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April 9, 2013, Alexandria, Va. –SBN (ASTA Small Business Network) is proud to announce the association has raised their criteria for accepting only those career travel advisors who are established and actively selling travel to the public.

As of March 6, SBN rolled out its new online application. This application process includes the following new requirements:

  • The applicant must be a professional travel agent who actively sells retail travel to the general public.
  • The applicant must be in compliance with all government, federal, state and local laws, including relevant state seller of travel laws.
  • The applicant must certify that his or her business has Errors & Omissions insurance coverage.
  • And provide a valid booking identification number or travel seller number.

Enforcing the above requirements will allow SBN to continue to grow the membership with quality professional travel agents.

“We have clearly set ourselves apart from other associations and by adding the new membership criteria,” said Ann van Leeuwen, vice president of SBN “We are also recognizing the professionalism of the current members who are in the business of selling travel.”

Members of The ASTA Small Business Network can pride themselves as they are recognized as travel professionals in the SBN community.

“With the changing landscape and more travel professionals based remotely in home offices it is critical that the associations they join raise their image and credibility and support the growth of their business. I must compliment SBN and particularly the leadership of Ann van Leeuwen, for working tirelessly to improve the overall credibility of SBN with these recent membership changes,” said Chris Austin, vice president of Global Retail Leisure & Luxury Sales.

“The new membership requirements will help drive the value proposition of SBN members and the supplier community has true confidence in our decision to recognize and support SBN members. This change in SBN membership requirements helps Starwood, as an organization; remain steadfast in our commitment to SBN.”

SBN represents quality travel professionals who will have agent profiles updated annually. SBN members have access to many benefits which grow their business such as: resources for branding and marketing their business, industry education, supplier product knowledge programs, SBN NEWS updates & alerts, Agent Incentive Digest, destination FAMS, seminars at seas and networking within the SBN community including chapters across the US. To learn more about the benefits of SBN, click here.

"Celebrity's continued partnership with SBN goes back over 10 years, and we're thrilled to see SBN's commitment to raise the bar on membership qualifications, focusing on the serious professional sellers of travel. SBN has always been a quality organization, and these new criteria will only strengthen the organization's leadership position in the travel industry” said Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice president of sales Celebrity Cruises.

SBN is the travel industry’s leading national trade association representing independent contractors, outside sales agents, cruise and tour oriented agents, group oriented travel professionals and traditional ARC-appointed travel agencies that provide services and support to such professionals. Established in 1986, SBN’s mission is to represent the interest of independent travel entrepreneurs and to promote professionalism and recognition for the professional independent agent. SBN is an affiliate of ASTA, the American Society of Travel Advisors, the world’s largest travel trade association.