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OSSN Develops New Agency Validation Site for TRUEApril 1, 2009 By: George Dooley
The Outside Sales Support Network (OSSN) has developed a new website for suppliers to verify an agency's TRUE credentials at www.CheckaTRUECode.com. The site will provide the most up-to-date verification for agencies operating with OSSN’s Travel Retailers Universal Enumeration (TRUE) program. Suppliers will be able to validate agencies' TRUE code credentials with the simple click of a mouse. OSSN represents more than 7,000 agents with 63 chapters across North America.
OSSN says another feature at the new www.CheckaTRUECode.com site is the section labeled "Supporting Suppliers." This lists specific information to assist all agencies in establishing new accounts with travel industry suppliers. It is a resource that will help agencies and suppliers smoothly set up new business accounts and build sales relationships even faster.
Although the administration of the TRUE program over the last eight years was run jointly by OSSN, TRUE, and IATA and managed out of TRUE headquarters in Bradenton, FL, it will soon be administered by TRUE and OSSN exclusively.
To encourage use, OSSN and TRUE are offering a free HTML broadcast for suppliers. For any supplier that indicates the acceptance of the TRUE code (of which hundreds already have taken the opportunity to do so) in writing on its website, OSSN will offer a free HTML broadcast to the entire OSSN membership database. That same HTML broadcast will also reach out to a second qualified list of more than 23,000 travel agents across North America.
As background, OSSN noted that, in 2001, OSSN contracted directly with IATAN North America to begin establishing a new coding system called TRUE to recognize sellers of travel who did not participate in the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) system. The criteria for eligibility for the TRUE code includes the following:
1. The agency must submit written legal proof of state registration, if required by their state. (This proof must be resubmitted every year at the TRUE renewal date.)
2. The agency must submit written proof of a professional business bank account.
3. The agency must maintain a professional Agency status of membership in OSSN.
4. The agency must have a minimum of six months experience selling and promoting travel.
“The recognition and acceptance of the TRUE ID coding system has been widespread and provides agencies across the United States with an alternative choice of industry code with which to align their agency," OSSN said. "The original agreement with IATA was formed at a time when only IATA and CLIA and ARC existed as recognized forms of industry ID. During the last eight years, the industry has changed immensely, and suppliers are realizing that agencies have many reasons to elect to use other professional designations such as the TRUE code, and their affiliation with OSSN, to build their recognition.”
"OSSN expects it to be business as usual at TRUE,"” states OSSN President Gary M. Fee. "We have put a lot of time and energy into developing recognition for this coding system for OSSN agency members. This industry is no longer a “one-size-fits-all” marketplace, and the TRUE system reflects these changes.”
Fee said that from the inception of the TRUE program in 2001, the acceptance of the TRUE code by all major tour operators and cruise lines has been almost universal. OSSN is presently working with most of the major hotel chains and has already set up a system for them to download all TRUE information directly at no cost to them.
"These major hotel companies are very excited to be given this opportunity to receive the TRUE information directly from OSSN and TRUE," Fee said. "At a time when major hotel chains are experiencing increasing costs to do business through GDS systems and third-party booking platforms, these same suppliers are looking for the most cost-effective way to embrace the “home-based” agency business model.
"For hotel companies, just like other suppliers, it is so very important for them to be able to drive as much business directly to their own branded websites, so they can reduce the cost per transaction for each booking," Fee continued. "With this very important fact in mind, it is the goal of TRUE and OSSN to facilitate this process and provide ongoing education to agencies operating with the TRUE code to assist them in using this method of booking.
“In fact, other allied supplier partners of OSSN who also accept TRUE have really worked towards these same goals. Ongoing training by suppliers to teach agencies to use the most effective booking tools, and facilitate the most cost-effective booking processes, are of great value to both the agency operating with a TRUE code and its preferred supplier partners,” Fee said.