U.S. Travel Agency Air Ticket Sales Increase 175% Year Over Year in September


ARLINGTON, Va.–()–Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) today released data showing ARC-accredited travel agency air ticket sales increased 175% year over year in September 2021. The consolidated dollar value of tickets sold by agencies in September totaled $3.2 billion, up from $1.2 billion in September 2020 and edging slightly higher compared to the August 2021 total.*

Month over month, September 2021 international trips and total trips increased by 3% and 1%, respectively. U.S. domestic trips increased less than 1%.

“Historically, we expect sales and total trips to decline month over month in September,” said Steve Solomon, vice president of global sales, marketing operations and customer experience at ARC. “This year, month-over-month sales started to decline between July and August due to travel restrictions triggered by the delta variant. We’re encouraged to see that decline leveling off, and ticket sales and trip numbers improving with the news of international travel to the U.S. becoming easier for vaccinated travelers beginning in November.”

Total passenger trips settled by ARC in September 2021 increased 103% year over year from 7.6 million to 15.4 million. U.S. domestic passenger trips increased 98% to 11 million YOY. International passenger trips increased 115% to 4.4 million over the same period. The average U.S. round-trip ticket price increased to $390 in September 2021, up from $343 in September 2020.

Year over year, September 2021 EMD sales increased 186% to $6,577,935. EMD transactions increased 142% to 133,179.**

More detailed information is available on ARC’s sales statistics page. Additional breakdown of corporate, leisure and online ticket sales can be found on the ARC COVID-19 data page.

About ARC:

As a leader in air travel intelligence and omnichannel retailing, ARC provides platforms, tools and insights that help the global travel community connect, grow and thrive. ARC enables the diverse retailing strategies of its customers by providing innovative technology, flexible settlement solutions and access to the world’s most comprehensive air transaction dataset. In 2019, ARC managed more than $97.4 billion in transactions between airlines and travel agencies, representing more than 302 million passenger trips. For more information, please visit arccorp.com.

Notes for Editors:

*Ticket Sales

  • Results are based on monthly sales data ending September 30, 2021, from 10,921 U.S. retail and corporate travel agency locations, satellite ticket printing offices and online travel agencies. Results do not include sales of tickets purchased directly from airlines.
  • The average ticket price (USD) is for a round-trip ticket settled through ARC for an itinerary that included only U.S. domestic travel.
  • Passenger trips include the total number of passengers taking a trip from one airport to another using direct or connecting flights. Newly issued trips are added, and refunded trips are deducted to provide a net view of traveling passengers.
  • U.S. domestic passenger trips include the total number settled through ARC where the itinerary is wholly within the U.S. International passenger trips include the total number settled through ARC where some or all the travel occurs to airports outside the U.S. or originates outside the U.S.
  • Total sales are equal to the total amount paid for a ticket, which includes taxes and fees.

**Electronic Miscellaneous Documents (EMD)

  • Includes fees for products and services such as upgraded seats, checked bags, an unaccompanied minor, pet-in-cabin, etc.

© Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC). All rights reserved.



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Rosewood appoints former Google exec to head global sales


Lucy Werner
Lucy Werner

Rosewood Hotel Group has appointed Google executive Lucy
Werner to the newly created role of SVP of commercial, overseeing global sales
and marketing, revenue management and digital performance marketing across all
regions of the company’s five brands, Rosewood announced.

Werner has more than 20 years of global experience in
business development, digital, sales and operations. She previously served as
head of cloud for Google Hong Kong, and held senior leadership positions at
Spruce Media, adBrite and JP Morgan. She assumes her new role on 1 November
2021.

In addition, Caroline MacDonald will transfer from her
position as group VP of sales and marketing, distribution and business
performance to SVP of operations for the Americas. She begins her new role in
January 2022.



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Texas border sees bump in sales tax revenues despite COVID-19 travel restrictions


McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Despite Title 42 travel restrictions still in effect on the Southwest border, sales tax revenue figures for border cities and counties within Texas increased in August almost border-wide and that means more money for border communities this month, according to new data released by the Texas Comptroller’s office.

