Travel Agents Group Eyes Member Fee to Help Fund Awareness Campaign

In an effort to remind the public that travel agents offer an essential service for globetrotters, the American Society of Travel Agents announced that it plans to charge its members a transaction fee to pay for increased industry marketing.

An association for travel agents wants to remind travelers that, yes, travel agents still exist and have a useful service to offer. And it may ask its members to kick in a little extra to help cover the cost of getting that message out.

Last week, at its ASTA Global Convention, the American Society of Travel Agents announced it was considering a new transaction fee for its members that would generate funds to pay for consumer-awareness efforts.

“We’re tired of hearing, ‘Are you guys still around?’” said Jay Ellenby, incoming chair of ASTA’s board, in comments reported by Travel Pulse. “It’s like nails on a chalkboard.”

According to Travel Weekly, Ellenby said ASTA hadn’t decided how much the fee would be, but he compared it to a passenger facility charge, meaning the fee could be quite small.

“It could be 10 cents, it could be a quarter, it could be 50 cents, it could be a dollar, depending on what we come up with, what makes sense,” Ellenby said.

Agents could either eat this cost or pass it on to their clients, he added.

A New Video Foray

So, what would a more aggressive marketing strategy look like?

Possibly something like the online program Travel Agents Taking Off, a 32-minute news program, produced by ITN Productions, that’s designed for travel agents to promote their industry and share on their websites. Along with ASTA, the video was created with the help of Princess Cruises, Travel Experts, Travel Planners International, and Expedia CruiseShipCenters.

The program debuted during the ASTA convention last week.

Other ways that ASTA plans to beef up its marketing game in the coming months, according to Travel Market Report, include a commercial, expected to run on the Travel Channel’s website starting this month, and upgrades to its website.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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