The first three months of 2011 have been an exciting time at ASTA. In January, ASTA welcomed a new CEO, Tony Gonchar. Gonchar came to ASTA with more than 25 years of travel industry experience, most recently as the executive v.p. of sales and marketing atVirtuoso and previously at Expedia, where he ran its private label and branded partnerships division. Then in February, ASTA’s Premium members gathered in Las Vegas for the 2011 ASTA Premium Business Summit where they heard from the industry’s leading executives on trends affecting the industry and their businesses. Next month, ASTA’s unique on-location destination training program, the International Destination Expo, will take travel agents to Puerto Rico where they will receive in-depth destination and marketing education unlike any other. Each and every day, ASTA members continue to benefit from a wide array of programs and tools to help them run their businesses more efficiently and gain new business.
Expand Your Customer Base Travel agent members of ASTA have the opportunity to showcase their expertise to consumers and access free consumer leads through their profile on the “Find a Travel Agent Directory” on ASTA’s consumer website—TravelSense.org. Meanwhile, the member–to-member directory onASTA.org makes it possible to find new vendors, as well as view member’s locations, areas of expertise and other demographics.
“My listing in ASTA’s travel agent directory has been a great source for finding new clients,” says Samira Platter, Travel Partners, Denver, CO. “It only took a few minutes to update my profile, and I was able to promote myself to thousands of consumers.” She adds, “What I wrote about myself led to a $30,000 5-cabin cruise sale—an ROI that was eight times my annual dues.”
There are also a number of online resources to connect you to other members and consumers. ASTA’s LinkedIn group, for instance, has over 1,045 members already connected. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can also keep you connected to consumers and other members.
Members also get access to exclusive members-only business-to-business offers through ASTA’s WebExchange. This free service allows you to advertise your products and services to ASTA members across the globe.
Stay Informed With Industry Happenings ASTA members have a variety of ways of keeping up-to-date with what’s going on in the travel world. Twitter followers receive regular industry news and updates on ASTA’s lobbying, government relations and political activities, and specials from tour operators of ASTA’s TOP program. Additionally, members can sign up for free daily e-newsletters that sum up all the breaking news headlines, international travel news, up-to-the-minute stories from leading news sources and developments impacting the tourism industry.
Enhance Your Professional Standing Using ASTA’s logo shows your value and integrity to consumers and suppliers. ASTA receives inquiries every day about the validity of members. ASTA’s logo verifies your company to consumers and shows you are a reputable business.
Get More ASTA’s Premium Membership program is tailored to fit the needs of your agency. Join this elite group to gain access to numerous Premium-only benefits and to show your support of ASTA and its mission to protect the travel agency community. ASTA is the only association lobbying on behalf of the travel agency industry at the state and federal levels, and to remain effective in our mission, we need your support.
Benefits of the ASTA Premium Membership include the ability to communicate with ASTA’s senior level advisors, the use of a personal relationship manager, full unlimited access to industry and legal affairs teams, debit memo and collection assistance, and exclusive access to executives from top travel agencies and TMCs, consortia, franchise groups, and online travel agencies atPremium-only events.
“ASTA helped find a pathway to a solution on a debit memo issue that ended up saving us over $7,500,” says Rebecca Martin, A & I Travel, Memphis, TN. “We couldn’t have accomplished this without ASTA’s help.”
For more information on becoming a member of ASTA, visit asta.org.