Signature Travel Network has announced the results of its "State of the Market Survey", which reveals the membership's perspective on current business trends, as well as a forecast of the industry's future.
The survey found that nine out of 10 members are feeling optimistic about the state of the travel industry right now.
Eighty-one percent of members agree being a "Specialist with Niche Positioning" will be a "very viable" business model in five years. Eighty-six percent agree that the ability to charge service fees will be "very" or "critically significant" to their business in five years. Also, three out of four members agree that mobile services will be "very" or "critically significant" to their business in five years.
Twenty-six percent of the surveyed members indicate that groups account for more than 25% of business; additionally, 58% of members believe groups to be one of the greatest opportunities for the future. One-third of the members say the typical lead-time on a booking is two to three months before departure, with 80% of business conducted via email, on the phone, or most often both.
Meanwhile, the average staff breakdown includes: 47% full time, 16% part time, 37% independent contractors.
Signature's "State of the Market Survey" was conducted by Signature Travel Network in August 2012, and includes responses from 90% of member owners.
Signature Travel Network is a member-owned, travel cooperative, headquartered in Marina del Rey, California, with a regional office in New York City. The network was established in 1956 and today includes 214 member agencies with 414 retail locations throughout US and Canada. Collectively, its members generate over $5 billion in annual travel sales.