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ASTAnews BUSINESS TRAVEL EXCHANGE Business exchange added to ASTA’s repertoire Te idea for the exchange was first brought


to ASTA by Omega World Travel president and CEO Gloria Bohan, who during the event spoke about ways agents can tap into their own creativity and not limit themselves to serving only leisure travelers. “Tis event provides a foundation to build


Build a corporate program with ASTA


your corporate travel program complete with education, research and a unique networking opportunity,” said Bohan, who runs the first agency to enter the government contracting business. Greg Altieri, chief operating officer of MacNair


ASTA HELD ITS inaugural Business Travel Exchange (BTE) in April to help travel agencies of any size either enter the managed travel business, or expand their current corporate travel sales. Due to the overwhelming interest shown


by not just Washington DC-area agencies, but agencies across the country, the Society is now considering making it a regular event. Te BTE attracted just under 100 attendees,


who heard from experts about how to build their business travel toolkits, and differentiate themselves from travel management companies


(TMCs), and what corporations are looking for and how to help control costs through smart travel policies. With business travel spending projected to


rise by 7.2% this year to $288.8 billion, this is a market some agencies cannot afford to overlook. With the US economy stabilizing, companies are expected to spend more money on travel than they have in the recent past. As such, ASTA believes there may be no better time to learn how to become an agency selling to the corporate market.


Consumer awareness of agents a key concern ASTA MEDIA CAMPAIGN


ASTA ROLLED OUT a series of TV infomercials in the spring that aired on more than 100 PBS stations to promote the value travel professionals offer consumers. Te television segments are part of ASTA’s


ongoing multifaceted media campaign designed to communicate the value agents provide for consumers, and at the same time imprint the added value of working with an ASTA member. Tese segments, produced in the style of public interest programs, aired in four- and six-minute versions and can currently be seen on ASTA’s YouTube channel (youtube.com/user/ASTAsVideos). “Tese powerful ads are just one of many


elements of our ongoing multimedia campaign to influence consumer perception that travel professionals add value to the travel buying


process,” said ASTA president and CEO


Zane Kerby. ASTA is also promoting travel professionals


in digital and social media. In February, the Society launched its new aspirational ‘My travel agent gets me there’ digital ad campaign. Within weeks of the campaign launch, the ads appeared on consumer websites, including the New York Times, USA Today and others. Te consumer ads are designed to redirect users to travelsense.org, ASTA’s consumer facing webpage, where consumers can find an ASTA member travel professional. According to ASTA research, six out of 10


travelers who don’t use a travel agent say their main reason for not booking via an agent is simply that they’ve never thought to use one.


summer 2014 | ASTAnetwork | 11


As a result, ASTA believes one of its key priorities is to better reach consumers and is continuing to look at new ways to partner with members to communicate the value of agents. New ventures include joint op-eds in local


newspapers, a fall media tour targeting networks, and other avenues to remind travelers that, without an agent, they’re on their own. asta.org


Communicating agent value


Travel Management, was also instrumental in helping with the new event, and ASTA is grateful to the sponsors of the BTE, including ABC Global Services, Avis Budget Group, Best Western, Omega World Travel, Sabre Travel Network and UATP. For additional advice and guidance on selling


to the business market, ASTA released a new webinar in June titled Understanding Business Travelers Who Use Travel Agents, Tose Who Don’t and Tose Who Plan To in the Future, available now in ASTA’s e-library. asta.org


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