ASTA, BTC to Examine IATA Policy Impact on Agents

los angelesASTA and the Business Travel Coalition (BTC) will hold a joint-session, “The Future of Travel Distribution--The IATA Solution,” at ASTA’s Travel Retailing & Destination Expo in Los Angeles, Sept. 7-9. This  interactive session, to be held Sept. 8 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., will bring together travel agents, top travel management companies (TMCs) and interested travel agents to update them on what IATA calls “authenticated shopping.”
"Last month, IATA’s Distribution Data Exchange Working Group met in Geneva to discuss a 'new messaging standard'” ASTA notes. "This is based on the idea of 'authenticated shopping,' a system where before receiving information about price and service options, a consumer or a travel agent working on their behalf, must first identify himself to the airline in such a way that permits the airline to tailor the 'offer' to the traveler’s personal characteristics," ASTA notes.

According to ASTA,  IATA says it is “trying to bring the entire value chain together,” so that the consumer interacts with the airline as if they were in a direct channel (i.e., on the airline’s website).
“These developments raise many questions. Among them are whether a collective global effort by airlines will sweep aside current managed-travel community economic relationships, the remaining visibility of fares and ancillary services, and the ability of travel managers to effectively control business travel costs, among many others,” said Business Travel Coalition Chairman Kevin Mitchell. “This session will address those issues and provide an opportunity in which participants can air and discuss their concerns.”
“Participants have a tremendous opportunity though this workshop to get to the heart of one of the most critical issues facing our industry,” said ASTA President and Chair Nina Meyer. “We are pleased to be able to offer a forum for the industry’s top travel sellers to share ideas for coping with the challenges such initiatives may create.”
ASTA and the BTC urges travel agents and corporate travel buyers to register (Cost: $79 -use code BTC2012). The registration fee covers ASTA’s Travel Retailing & Destination Expo’s full education line-up,  networking events and a tradeshow.

All workshop participants are invited to attend ASTA’s black-tie Advocacy Dinner on Sept. 8 at the Millennium Biltmore, Crystal Ballroom. To reserve and pay for  seats, contact Courtney Beddia. [Participation in the Advocacy Dinner is not covered by the general event registration.] The Westin Bonaventure is offering special room rates to participants.