WESTA Subsidizes ASTA Memberships

Agency members will be able to join ASTA for a reduced price By: Kenneth Shapiro
WESTA has made it easier for travel agents to join ASTA. // © 2016 iStock
WESTA has made it easier for travel agents to join ASTA. // © 2016 iStock

The Details

American Society of Travel Agents

Western Association of Travel Agencies

The Western Association of Travel Agencies (WESTA) has chosen to subsidize membership in the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) for its members.

Why It Matters:
WESTA, the member-owned marketing cooperative that has roughly 150 agency members mainly in California, Oregon and Washington, is making it possible for members to belong to ASTA for $199 per year if their annual sales are under $5 million or $399 per year if their annual sales are between $5 million and $10 million. In addition to consumer-awareness initiatives, WESTA’s support will broaden ASTA’s reach on the West Coast and build on successful advocacy campaigns, such as one last year that pushed the Washington state legislature to keep in place a special tax rate for travel agent commission income. According to WESTA, losing that battle would have cost Washington travel agencies and tour operators millions of dollars.

Fast Facts:
- ASTA began signing membership agreements in early 2014 with those consortia members that wanted to pave the way financially for their members to benefit in ASTA. This has helped ASTA to steadily grow membership, which continues today.

- ASTA members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the U.S. through the travel agency distribution channel.

What They Are Saying:
“For what works out to less than $17 a month, ASTA member agencies get a huge return on a very modest investment,” said Mike Estill, WESTA chief operating officer. “They get a strong partner watching their backs in both D.C. and their state capital, participation in a high-profile consumer outreach program promoting retail agencies and a direct channel to insider industry knowledge that would be difficult to find elsewhere at any price. That might be the best seventeen bucks you ever spent on your agency.”

“There is no better time to bring more WESTA members into the ASTA family and get their profiles seen by more consumers in our Membership Directory,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA president and CEO. “We have several initiatives already in the works in 2016 to market the value of travel agents to the traveling public. We also are heading West in September for our Global Convention in Reno-Tahoe. We hope to meet many new WESTA members there.”