Sales tax allocations for October, which are based on sales tax revenue from August, show cities and counties statewide will get a revenue increase of about 20%. But on the border, most cities will receive an even bigger increase because of a bump in sales taxes during August.

That’s encouraging news for border communities that have suffered under travel restrictions — imposed in March 2020 under the Trump administration and extended through the Biden administration to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

From El Paso, in West Texas, to the Gulf Coast city of Brownsville, border cities, on average had a 23% increase in sales tax revenues in August, the Texas Comptroller reported this week. Some border sales tax allocations include:

  • McAllen is getting a 23% increase from August 2020 and will receive $6.3 million, up from $5.2 million.
  • Laredo: A 23.4% increase and getting $3.9 million, up from $3.2 million.
  • Brownsville: A 23% increase and getting $3.95 million, up from $3.2 million.
  • Presidio: A 36% increase and getting 41,066, up from $30,111.
  • Eagle Pass: A 22.8% increase and getting $445,291, up from $362,445.
  • El Paso: A 16.5% bump and receive $9 million, up from $7.7.
  • Roma, in Starr County: A 3.7% increase and getting $114,134, up from $110,056.

There were some exceptions, however.

The South Texas city of Del Rio had only a 1% increase in sales tax revenue in August. However, that number is expected to greatly increase for September sales tax figures because that is when thousands of law enforcement and federal agents, journalists and volunteers descended upon the remote border town as a caravan of mostly Haitian migrants camped under the international bridge and brought worldwide attention to the city with a population of just 35,000.

ABOVE LEFT: An estimated 15,000 migrants, mostly Haitians, camped under the Del Rio International Bridge, as seen from atop the bridge on Sept. 17, 2021. RIGHT: A National Guardsman patrols the entrance to the bridge on Sept. 17, 2021. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report File Photos)

Rio Grande City in Starr County saw a decrease of 5% in sales tax figures, which some attribute to Operation Lone Star, a program in which Gov. Greg Abbott has surged hundreds of Texas troopers to border communities to combat a surge in migrants.

Starr County Judge Eloy Vera earlier told Border Report that the presence of added troopers deters some residents from venturing to shop because many are low-income and have older vehicles, some not in compliance with state laws, and they don’t want to risk getting a ticket.

An examination by Border Report of tickets issued by Department of Public Safety troopers and other law enforcement found a disproportionate number of citations issued in Starr and Hidalgo Counties due to the increase in state troopers.

On Sept. 20, Abbott announced a $100 million grant program affiliated with Operation Lone Star to border communities to help enhance security as well as funds to border communities.

“This program will strengthen our response to the crisis at the border and help keep our communities safe,” Abbott said in a statement.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is surrounded by nine other governors on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, at Anzalduas Park in Mission, Texas, on the banks of the Rio Grande. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report)

During a visit to the Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday, along with nine other governors from across the nation, Abbott reiterated his support for Operation Lone Star and said Texas communities are bearing the fiscal brunt of border security, which he calls a federal responsibility.

“Texas and other states are taking action to do the federal government’s job,” Abbott said.

The state had applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for emergency funds citing the border crisis but was rejected by the Biden administration. On Thursday, Abbott sent a letter to President Biden to appeal the denial of funds.





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Another effect of the pandemic: rising travel insurance sales | News







Another effect of the pandemic: rising travel insurance sales

A recent survey from AAA finds that people are more likely to consider travel insurance because of COVID-19.






Another effect of the pandemic: rising travel insurance sales

Planning a trip or traveling, in general, has looked a lot different since the pandemic hit. One effect of the pandemic is that more people are opting to insure their trips. Some insurance providers have even started offering plans that cover losses because of covid-19 or other epidemic diseases. The survey from triple a showed that about one-third of travelers say they’re more likely to buy insurance for their trips planned between now and the end of next year, specifically because of COVID.






