As the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) continue to represent the travel trade in the current battle inside the halls of Congress, agency groups and consortia are throwing their weight behind the organization, coming together in one voice to help secure industry relief during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
ASTA is currently pressing Congress for $7.7 billion in grants, and $6 billion in loans, immediate income replacement relief for travel advisors, President and CEO Zane Kerby said on Monday’s webinar update, saying that the industry is “suffering from a once in a generation demand crisis and market failure.”
Travel agency groups and consortia, already dealing with keeping members informed about the ongoing pandemic, have been pushing its members to make their voices heard in Congress, helping to broadcast ASTA’s message across the industry.
“It is incumbent that all leadership in travel agency organizations stand with ASTA,” Rick Mazza, president and CEO of American Marketing Group brands that include TRAVELSAVERS, NEST and the Affluent Travel Collection.
“We have to be able to speak in one voice to government leaders and stand united or we’re going to fail our agency and advisor members. ASTA should be that voice,” he added.
Mazza, who has been in the industry for more than 50 years, called his Senators himself this week on behalf of the members across AMG’s brands and for all members of the advisor community in the U.S. TRAVELSAVERS’ leadership teams are making calls to both its agents and suppliers to drum up support for ASTA’s mission, along with sending out a call to action on social media and its agent extranets.
Signature Travel Network told TMR that it “knows that ASTA’s effort and the joint support of all consortia are critical to the future success of all our members.”
“We are giving ASTA our full support in every way possible,” a spokesperson told TMR.
Signature President and CEO Alex Sharpe recognizes what ASTA is doing and how Signature members can “help amplify these efforts on his weekly webinars, our closed member Facebook groups and on our public social media page.”
Signature members have been contacting their representatives in Congress and staying up to date on “ASTA's daily herculean efforts.”
Ensemble CEO David Harris has been doing the same, calling on Ensemble members to put their weight behind ASTA in his reference weekly CEO message.
Harris also urged all of its members to participate in ASTA’s “Call-Your Legislator” campaign to help “preserve our side of the industry” in a letter issued to its U.S. members this week.
“If we are going to have any impact, there is no more time to discuss actions – we must take them now,” Harris wrote. “It’s up to each of us to do our part. We are a strong community, and I’m confident that if we speak with a unified voice and harness our collective power, we can get some kind of relief.”
Aside from its own crisis center plan that it says will “our members with the tools they need to navigate this rapidly changing travel landscape,” Virtuoso is also getting behind ASTA, Cheryl Bunker, the group’s vice president of global member partnerships told TMR.
“Virtuoso is communicating with both its members and its legislators to reach out to their legislators for support of the industry during this challenging time,” Bunker said.
That include network-wide calls with advisors on key topics to help them address client concerns and navigate the outbreak; and weekly e-newsletters tailored for our various constituents from Virtuoso’s Matthew Upchurch.
ASTA’s latest messaging includes its new “Together in Travel” messaging that can be found on its website. The website includes some social media tools that advisors can use on all of their social channels.
ASTA has has also set up a portal on its website to allow advisors to easily contact members of Congress and the White House.
*American Market Group is the owner of Travel Market Report.