ASTA Considers New Fee for Travel Agent Members

The fee would fund consumer outreach and awareness By: Emma Weissmann
ASTA has proposed a new fee specifically for consumer-awareness projects. // © 2016 iStock
ASTA has proposed a new fee specifically for consumer-awareness projects. // © 2016 iStock

The Details

American Society of Travel Agents

Jay Ellenby, incoming chairman of the board of directors for the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), has announced the addition of a per-transaction fee that would fund general consumer outreach and awareness initiatives for the society.

Why It Matters:
The new fee, which could range from 5 cents to $1 per transaction, will be charged to all ASTA members, who can choose to absorb the fee themselves or factor it into the cost that a client will pay. Although promoting consumer awareness is critical for the organization to continue to grow and thrive, it’s too early to say whether its 8,965 member agents — who already pay monthly dues — will agree that this is the best way to affect change. As of press time, no set fee or implementation date has been announced.

Fast Facts:
- The announcement was made during ASTA’s Global Convention at Peppermill Resort Hotel in Reno, Nev., on Sept. 28.

- Gaining consumer awareness has been a main priority for ASTA in the past few years. Other consumer-facing initiatives include the launch of the video series “Travel Agents Taking Off.”

What They Are Saying:
“For all the transactions agents do, a certain fund would go to (consumer awareness) in a passenger facility charge of some kind,” Ellenby said. “Quite honestly, we’re tired of hearing, ‘You guys are still around?’ It’s like nails in a chalkboard. Consumer awareness is critical. We think it’s a viable solution.”

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