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PATH Elects Friedman, Seeks 2010 Growth

February 16, 2010 By: George Dooley

Jackie Friedman, general manager and vice president of Nexion, the host agency, has been named president of the Professional Association of Travel Hosts (PATH) and Co-chair of the Supplier Relations Committee. In addition to Friedman PATH’s 2010 board of directors includes:
    * Anita Pagliasso, Ticket To Travel: Vice President, Chairperson Public Relations / Communications    
    * Betsy Geiser, Uniglobe Travel: Secretary, Co-chair Host Agency Membership Committee
    * Tony Gagliano, Travel Planners International: Treasurer
·   * Andi Mysza, Montrose Travel: Board Director, Co-chair Host Agency Membership Committee. Mysza is PATH’ s immediate past president.
    * Dan Chappelle - Expedia CruiseShipCenters: Board Director, Co-chair Supplier Relations Committee
     *  Bonnie Lee - Travel Quest,  Board Director, Symposium and Event Planning

"I am excited to take on the challenge of working together with the rest of the PATH Board to lead the organization to the next level, building on the momentum that we have generated over the past few years under Andi's (Mysza) leadership. We will continue to focus on the issues and priorities facing all host agencies and will provide a forum for hosts and suppliers to collaborate and grow," said Friedman.
Moving forward, in 2010 the association will continue to increase visibility and educate the travel industry with a clearer understanding of PATH's mission, PATH said in a statement.  The main focus of PATH is to address host related issues while educating the industry about the value of a good host.

“Members are given the unique opportunity to associate with other highly credible host agencies who meet the membership requirements, thus create a leveraged voice to suppliers regarding host needs.  PATH is the only host agency-driven organization in the travel industry and it is a valuable resource for independent and home-based agents that currently work with a host agency or are planning to choose a host agency,” PATH said.

"As a charter member of PATH,  I have enjoyed the camaraderie of working together with a cohesive group of like-minded professionals who share common challenges facing all host agencies.  Whether it's on a quarterly conference call with a supplier, or a gathering at an industry conference, PATH continues to provide various  invaluable opportunities for all members to brainstorm with our peers as well meet with other industry supporters," said Anita Pagliasso, Ticket To Travel, PATH Vice President

 Since the association was formed in 2006 PATH has maintained its steady growth by seeking out qualified host agencies.  The membership committee will work toward maintaining that pattern throughout 2010, PATH said.   Membership is considered prestigious since every prospective host agency member must undergo a stringent membership application process to ensure that the organization's high standards are upheld. 

The value of joining PATH is the ability to network with other host agencies and for host agencies to potentially reach new members through its association with PATH.  Host agency members enjoy heightened credibility to potential independent contractors looking for a reputable host agency, the association said. “PATH has proven that membership brings visibility for host members to recruit new agents.  Goals have been set to increase membership in 2010 by implementing various strategic marketing programs.”

"As a Host Agency member of PATH, I really appreciate the high standards that PATH has set for their agency members.  These high standards lend credibility to my agency and enhance our reputation.  As a result we attract the quality and high caliber of travel agents I am looking for.  Suppliers are recognizing the quality of PATH members as well which is a huge benefit in developing better relationships," said Rhonda Shumway, TerraMar Travel, a PATH Host Agency member.

PATH reports it will hold a 2nd Annual 2010 Host Agency Symposium later this year with a date and location to be announced. “Last year's event was deemed an overwhelming success.  PATH provided an excellent forum for all participants to have a better understanding of issues facing host agencies and their independent contractors.”

The 2010 event will be open to all host agencies, both PATH members and non-members alike, PATH  said. Any host agency, supplier or association who would like to get more information on the 2010 PATH Host Agency Symposium, please contact Bonnie Lee at [email protected].  

The complete mission of the organization is covered in the bylaws, but some of the key reasons for forming this professional organization was to gather the best practices from across the industry, PATH said. PATH seeks to provide a set of industry standards to ensure the integrity of host agency operations and to help independent and home-based agents understand the value of host agencies as they investigate choosing the most suitable host agency partner.

 To maintain their high standards, PATH members must hold to several bylaws, including:
· Must not market their service stressing travel agent discounts and benefits.
·   Has/have minimum of three years in travel operating primarily as a "Host" Agency, and must have a minimum of 25 Independent Contractor Agents under written contract.
·   Must not market their services as part of a consumer recruitment process with benefits resembling a multi-level marketing scheme.
·  Must certify that there are no pending travel related lawsuits concerning the payment of agent commissions and/or fraudulent practices.

 Membership information for host agencies is available at or by contacting Andi Mysza 818-553-3226, [email protected] or Betsy Geiser 949-623-9070, [email protected].

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By George Dooley | February 16, 2010
Jackie Friedman, general manager and vice president of Nexion, the host agency, has been named president of the Professional Association of Travel Hosts (PATH) and Co-chair of the Supplier Relations Committee.
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