Another effect of the pandemic: rising travel insurance sales

“With everything going on, and really any time we always recommend the insurance because you never know what could happen. There are little things that could happen the day of that you’re traveling that you’d never expect and you can’t count on that, you, unfortunately, don’t control those kinds of things. It’s always a good idea to have that peace of mind that you’ve got some protection for your trip.”

AAA advises people to look into insurance policies that include a cancel for any reason component, and also to make sure you’re aware of any travel restrictions and requirements.

 Copyright 2021 by Lima Communications Corporation. All rights reserved.





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Cracker Barrel sales down during delta-related slowdown


Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. reported slower-than-anticipated sales performance during the fourth quarter of 2021 ended July 30, with same-store sales down 6.8% compared to the same quarter in 2019. CEO Sandra Cochran points to a sluggish summer travel season impacted by the delta variant as a major proponent of these lagging quarterly results, as well as staffing challenges and customer preference for pricier special occasion dining over family dining occasions.

But even though Cracker Barrels’ results were not where they thought they’d be, company performance was boosted by retail sales up 18.2% and the surprising positive results of the Maple Street Biscuit Company, which Cracker Barrel purchased in 2019, reporting AUVs of $1.2 million per store.

“This past year was one of the most challenging and are more than 50-year history,” Cochran said during Tuesday’s quarterly earnings call. “For years leading up to the pandemic, Cracker Barrel outperformed the industry by leaning into our core competitive advantages, including our authentic experiential brand, our culture of hospitality in our homestyle, food and retail assortments, we remain focused on these core strengths. And we believe they’ll continue to drive long term success and outperformance of our brand.”

Cochran emphasized that like many restaurants, the core of their challenges had a lot to do with understaffed restaurants, which were especially felt on the weekends as some stores did not have enough staff to serve the increased crowds of guests. Right now, she said, they’re focused on training of new employees and retention to ensure that labor challenges don’t get worse.

Not surprisingly, off-premises performance was up 108% for the company since the same quarter in 2019, attributable to the change in consumer habits since the pandemic. Cochran emphasized that digital sales and takeout will continue to be an area of growth for the company.

“The work we did to enhance our digital systems and launch our digital store was foundational not only to our continued growth in off premise, but also to improving the frequency of visits from the core users of the brand,” she said during Tuesday’s call. “This work provides us with the technological infrastructure and rich guest data to drive additional guest frequency in fiscal ’22, including increased personalization and customization in our digital marketing in the introduction of a loyalty program.”

Cochran said that they will be soon launching a loyalty program, with a test pilot coming in the second half of the year.

Looking forward, Cracker Barrel hopes to open 15 more Maple Street Biscuit Company locations over the next year and begin a revamp of Cracker Barrel’s breakfast menu, just as lunch and dinner were evolved to match consumer’s changing tastes.

They also mentioned a continued rollout of the Cracker Barrel virtual brand — Chicken and Biscuits — which added another 100 locations this summer and will have 500 locations by the end of the first quarter of 2022. Cracker Barrel will also be launching a second virtual brand called Pancake Kitchen, with plans to roll out 100 locations in fiscal year 2022.

Cracker Barrel reported a total revenue of $784.4 for the fourth quarter, essentially flat compared with the same quarter in 2019. Net income was $36.4 million or $1.53 earnings per share, up 45% from $25.1 million or $1.05 the same quarter the year prior.

Cracker Barrel ended the fourth quarter with zero store openings, for a total of 701 Cracker Barrel and Maple Street Biscuit locations.

Contact Joanna at [email protected]

Find her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi

 





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Gauge on retail sales flat


U.S. retail sales stalled in April after a sharp advance in March when pandemic-relief checks provided millions of Americans with increased spending power.

The value of overall retail purchases was essentially unchanged last month after an upwardly revised 10.7% gain in March that was the second-largest in records back to 1992, Commerce Department figures showed Friday.

The total value of retail sales was a record $619.9 billion in April.

