|John Werner, president and COO of MAST Travel Network|
John Werner, president and COO of MAST Travel Network, praised Signature Travel Network's recent decision to require members to belong to the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).
Since July, MAST has been subsidizing the cost of ASTA membership for 200 plus MAST members to help clear away any financial objections to joining ASTA, according to Werner. "In the future I expect even more support for ASTA by consortia."
"MAST, as all of the consortia, recognizes the important role ASTA plays in the industry. The work that ASTA does could not be done by others," Werner said, noting that MAST has been promoting the ASTA partnership to members at meetings, events and in communications.
"All agencies benefit by ASTA’s work whether they are ASTA members or not, so we believe every agency should support that work."
Werner said he was not aware of any pending tax or regulation issues in the Midwestern states in which MAST has members, but said, "Of course, that can change overnight."
Werner said MAST members were concerned with a variety of of issues with which ASTA can and has helped including unfair taxes and fees, and the competitive disadvantages agents face such as supplier direct bookings.
Other areas of concern to MAST members are customer misperceptions and misinformation about what travel professionals really do and online discounters and pricing disparities.
"ASTA can mobilize grass-roots agency support on local, state and national issues impacting the industry," Werner said.