Ensemble Travel Group has signed its first-ever membership deal with the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA).
The new membership deal with Ensemble Travel Group mandates membership for all Ensemble U.S. shareholder members, ASTA said. In total, 242 new members will join ASTA, including five new premium members. This new partnership also qualifies Ensemble for the 2019/2020 Consortia seat on the ASTA Board of Directors. Consortia with 75 percent or more membership in ASTA are eligible for the seat on a two-year rotating basis. Ensemble will assume that seat during the ASTA Global Convention and will again be giving away the Susan B. Tanzman award in addition to making a $10,000 donation to ASTA’s political action committee, ASTAPAC, in the winner’s name.
The move comes as Ensemble is expanding, particularly in Australasia via a recently announced partnership with New Zealand travel agency group World Travellers, allowing that organization’s members to access Ensemble’s amenity program, vacation portfolio and special benefits and savings.
Next up for Ensemble is the organization’s International Conference, which will take place October 23 – 27 at the Hyatt Regency Seattle. Themed around the concept of Travel with Purpose, the event will debut a new tradeshow format with three dedicated partner tradeshows with exclusive one-on-one appointments. The event will also include talks by keynote speakers Spencer West, a double amputee who reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, and retired Starbucks President Howard Behard.
The membership deal also makes Ensemble the latest travel industry organization to partner with ASTA. Earlier this year Travel Leaders Group became a Diamond-level ASTA partner, an agreement that included ASTA membership for a number of Travel Leaders brands. In 2015, Signature Travel Network began requiring ASTA membership for its members.
In a statement announcing the decision Ensemble Travel Group CEO David Harris cited ASTA’s recent advocacy efforts as a reason behind the deal. Following the organizations rebranding as the American Society of Travel Advisors last year, it has promoted the value of travel advisors through campaigns such as this past May’s National Travel Advisor Day and Advisor Month. ASTA has also been lobbying on regulatory issues affecting the travel industry, such as a bill that would change how independent contractors are defined in California – potentially shaking up the independent travel advisor model in the state.