The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the world’s largest association of travel professionals, announced at its annual Global Convention that it has rebranded as the American Society of Travel Advisors and launched a new marketing campaign — “We’ll take you there.” The move represents the first name change for the organization in almost 75 years, which from its founding in 1931 until 1944 was known as the American Steamship and Tourist Agents’ Association. The initial announcement that it would be changing its name came on August 10.
According to the company, the decision to rebrand was a response to an industry shift. Travel agents are not just booking agents anymore: They have become trusted advisors akin to financial advisors and CPAs who provide leisure and business travelers maximum value for their travel dollar.
While the name is changing, ASTA’s mission is not, according to the company. ASTA will continue to promote and represent travel advisors and agencies — within the industry, to the traveling public and at all levels of government — and provide members with its suite of benefits.
“ASTA’s new name more accurately describes the value our members provide to consumers and is a distinct declaration of who we work for: the traveling public,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA president and CEO, in a written release. “It also reflects the renewed prominence of the travel advisor industry and of our role as a leading voice.”
ASTA has also taken advantage of this opportunity to reimagine its relationship with the National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA) by bringing NACTA under the ASTA banner as the ASTA Small Business Network. For 32 years, NACTA has provided its members with a community dedicated to the professional enhancement and shared knowledge of independent travel consultants. Last week, Signature Travel Network announced its support of each company's rebranding.
Consultation with both NACTA and the volunteer leadership of ASTA led to the conclusion that incorporating NACTA under the ASTA umbrella would help take the travel industry — and members’ business — to the next level.
“This shift happened very organically, with NACTA having been owned by ASTA for 18 years,” said Ann Chamberlin, NACTA president and senior vice president of membership, marketing and strategic partnerships for ASTA. “The overlap in our memberships sparked a natural progression to merge the two groups into a mutually beneficial association. NACTA members will retain their existing benefits while gaining many more, including the ability to build their client portfolio through ASTA’s TravelSense.org website. We see this as a huge benefit for NACTA members and their professional development.”
ASTA members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally based members, it is the leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry and the traveling public.
ASTA’s history of travel industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931, when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism.
For more information, visit ASTA.org.