Why ASTA Matters: Agents Speak Out

by Harvey Chipkin

Not long before ASTA convened for the 2014 Global Convention, currently taking place aboard the Norwegian Breakaway, Travel Market Report asked member agents why they support ASTA and what the association means to them. Here’s what they said:

Uniting for common cause
“I am a proud member of ASTA because they are the only association that is fighting the travel industry fights. They are our voice to our local and federal government and have squashed bills that would have put many of us out of business.” – Betsy Geiser, Uniglobe Travel, Irvine, Calif.

“Only by uniting for common cause can we hope to influence legislation, reach policy makers, and improve our outcomes.” – Marc Casto, Casto Travel, San Jose, Calif.
“Whenever there is an issue that affects travel agents, whether it is airline, supplier, state or congressional, ASTA is there to represent our business interests. I am proud to say my agency is ‘ASTA Strong.’” – Heather Dolstra, CTC, Democracy Travel, Washington, D.C.

A business resource
“Membership in ASTA has allowed me to network with many important people in the industry. These connections have been very beneficial. ASTA helps my business and helps me stay in business. Just recently a new client found me on travelsense.org and booked a $12,000 honeymoon. The revenue from this one booking covers my ASTA dues for three years!” – Rick Ardis, Ardis Travel, East Rutherford, N.J.
“ASTA delivers critical research and analyzes the industry in a way that allows us to be more forward-thinking with our businesses. They bring us the big picture and help us prepare for the future. ASTA is our support. They provide me with resources that I frankly don’t have time, expertise and resources to gather on my own. I upgraded my membership many years ago to the Premium level. I see it as investment in this industry and an investment in my future. I wish more agents felt the same way.” – Mary Peters, CTC, Friendly Travel, Inc. Alexandria, Va.

Open to all
“ASTA is the only organization where every agent can belong, learn, contribute, grow and network with other agents. You can do all of this regardless of whether you are an owner, manager, leisure/corporate agent, brick and mortar, home-based, hosted, Vacation.com, TRAVELSAVERS, Nexion, Ensemble, etc.” – Kate Murphy, CTA/President, Wings Travel Group, Blue Bell, Pa.

Ensuring survival
“ASTA, more than ever, is fundamental for the survival of our agency and supplier communities. ASTA is the only association protecting the rights of travel professionals while promoting a healthy industry through advocacy and education. It’s the one entity shielding against those wishing for a travel environment in which consumers would have the single option of going direct. Our very survival depends on a viable and prepared ASTA.” – Jorge Sanchez, CTC, MENA Tours/American Express, Chicago
“As individual agencies, we could never accomplish what ASTA does for us by becoming ‘One Voice’ for all of us. I really cannot see us surviving without ASTA.” – Hope Wallace, CTC, ADA Travel, Casa Grande, Ariz.

Needs broader support
“It’s unfortunate that so many agents don’t support their industry’s association, yet we all benefit from their work. One of ASTA’s taglines is 'Without an agent you’re on your own.' Same goes for agencies without our national watchdog.” – Mary Peters, CTC, Friendly Travel

ASTA is the leading national organization that advocates for the entire travel industry and is so vital and necessary to ensure positive legislation proposals through its PAC committee and protecting the interests of travel agents on a daily basis. However for ASTA to continue to do this, it needs the support of all people in travel, by their committed annual membership.” – Ralph Vasami, Caprice Travel Agency, Hartsdale, N.Y.

Tip of the Day

Something could happen to any of us, the loved ones we travel with, or in this case, to the magnificent marvels put up by those who came before us. So we must travel as far and as often as time and money allow.

Stefanie Katz, The Travel Superhero

Daily Top List

Five Good Reasons to Tell Your Clients About Loyalty Programs

1. Saves money for your clients.

2. Saves time for your corporate clients.

3. Gets all sorts of perks for your clients.

4. Offers enhanced reporting to corporate clients.

5. Provides better service and better client relationships.

Source: TMR.


5 Good Reasons to Tell Your Clients About Travel Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs, also known as frequent buyer programs, have been around for a long time. But you might be surprised to know that many travelers don’t know about them. Here are five good reasons for travel advisors to spread the word to their customers, both leisure and corporate travelers.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Headquarter Happenings: MAST Travel Network Marks 50 Years
Headquarter Happenings: MAST Travel Network Marks 50 Years

As the industry blossoms, storytelling and one-on-one interactions bring a record number of travel advisors back to their Chicago roots.

Six Mistakes That Could Be Hurting Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
Six Mistakes That Could Be Hurting Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

As you build a social media following, learn how to sidestep the mindsets and actions that can put a damper on your success.

From One Million to Two in Travel Sales: How Advisors Can Jump the Hurdle
From One Million to Two in Travel Sales: How Advisors Can Jump the Hurdle

Research shows that the leap from $1 million to $2 million is among the toughest hurdles for travel advisors. So, take a little while to bask in your glory — and then try these proven ways to move to the next level.

How One Travel Advisor Staked Her Claim on Travel to France
How One Travel Advisor Staked Her Claim on Travel to France

Moving from a generalist to specializing in custom FIT and group trips to France is forcing Isabelle Williams to learn a whole new set of skills.

Going Platinum: Thoughts from Three Travel Advisors Celebrating 20 Years in Business
Going Platinum: Thoughts from Three Travel Advisors Celebrating 20 Years in Business

It was the year of 9/11, when the pundits were saying travel agents were a dying breed. But with over two decades in business, Vicki Briggs, Brenda Punchak and Cheryl Scavron have each proved them wrong.

Divers Need Travel Advisor Expert Guidance
Divers Need Travel Advisor Expert Guidance

The unique nature of diving destinations, and the physical danger clients could experience, make expert travel advisors invaluable. Part two of our two-part series.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Tropics and Exotics 2020 -2021 Collection