ASTA Agents Briefed on Top Issues at Summit

Changes to the Airlines Reporting Corp.’s (ARC) Agent Reporting Agreement (ARA) were top of mind during ASTA’s sixth annual Premium Business Summit who heard a presentation from Lauri Reishus, ARC's vice president of operations.

Reishus provided ASTA Premium Members with a look at the new agreement while travel agent members of the group took part in an agent-only discussion led by industry attorney Mark Pestronk. Pestronk offered advice on recent ARC changes to the ARA.

ASTA said 100 travel agency executives joined with supplier management and government officials to discuss best-practice solutions to some of the industry’s most pressing issues. The invitation-only Premium Business Summit was held in Phoenix, March 22-25, 2012.
“This year’s Premium Summit provided those in attendance with an unprecedented opportunity to hear directly from government leaders about the landmark policies that affect our industry and business,” said ASTA CEO Tony Gonchar.”The chance to discuss and share working solutions to the issues that define our industry cannot be underestimated in value.”
The group heard from U.S. Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ), who serves on the House Judiciary, Homeland Security and Science, Space and Technology Committees, all of which have jurisdiction over issues critical to the travel industry. Quayle provided the group with a Congressional update on the latest in tax, independent contractor, TSA reform and visa processing issues.

Summit attendees also heard from Doug Hofsass, the associate administrator for risk-based security for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Hofsass updated attendees on the Department of Homeland Security's move toward risk-based security measures, including PreCheck and Global Entry.
Former Homeland Security Assistant Secretary C. Stewart Verdery, today a founder and partner of Monument Policy Group, spoke on the changing political landscape, the White House’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy, homeland security and airline ancillary fee issues.
“The meeting content was outstanding. I found the open dialogue of the issues facing the distribution channel to be extremely beneficial,” said John Lovell, president,, LLC (Alexandria, Va.).
Other major speakers included:
    •    Mike Waterman, Marriott’s vice president sales, Western Region shared insight into Marriott’s global industry outlook for the coming years.
    •    Vic Pynn, executive vice president, Amadeus North America, discussed how agents could use social media to better understand the new customer service model.
    •    Enterprise Holdings Vice President of Travel Industry Relations Ron Cerko gave an inside look into how today’s travel professional can bring additional value to their clients.
    •    Chris Kroeger, senior vice president of Sabre/GetThere, spoke to the value that exists for buyers and sellers alike in today’s travel marketplace.
    •    Travelport’s Scott Hyden, vice president and general manager/U.S. & Canada, shared his views on the overall state of the industry.

ASTA's Gonchar provided an overview of ASTA’s  advocacy, membership and consumer awareness programs. Eben Peck, ASTA vice president of government affairs, reviewed legislation that could dramatically and negatively impact the way travel agencies conduct business and what steps ASTA and its members are undertaking to combat them.
Sponsors of the event were: Marriott, JW Marriott Desert Ridge, ABC Global Services, Amadeus, ARC, CCRA Travel Solutions, Enterprise Holdings, Hertz, Sabre, Travelport, Travel Insured, Southwest Conference Planners, Pacific Event Productions and Visit Phoenix.


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