While consumers may begin to shift more of their spending to services such as entertainment and travel as pandemic fears dissipate, elevated savings supported by fiscal stimulus should help underpin retail demand.

The question is whether consumers will continue to spend without stimulus checks. “The April retail sales tip the odds toward slower sales in the coming months,” said analysts at Contingent Macro Advisors.

[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage » arkansasonline.com/coronavirus]

Friday’s report comes amid other signs the economy is improving as vaccinations accelerate and business restrictions are relaxed. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 473,000, a new pandemic low. And consumer confidence hit its highest level last month since the pandemic began.

On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear a mask or social-distance outdoors and in most indoor settings, which may get more people to travel, eat out or shop.

Consumer spending, which makes up two-thirds of all economic activity in the U.S., is closely monitored by economists to gauge the nation’s economic health. Friday’s report covers a third of all consumer spending but doesn’t include services, like hotel stays or haircuts.

Eight of 13 retail categories registered declines in April sales, with the largest percentage decrease at clothing stores, which fell 5.1% after a 22.7% surge in March.

Sales at non-store retailers, which include e-commerce, fell 0.6% in April. General merchandise store sales fell 4.9% and the value of purchases at sporting goods outlets dropped 3.6%.

The value of restaurant receipts rose 3% after a 13.5% March gain as states across the country eased restrictions on indoor dining capacity.

Sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers climbed 2.9% in April, even as automakers faced production constraints due to the global semiconductor shortage.

So-called control group sales, which exclude more volatile categories including food services, car dealers and gasoline stations, dropped 1.5% in April after an upwardly revised 7.6% jump in March.

The pandemic substantially reshaped consumer behavior. Grocery store spending surged during the pandemic while restaurant revenue dropped. Apparel sales plunged as Americans canceled events, and spending on outdoor activities and home improvements soared. As vaccinations have picked up and warmer weather has taken hold, the retail industry has been waiting to see if spending will revert to its prepandemic levels.

The Easton Town Center, a popular open-air shopping center in Ohio, has been getting “close” to 2019 levels of foot traffic, though bad weather in April dampened some of its momentum, said Jennifer Peterson, the center’s chief executive. She said the center was planning to create summer attractions like a “prosecco plaza” and resuming events like concerts and movie nights with new adjustments like social distancing and masks.

“We’re thinking of this summer as kind of a relaunch of Easton, knowing that the pandemic has really put people’s mindsets in a different place,” Peterson said. “We want to bring them back with joyful activities.”

Retailers will continue to walk a tightrope in the coming months as they work to attract shoppers while creating a safe environment. The latest wrinkle came Thursday with the CDC’s new guidance for masks, saying that it is safe for fully vaccinated people to remove face coverings in most indoor settings.

Retailers, from individual chains to shopping centers, are still reviewing that guidance and figuring out what it could mean for employees and customers. The CDC’s declaration does not override mask orders from states, counties or cities. The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents thousands of grocery store workers, called the guidance “confusing” and said it failed to consider employees who regularly interact with unvaccinated, unmasked customers.

Information for this article was contributed by Olivia Rockeman of Bloomberg News (WPNS), by Joseph Pisani of The Associated Press and by Sapna Maheshwari of The New York Times.



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Retail sales were flat in April as stimulus spending waned


NEW YORK (AP) — Retail sales in the U.S. were flat in April after soaring in March, when many Americans received $1,400 stimulus checks that boosted spending.

The report Friday from the U.S. Commerce Department was worse than the 0.8% rise Wall Street analysts had expected. But it wasn’t all bad: March’s number was revised upwards to 10.7%. Americans started receiving a third round of stimulus checks that month, helping retail sales soar.

The question is whether consumers will continue to spend without stimulus checks. “The April retail sales tip the odds toward slower sales in the coming months,” said analysts at Contingent Macro Advisors.

Friday’s report comes amid other signs the economy is improving as vaccinations accelerate and business restrictions are relaxed. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 473,000, a new pandemic low. And consumer confidence hit its highest level last month since the pandemic began.

