3-5 years is the most prominent, registering a substantial 53% income increase for FT advisors.

Because of the income differential between new and experienced hosted advisors, our full reports looks at each hosted segment individually when we reference income.

However, "HAR's 2023 Hosted Travel Advisor Report" extends well beyond the purview of income, fees, and demographics. The report looks at the data behind issues specific to hosted advisors including host agency relationships (satisfaction with hosts and commission trends), startup trends, technology use, and more.


Gratitude

Every person here at HAR has their hands in the creation of our survey reports! I like to think of our travel advisor reports as a geeky love letter to the travel advisor industry and the community that supports it!

The most critical part of our survey is the advisors who take the time out of their ridiculously busy schedules knee-deep in travel rebound bookings to take our survey. . . all 2068 of you! Our survey is in-depth and frankly, we don’t throw softballs. So thank you for busting out your P&Ls, 1099s, and/or digging into the recesses of your memories to contribute to the best industry data out there. You are the pillar of these reports (and keeper of our nerdy, nerdy hearts).

Want to participate in our survey next year? Would help to know that respondents receive a free copy of the report? You can sign up for our survey reminders here to make sure you know when our next one is live.

This report is not possible without our partners. We want to extend a colossal thank you to the industry partners who support our data shenanigans here at Host Agency Reviews: American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), Adventure Travel and Trade Association (ATTA), BranchUp, Celebrity Cruises, Dugan's Travels LLC, Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialist Association (DWHSA), Fora Travel, Gifted Travel Network, Independent by Flight Centre, KHM Travel, MAST Travel Network, Nexion Travel Group, Montecito Village Travel, Outside Agents, Pickles Travel Network, TaConnect, Travel Leaders Network, Travel Pulse, and Uniglobe Travel Center!

Want to add your name to this stellar list of partners? Drop a line at Mary@HostAgencyReviews.com and we’ll chat!

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