The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has launched a new service fee training program designed to help agents better articulate the value they create for consumers, and both price and successfully market services fees.
The program, “Professional Fees – Strategies and Solutions,” was created by noted industry consultant Nolan Burris, and delves deep into the world of fee-based compensation, highlighting best practices and tips from agencies who have successfully established service fee revenue streams.
The course highlights the importance of “effective and compelling communication between travel advisors and clients,” in establishing consumer acceptance of agency professional fees, and provides “the building blocks of a successful communication strategy,” ASTA said in a press announcement.
The Professional Fees program costs $49 for ASTA members and $190 for non-members.
“Travel agents are much more than intermediaries – they’re trusted travel advisors, destination specialists, small business owners and human beings with extraordinary expertise in a complex landscape of travel options,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA president & CEO. “It is our hope that this new course will help them navigate the possibilities of their earning potential.”
Travel agents already enjoy a “trust premium” with the American traveling public, ASTA noted in a press statement and citing its 2017 research.
With close to 80 percent of consumers who have utilized agents recently saying that agents are looking out for them as opposed to suppliers, the organization feels more agents can be paid for their advocacy and trusted advisor status.
“As our past consumer research work has highlighted, consumers are more than willing to pay for good professional advice,” said Kerby. “While we appreciate the travel partners who understand the value that travel agents provide, it’s important now more than ever to ensure that travel advisors understand the value that they provide.”
The course materials consist of a video of approximately one hour in duration, a detailed workbook with exercises, a 45-question exam and a downloaded spreadsheet to help agency owners or managers with the critical calculations needed to determine profitable fee amounts.
The course can be taken stand-alone or as part of ASTA’s comprehensive Verified Travel Advisor certification program.