On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear a mask or social distance outdoors and in most indoor settings, which may get more people to travel, eat out or shop.

Consumer spending, which makes up two-thirds of all economic activity in the U.S., is closely monitored by economists to gauge the nation’s economic health. Friday’s report covers a third of all consumer spending, but doesn’t include services, like hotel stays or haircuts.

The report on Friday suggests Americans were heading out last month to eat instead of shop. Sales at restaurants and bars rose 3%. But sales fell at stores that sell clothing, sporting goods and furniture.



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Traxo Tabs Butler to Lead Global Sales


Off-channel booking capture provider Traxo has named former Upside Business Travel head of commercial sales Brian Butler to the newly created role of chief sales officer. Based in Washington, D.C., Butler will oversee Traxo’s global sales activities, including the company’s growing network of partnerships with other travel providers, and reports to Traxo CEO Andris Fabris. 

Butler has nearly two decades of experience leading sales, supplier relations and customer success functions at travel providers including Upside, Hertz and corporate travel management companies Radius and Adtrav. He most recently served as vice president of sales for marketing intelligence startup SalesIntel.

Traxo said it created the new role due to a “surge in demand” for the company’s off-channel booking capture solutions in light of an increased emphasis on corporate duty-of-care responsibilities as business travel returns amid Covid-19. 



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Consumer News: Gun sales hit new record, High travel demand leading to raised prices and more!


CNN– Gun sales are hitting new record highs. The FBI says they conducted more than 3.5 million gun related background checks in April. That marks a 20% increase over the same period in 2020. The National Shooting Sports Foundation says more guns were sold last month than any April on record. The reason for the spike? It’s thought to be fueled by fears of more gun control legislation and rising crime rates.

Face masks will be required for U.S. travelers until at least September 13. Last Friday, the Transportation Security Administration extended a mask mandate that was set to expire next month. The rule has been in effect since February 2. Since then, the TSA says its received reports of about 2,000 people violating the mandate.

Speaking of travel, experts say a record number of people are gearing up to go on vacation or visit their loved ones, but that demand is now raising prices whether you’re traveling on the road or in the skies. Mandy Gaither has details.





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US travel agency air ticket sales still in the red


  • US travel agency seven-day air ticket volume and other variances ending February 28, 2021
  • These totals represent sales generated by U.S. travel agencies and processed through the ARC settlement system
  • Results are based on weekly sales data ending February 28, 2021, from 11,089 U.S. retail and corporate travel agency locations, and online travel agencies

Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) today reported the following consolidated airline ticketing volume variances, compared to the same period in 2019. These totals represent sales generated by U.S. travel agencies* and processed through the ARC settlement system. Data figures are for the seven days ending February 28, 2021.

Tickets Issued for All Itineraries:

  7-Day Period Ending Ticket Variance
 vs. Same Week 2019
 Sales Variance
vs. Same Week 2019
February 7 -66.9% -81.5%
February 14 -66.5% -81.0%
February 21 -64.0% -79.9%
February 28 -58.9% -76.1%
52-Week Average** -73.4% -83.6%

Variances in Tickets Sold by Segment for All Itineraries:

7-Day Period Ending Corporate Online Leisure/Other
February 7 -86.1% -50.3% -70.1%
February 14 -85.7% -50.9% -69.2%
February 21 -84.7% -46.4% -67.8%
February 28 -83.0% -40.4% -62.9%
52-Week Average** -87.0% -62.6%  -75.0%

*Notes

  • Results are based on weekly sales data ending February 28, 2021, from 11,089 U.S. retail and corporate travel agency locations, and online travel agencies. Results do not include sales of tickets purchased directly from airlines and are not net of refunds or exchanges.
  • Total sales are equal to the total amount paid for a ticket, which includes taxes and fees.

**Additional Notes

The 52-week rolling average is the average ticketing volume and other variances over the last 52 weeks, ending with the most recent week, compared to the 2019 baseline numbers.



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