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ASTA Changes Member Benefits and Dues StructureNovember 14, 2012 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
ASTA has announced changes to its dues structure—the first since 2008—that ASTA says is necessary in order to allow ASTA to expand upon its industry advocacy efforts and continue to deliver benefits to members. Member dues - ASTA's primary revenue source - will increase slightly but offer greater representation.
“This new model, which comes as the result of in-depth member research, takes a balanced approach to the financial contribution of each agency and brings ASTA’s pricing practices in line with those of most other trade associations. We found that the value of ASTA membership supports a dues change, and felt that it is the right move to keep ASTA going forward," said Nina Meyer, ASTA president and chair.
The move was approved by ASTA’s Board of Directors with a unanimous vote for a change to its US Travel Agency member structure. ASTA said the move will extend ASTA’s benefits to all member agency employees and changes Travel Agency members’ dues from a flat-fee to a tiered structure based on sales volume.
Among the feedback ASTA said it received from members was: “I applaud the effort to revamp the membership dues. I like the idea of all of my agents having ASTA benefits for my one membership fee.” Another member said: “We would be paying $200 more but would only need one membership for our eight employees and owners. This works for us.”
The new plan will provide Travel Agency member employees with access to ASTA’s full range of online benefits and resources for travel agents, including a profile on ASTA’s consumer website TravelSense.org; invitations to Chapter events and the opportunity to serve on their chapter’s committees, ASTA said.
“This new dues plan seeks to equalize the playing field while allowing an even larger group of travel agents to take advantage of ASTA’s robust roster of benefits,” added Meyer. “We have worked hard to develop unparalleled programs and tools designed to help save our members time and money so they can focus on what is most important – selling travel.”
According to ASTA, the new tiered structure, agencies with sales of less than $5 million will see an increase of less than $20 and pay $295. Agencies with sales between $5 million and $10 million will pay $495. Those with sales between $10 million and $25 million will pay $695, while those with sales between $25 million and $35 million will pay $895; and those with sales between $35 million and $50 million will pay $1,295.
Agencies with sales greater than $50 million will have the option to become Premium members at the $2,500 rate. (The option of joining as an ASTA Premium member will remain for all travel agents regardless of sales volume.) Each company will have one vote, ASTA said.
Going forward, ASTA said travel agents who are employed by a non-member agency, as well as independent contractors may join as non-affiliated members at the lowest tier and will have one vote. Travel agents who are employed by a member agency and wish to have voting rights may purchase a separate membership at the lowest tier.
For renewing members, the dues change will go into effect on the anniversary of their membership renewal, effective Jan. 1, 2013. New travel agent members who join prior to Jan. 1 will do so at the current $277 rate, while those who join after the effective date will do so under the new dues structure, ASTA said.
ASTA said it continues to provide exceptional benefits to all its members. For example, Travel Agency membership provides effective representation on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures, advanced education resources, consumer outreach and professional networking opportunities, news updates and industry alerts, and exclusive access to ASTA’s logo—a symbol of integrity in the travel industry.
Premium members, ASTA noted, receive such additional benefits as direct access to ASTA’s staff experts in Government and Industry Affairs, as well as experts in the Legal and Research departments, customized research and access to invitation-only business networking forums and summits.