Leading Travel Executives Meet for Cross-Industry Dialogue

More than 85 travel agency executives braved one of the biggest snowstorms of modern history, dubbed "Snowmageddon" by President Barack Obama, to attend the 2010 ASTA Premium Business Summit and Corporate Advisory Council (CAC) Meeting. The event was hosted by Marriott at the JW Marriot San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa.

“This exclusive event for Premium Member company owners and executives created a unique opportunity for travel agencies to meet face-to-face and work together to get to the heart of issues that will dramatically impact the travel industry in the coming years,” said Chris Russo, ASTA president and chair. “We polled Premium Members upon their return and the overwhelming response was that it was 18 of the best hours they have spent, jam-packed with informative sessions and key industry information.”

Topics such as ‘The Corporate & Leisure Travel Experience of the Future,’ ‘The Airline Industry of Today and Tomorrow,’ ‘Managing Airline Unbundling & Direct Connect’ and ‘Travel Agents as Information Brokers: The Super PNR – Is it Real?’ were among the issues debated and discussed during the Summit.

Expert panelists and speakers representing all facets of the industry gave their perspectives and insights into where the industry is headed. The group included leaders such as: Ellen Bettridge, ASTA Executive Committee member/CAC chairman and vice president of retail travel network, American Express; Marc Casto, president and COO, Casto; Tom Cates, CCO, Amadeus North America; Kaye Ceille, senior vice president, AVIS Budget Group; Monisa Cline, vice president of North American sales for Continental Airlines; Vicki Freed, senior vice president, Royal Caribbean International; Mike Foster, owner, Uniglobe Instant Travel Inc.; Scott Hintz, co-founder, TripIt; Chris Kroeger, president, GetThere; Kevin Mitchell, chairman and founder, Business Travel Coalition; Tim Smith, president, San Diego Travel Group and chairman of the board, Signature Travel Network; and Rose Stratford, senior vice president, BCD Travel.

Other travel agency supplier speakers included Jeff Coggin, assistant vice president, Enterprise Holdings; Cynthia Kropp, executive vice president, ABC Corporate Services; Peter Pincus, global account executive, Marriott International; and Cindy Perry, vice president, Travel Insured International.

Prior to Premium Summit, the ASTA’s CAC met to discuss a range of issues facing the retail travel industry, including upcoming changes to airline distribution models, pending federal and state legislation, and ASTA’s political action committee, ASTAPAC. 

The CAC is comprised of the heads of the largest travel agency organizations and individually owned travel agencies. The CAC, whose members’ annual sales exceed $50 million, has made multiple major contributions to ASTA work on behalf of the industry.

For additional information contact Cheryl Ahearn, senior vice president of market development, at 703.739.6870 or [email protected].

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