ASTA is rallying the travel industry to come together in “one voice” and follow its mission to give up the travel agent label and rebrand as travel advisors. In an open letter issued yesterday –signed by the major consortia/agency groups and endorsed by over sixty travel companies representing hotels, cruise lines, tour operators and more – the association challenged its industry colleagues to follow its rebranding initiative, begun in August 2018, and adopt the new term of “travel advisor.”
“Today’s travel agents are no longer mere booking intermediaries. They have become trusted advisors – akin to financial planners and CPAs – who make the overall travel experience better and provide both leisure and business travelers maximum value for their travel dollar,” the letter reads.
Recognizing a shift in terminology will require change on a nationwide level, the letter goes on to implore all industry stakeholders to speak with one voice when describing the retail travel business.
ASTA said: “We are encouraging our member companies, supplier partners, and anyone doing meaningful business through the travel advisor channel to add their name to the growing list of organizations that have made or are in the process of making the switch from ‘travel agent’ to ‘travel advisor’ in their consumer and trade communications.”
Support industrywide will be necessary to keep the term afloat and reach the consumer audience, according to Erika Richter, ASTA’s director of communications. “In order to increase our SEO, we need the industry to move the needle on the terminology in this direction. It’s so refreshing to see how many members and supporters are assisting us in our mission to elevate who travel advisors are and what they mean to the industry.”
Richter also announced that ASTA will be launching a new digital campaign in a few weeks that will specifically target consumers who are further down the search funnel but are actively seeking travel. Additionally, the association has enhanced its Travelsense.org website.
It was less than six months ago that ASTA began its rebranding and reorganization initiative, incorporating members of NACTA further into the parent organization and officially changing its name to the American Society of Travel Advisors.