The travel market is slowly coming back from historic lows experienced during the Great Recession. And specific segments of the population are spending more on leisure travel than others. To reach these consumers, travel agents will need to roll out key services.

The Travel Gold Rush report published by Amadeus finds that U.S. consumers are showing a keen interest in traveling overseas. These adventurers also want experiences. They’re not only interested in viewing the  international sights through a bus window, they want to go out and participate in the local culture. The most striking detail about this report is the focus on older consumers, those age 50+, who are spending the most money on leisure travel.  Data indicates that the average senior trip extends to 12 days but many in this age group, especially those who do not work full-time, will spend 16 days on an excursion. This trend can add up to plenty of fees for agents who position themselves as experts.

Analysts also see a fragmentation in the market. Consumers are willing to spend heavily to go on a safari or a sailing expedition. In some cases, these travelers want to purchase low-cost airfare but then stay in luxury resorts. In other cases, travelers understand they are venturing into countries with less-developed infrastructures and they’re seeking authentic adventures. These destinations, while attractive, represent the great unknown, and make the travelers more likely to rely on their agents.

As a result, F2F (face to face) travel agents have an opportunity to present themselves as lifestyle managers. Agents can become experts in a particular region and culture and set up unique vacations for their clients. As more older consumers seek unusual travel experiences in distant locations, travel agents can tap into this lucrative market.

[Source: The Travel Gold Rush. Amadeus.com. 2011. Web. 11 Jul 2011]