Sometimes we have to look backward to see forward. Do you have a guess what the average price of an airline ticket purchased from our agency was in, say, 1995? [more]
If you guessed $442.92, you need to purchase a lottery ticket because you guess numbers amazingly well.
Any ideas what the average price of an airline ticket purchased from our agency was in 1998? It was $444.47. Ten years ago this number was $444.93. The peak year was 2000, when the average ticket was $497.35. In 2001, the average ticket was over $500 until September 11th.
In January 2009, this number was $426.32, a 2.24 percent decrease from last January, and a 3 percent decrease from all the way back to 1995. It is amazing that you can purchase an airline ticket today that is $71.03 less expensive than it was in the year 2000. This is a 14 percent drop! Can you think of any other product, other than computers, or any other service that is 14 percent less than it was nine years ago?
So if you really think about not traveling today to save money, it seems silly. It is now more economical to go out and see customers than it has ever been. Of our top 20 corporate accounts, only 2 accounts spent more on travel this January when compared to last January--and it is less expensive this January.
I certainly understand that everyone is watching every penny. But, considering what a value it is to travel today, why sit behind a desk and hope customers call? If you go out and look someone in the eye, they just might buy something from you. I will now step off the soapbox.
Robert Polk is CEO of Polk Majestic Travel Group in Denver. These insights are excerpted from Robert's weekly newsletter, From the Desk of Robert A. Polk.