As a result of ASTA’s third annual Premium Business Summit at least one Premium Member left the meeting armed with several dozen marketing ideas to implement immediately in her business while others saw value in the opportunity to network and learn from key industry leaders. ASTA’s Premium Members met in San Francisco, Feb. 4-5, 2009, to meet and share ideas on how to improve business.
Alexandria, VA- „The meeting was a phenomenal opportunity for travel executives–agency owners and key suppliers alike–to come together and discuss the issues that will dramatically impact our industry today and in the future,“ said ASTA Premium Member Marc Casto of Casto Travel (San Jose, Calif.). „I was especially impressed with the peer-to-peer exchange of ideas among members of this elite group.“
As part of the summit, Premium Members also heard from supplier executives across many segments about their strategies and how they will work with travel agencies going forward. Members discussed ways to improve travel agencies’ relationship with the Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) and the airlines.
Fellow Premium Member, ASTA’s President and Chairman, Chris Russo, said „Representatives were receptive to David Collin’s frank and honest discussion regarding the ARC and its relationship with the agency community. The group appreciated Mr. Collins’ listening to the members’ business and operational concerns with same-day voiding. We hope that ARC now fully understands the issues that same-day voiding would have presented to agencies of all sizes. We are grateful that ARC has delayed this project.“
According to comments submitted by the attendees, the networking, the ARC discussion with David Collins, and an overview of the Obama administration by C. Stewart Verdery, Jr., head of the Monument Policy Group (Washington, DC), were found to be the most useful and actionable portions of the 2-day event. Many also found great value from inside information on issues such as Secure Flight.
ASTA Premium Member Wendy Goodenow, CTC, of HNL Travel Associates (Honolulu), noted that she „gathered more than 27 great ideas on how to improve [her] marketing efforts“ from the group roundtable discussions.
„ASTA’s Premium Membership has become a vital resource that enables us to be more than spectators to the current economic turmoil but active participants in the decisions and policy changes that impact our business. By concentrating on our core business, renewing our focus on key relationships and working together with other premium members, we are building the new tools necessary for the survival and future growth of our company“ said ASTA Premium Member John Rose of Marathon Travel (Stevens Point, Wis.).
Sponsors of the event were: David Collins, president and CEO of the Airlines Reporting Corp.; Vicki Freed, senior vice president, Royal Caribbean International; Jay Jones, senior vice president, Sabre Travel Network, The Americas; Tony Hughes, senior vice president Americas, Qatar Airways; Tony D’Astolfo, vice president/worldwide sales, Rearden Commerce; Cindy Perry, vice president, Travel Insured International; and, Chris Austin, vice president/leisure and luxury sales for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Travel agencies that would like to support the industry at this level, gain access to Premium level service and benefits and participate in Premium-only events should contact Cheryl Ahearn, CTIE, senior vice president of market development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.