As your ASTA Small Business Network representative on the ASTA board, I’d like to give you an update on what’s going on at ASTA as well as let you know about a new role I have volunteered for at ASTA Small Business Network.
ASTA is healthy and fighting every day for all agents on Capitol Hill. Some of the current priorities:
Have travel agencies removed from the Department of Labor “blacklist” that blocks them from utilizing an exemption to federal overtime rules.
Advocate on Capitol Hill to reduce the disclosure burden on travel agencies who sell air.
Ask the Department of Transportation to say “no” to in-flight phone calls.
The most important initiative ASTA is working on this year is getting the word out to the consumer on why they should use a travel agent. Commercials have been made that began running on the Travel Channel last year, and more videos are being planned for the near future. With news stories of the increasing use of travel agents, ASTA is taking steps to make sure this information is kept in the public eye.
ASTA is fighting every day to protect not only ASTA and ASTA Small Business Network members, but all travel agents.
I also have some news of my own to deliver. As your board member, I volunteered to help mentor ASTA Small Business Network Chapter Directors who need fresh ideas on how to engage their members, or who need extra help or guidance running their chapters. Many chapters, for instance, have members who reside far from the Chapter Director’s residence. There are alternative ways to have chapter meetings to engage and assist members. Among them are simple networking meetings between agents, chapter webinars, monthly member newsletters and more. I’ll be working with Kim Sherrett, Manager of Membership & Chapter Development, who will be developing ASTA and ASTA Small Business Network chapters and sourcing new Chapter Directors.
If you’re a member who would like to start your own ASTA Small Business Network chapter and want to know what that entails, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage new ASTA Small Business Network chapters and seek qualified volunteers who would like to help other agents develop themselves as agents and business owners.