Travel Agents Speak Out In Support Of ASTA, And It Returns The Favor

by Anna Gleksman  and  Cheryl Rosen
Travel Agents Speak Out In Support Of ASTA, And It Returns The Favor


ASTA last week launched a video campaign to promote all that travel agents do to help consumers, and the group’s continuing effort to advocate on behalf of agents in Washington. “ASTA Advocacy in Action” is posted on ASTA.org. 

“This is just the beginning,” ASTA vice president of communications Jennifer Michels Jones told TMR. “We’re hoping to do some interesting and fun videos, maybe a ‘A Day in the Life of a Travel Agent,’ to really explain to travelers what agents do, and how easy it is to work with one. I think sometimes consumers are a little afraid of the buyer/agent relationship.” 

Jones noted that ASTA also has revamped its consumer website, TravelSense.org, to make it easier for travelers to find an agent. The site sends sales leads directly to ASTA members who list their profiles there. “We want to push the message that it just makes sense to use a travel agent,” she said. 

In addition to this broader consumer awareness video project, James Shillinglaw, Travel Market Report’s editor at large, has been helping ASTA inform members and non-members on its vision for the future, such as in this one taped at the ASTA Premium Business Summit that explains ASTA’s consumer awareness efforts, among other things.

ASTA also is co-sponsoring a video contest for Canadian travel agents with Travel Market Report for TMR’s Travel Marketplace conference in Toronto on May 2-3. The travel agent who submits the best best two-minute video on the theme “Without a Travel Agent You Really Are on Your Own” will win a cruise for two on Norwegian Cruise Line, and the runner-up will win Big Bark personalized promotional materials plus $1,000CAD in printing services.

Consumer research
Also in the works at ASTA is consumer research to better understand the buying patterns and decision-making process customers go through before booking trips. Sponsored by Carnival Corporation for the third year in a row, the research is designed to give ASTA members a better sense of trends in the industry.  

And finally, coming to stands next month in the June issue of Oprah’s O Magazine, is an article highlighting ASTA’s “without a travel agent you’re on your own” tagline. The magazine reaches 2.3 million consumers. 

Agents agree on the importance of joining
ASTA members are supportive of the organization, and some are downright passionate about the importance of the association.  

“If you are serious about the business, you need to take an interest in ASTA,” said Toni Lanotte-Day, president of Toni Tours Inc. in Levittown, NY, and a member of the ASTA National Board of Directors and Northeast Regional Director for NACTA. “Agents need to stop riding on the coattails of other members who pay to join ASTA to get things done. You can’t be a realtor in New York State unless you are a member of a trade association, and it really should be the same way for professional travel agents.” 

Lanotte-Day noted the new reduced membership that ASTA is offering independent contractors—just $199, “and you get all the benefits and voting privileges. It’s less than $20 a month and you can write it off your taxes,” she said. “We’re hoping it will drive those who are undecided to join.”  

It worked with Helen Prochilo, travel expert at Promal Vacations in Long Beach, NY, who was a member of NACTA but not ASTA until the new rate drew her in. 

“I joined a few years ago and then I stopped going because I felt I just couldn’t afford it, but the $199 was a reasonable rate and I signed back up,” she said. “I’m happy to be supporting ASTA, and it’s interesting to hear [ASTA president] Zane Kerby talk about how ASTA has just four lobbyists” in Washington standing up for travel agents, while the airlines and cruise lines have so many more.

  0
  0
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Best New York Pizzerias According to Reviews

1. SottoCasa Pizzeria

2. Song’ e Napule Pizzeria

3. Juliana’s Pizza

4. Numero 28 Pizzeria

5. San Matteo Pizza Espresso Bar

Source: TripAdvisor

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=dab35eef-ff9e-e811-853f-782bcb667b27

FOMO Strikes Again! Yep, They Booked It Without You

Should you resist the temptation to unfriend or confront them? Hear the advice of agents who have been there and know how best to handle these unfortunate, but all-too-common scenarios.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Millennials Seek Safety and Convenience for Family Vacations
Millennials Seek Safety and Convenience for Family Vacations

The search for simplification leads one out of three Millennials with children to work with a travel agent to plan their vacation.

How to Become a Travel Agent: A Guide for the Perplexed
How to Become a Travel Agent: A Guide for the Perplexed

Selling travel is not all about free trips — but the hard work can pay off in a career that is rich in adventure and personal relationships, if you start off right.

ASTA Rebrands and Reorganizes, Drawing NACTA and Smaller Members in Closer
ASTA Rebrands and Reorganizes, Drawing NACTA and Smaller Members in Closer

The NACTA name will go away as members are folded more into the mainstream of its parent organization, and ASTA rebrands from “Agents” to “Advisors.”

For Special Needs Travelers, Travel Agents Can Make All the Difference
For Special Needs Travelers, Travel Agents Can Make All the Difference

Accessible travel is on track to soon account for 25 percent of the overall travel market, as aging Baby Boomers with disabilities retire — and they have the desire and the money to travel.

From Retainers to Hourly Billing, Two Travel Agents Outline Fee Models
From Retainers to Hourly Billing, Two Travel Agents Outline Fee Models

Some are just beginning to charge fees, while young professionals like Kathleen Sullivan say an annual retainer, covering all of a client’s trips for 12 months, are the key to the future for travel agents.

Abercrombie & Kent Introduces Three New Itineraries for 2019
Abercrombie & Kent Introduces Three New Itineraries for 2019

The tour operator's new Small Group Journeys were created for intimate groups of no more than 18 guests and cater to luxury travelers’ desire for cultural immersion and insider access.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Norwegian Cruise Line