NEW YORK — First in Service Travel is reporting an unparalleled surge in demand for travel, with bookings to date for 2022 now eclipsing those from pre-pandemic times.
According to newly released data, F1S is seeing a 25% increase in travel bookings so far this year over the same period in 2019. In addition, a cross-section of surveyed F1S travel advisors say that their individual books of business are seeing a renaissance this year, particularly as international travel rebounds.
“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,” said Fernando Gonzalez, F1S Chief Executive Officer. “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.”
New York-based F1S, considered one of North America’s largest independent travel agencies, celebrated its expansion into Canada earlier this year with the grand opening of a Toronto office. In an exclusive interview with Travelweek, Gonzalez laid out plans for further expansion by year’s end, in Montreal and Vancouver.
With today’s news, Gonzalez also noted that while luxury leisure travel has led the recovery, F1S is also seeing momentum for its corporate and entertainment segments, both of which have mostly returned to pre-pandemic levels. He said that despite some economic headwinds, including inflation, F1S expects all three segments to see continued growth throughout the year.
Individual advisors seeing increased bookings
F1S recently surveyed its advisors to see how they are faring individually. According to Gonzalez, advisors are largely experiencing the same kind of boom as the company.
“The results show that the overwhelming majority are experiencing significant growth in sales, particularly for international travel from both Canada and the United States,” he says.
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 labelled 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%)
Domestic bookings for 2022
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 v. 2020: 55% of advisors characterized their bookings as up, with 35% saying they were “up significantly”
- 2022 vs. 2019: 45% of advisors labelled 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,” added Gonzalez. “To put it simply, we would not be where we are at this point in the post-pandemic climate without them. 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.”
For more information on joining F1S, email fernando@F1S.com.