Nest Fest 2007, ASTA Report

New President Touts NEST FEST

Kathryn Mazza-Burney, who has been involved in the Network of Entrepreneurs Selling Travel (NEST) since its inception, took the helm as NEST president this past May, and has been helping to promote NEST FEST 2007 in Las Vegas. "We're thrilled to be taking NEST FEST 2007 back to Las Vegas," she says. "There's no better city to come together in and really celebrate the freedom and success of the 'home-based and proud' sector." Formerly Mazza-Burney served as NEST's executive vice president of sales, and will continue in her role as executive vice president of sales and service for TRAVELSAVERS. NEST FEST 2007 will take place at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, and will segue perfectly into the Home-Based Travel Agent Expo & Conference, which will be held December 4-6, also at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Visit www.jointhenest.com. The Most Important Factor When Selecting a Preferred Supplier

ASTA on Preferred Suppliers

The American Society of Travel Agents found that when it comes to which suppliers agents choose, size doesn't matter. A survey that ASTA says is the first of its kind showed that reputation and quality of product top the list of seven factors voted on by ASTA members. ASTA president and CEO Cheryl Hudak's interpretation of the study is that "regardless of a company's size, they all have the tools to engender travel agent loyalty."

The study confirmed that travel agents have a tremendous desire to acquire useful information about products that will assist them in matching the product to their client and close the sale. Another finding, while not surprising, is that Global Distribution Systems (GDS) remain the preferred booking vehicle for airline travel. The least important factor, according to the study, was "loyalty programs for agents," which received only about five percent of the total vote. "Reputation/quality of product" received about one-fourth of the total vote, while "commission/override offered" came in at second with 18.7 percent of the vote.

The study also showed that a majority of respondents are using preferred suppliers for cruise, car rental and tour bookings. Also, most cruise bookings are made through the cruise line's 800-number. Most respondents prefer to receive special offers from preferred suppliers by e-mail, while GDS sign-in messages rank at the very bottom of the communication preferences.

ASTA also recently released a report entitled Protecting Your Travel Business: Legal Issues Regarding the Use of Independent Contractors. ASTA sends reports such as these to all of its members, with enhanced versions going to its Premium Members. Visit www.astanet.com.

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