ASTA will develop two programs to assist members to grow their businesses in a weak economy according to a report from ASTA’s Board of Directors who are meeting in Sun City, South Africa during ASTA’s 4th International Destination Expo (IDE). The initiatives include a virtual summit, concentrating on issues that are relevant to ASTA’s core membership (small-and medium-sized travel agencies) and an online program. The new online program will assist members to understand how to grow their business and change from a commission-based business model to a consulting-fee business model.
ASTA’s Board also heard a presentation on the state of the retail travel agency industry and discussed challenges and trends within the sector and how they will affect not only travel agencies, but also the association, going forward. “Not surprisingly, the economy dominated the conversation,” ASTA said. ASTA’s Board consists of travel agents elected by travel agents.
Board members were updated on how ASTA continues to help its member’s weather the current economic situation as well as future plans for assisting members in preparing for an economic rebound, ASTA said. ASTA’s staff was directed to develop education materials that will assist travel agents in sales and marketing and reinforcing their value proposition when dealing with customers.
ASTA’s senior staff reported on the association's various initiatives regarding membership growth, renewals and consumer awareness. Board members were briefed on legislative affairs, including ASTA's initiatives with Secure Flight and collaborative efforts to limit the scope of anti-trust immunity being sought by several airlines. Also discussed were ASTA's plans to work with the Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC), GDS's and the airlines to resolve technical issues surrounding debit memos.
The Board also unanimously voted to amend the current bylaws to include misuse of ASTA's copyrighted material. The Board approved the election calendar for national directors and the chapters and amended election procedures to reduce the number of people on a chapter nominating committee. No details were offered.
Updates were provided on this year's IDE as well as a preview of the upcoming THE TRADESHOW and next year's International Destination Expo in Istanbul. The Istanbul IDE includes an offer of free hotel rooms for ASTA and NACTA members.