ARC reports that the updated version of the ARC's Agent Reporting Agreement (ARA) is now in effect as of July 1, 2013, at 12:01 a.m. All operational systems, including Interactive Agent Reporting (IAR), have been switched over to support the new agreement’s policies and procedures, ARC said.
Agents that continue to participate in ARC’s settlement service as of today were transitioned automatically to the amended agreement. Nearly 14,000 travel agencies and 190 airlines use ARC's settlement services, which in 2012 totaled more than $84 billion.
The ARA is the three-party contract between travel agencies, ARC, and ARC’s participating carriers – and defines the requirements to receive and maintain ARC accreditation and participation, AC notes.
Initially written in the early 1980s, the agreement had become unwieldy, challenging to navigate, and perhaps most critically, out of step with all three parties’ current business needs, ARC said. Thus, in 2010, ARC set the goal of creating a more modern agreement with the help of agencies, airlines, and agency trade associations.
Some highlights of the updated ARA and related processes include:
• Allowing an agency to retain its ARC number if that agency moves across state lines.
• Allowing multiple ARC numbers within an agency at one physical address to facilitate the agency’s accounting systems.
• The addition of an “Associate Branch Location” classification to allow an agency to add branch offices not fully owned by the home office.
• Auto-authorization for “zero reports” to relieve an agency from manually submitting a no-sales report.
• Reduction of the draft/credit window from 10 to five days, enabling 55 percent of agencies to receive a credit faster each month.
• Reduction of the agreement length from 56 to 18 pages, and in new easy-to-understand language.
ARC is also educating agents about the updated ARA. Scheduled educational webinars available on the ARC website include:
• Main ARA page
• List of ARA webinars and instructions to register for them
• View of the new ARA
• Updates to the Industry Agents’ Handbook (also effective July 1)
ARC added that its user-friendly, self-service online Accreditation Tool has been upgraded to better support its agency customers, who can now electronically submit any necessary modifications to their agency’s records through My ARC.
Also available through My ARC is a new Carrier Dashboard, which provides ARC’s carrier customers with online access to ownership and contact information for accredited agencies, in order to facilitate improved communication and coordination between ARC accredited airlines and agencies.
For immediate help with questions about the updated ARA, agents are invited to call ARC’s Customer Care Center (CCC) at 1 (855) 816-8003, during the following hours (Eastern time):
Monday and Tuesday – 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Wednesday through Friday – 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.