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ASTA Summit Offered Ways to Improve Agents Businesses

March 3, 2009 By: George Dooley


Results of ASTA’s third annual Premium Business Summit in San Francisco, Feb. 4-5, included new ideas on how to improve business, networking opportunities among major agencies and new approaches to marketing, ASTA reports. The meeting was open to ASTA’s Premium Member agencies.

 “The meeting was a phenomenal opportunity for travel executives­–agency owners and key suppliers alike–to come together and discuss the issues that will dramatically impact our industry today and in the future,” said ASTA Premium Member Marc Casto, Casto Travel, San Jose, Calif. “I was especially impressed with the peer-to-peer exchange of ideas among members of this elite group.”

As part of the summit, Premium Members heard from supplier executives across many segments about their strategies and how they will work with travel agencies going forward. Members discussed ways to improve travel agencies’ relationship with the Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) and the airlines.

“Representatives were receptive to David Collin’s, president of ARC’s frank and honest discussion regarding the ARC and its relationship with the agency community. The group appreciated Collins’ listening to the members’ business and operational concerns with same-day voiding. We hope that ARC now fully understands the issues that same-day voiding would have presented to agencies of all sizes. We are grateful that ARC has delayed this project,” Premium Member and ASTA’s President and Chairman, Chris Russo, said.

“ASTA’s Premium Membership has become a vital resource that enables us to be more than spectators to the current economic turmoil but active participants in the decisions and policy changes that impact our business. By concentrating on our core business, renewing our focus on key relationships and working together with other premium members, we are building the new tools necessary for the survival and future growth of our company,” said ASTA Premium Member John Rose of Marathon Travel (Stevens Point, Wis.).

Sponsors of the event were: David Collins, president and CEO of the Airlines Reporting Corp.; Vicki Freed, senior vice president, Royal Caribbean International; Jay Jones, senior vice president, Sabre Travel Network, The Americas; Tony Hughes, senior vice president Americas, Qatar Airways; Tony D’Astolfo, vice president/worldwide sales, Rearden Commerce; Cindy Perry, vice president, Travel Insured International; and, Chris Austin, vice president/leisure and luxury sales for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Travel agencies that would like to support the industry at Premium level should contact Cheryl Ahearn, ASTA's senior vice president of market development, at [email protected].



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