ASTA Approves New Governance Plan
With a vote of 704 to 112, members of the American Society of
Travel Agents (ASTA) approved a new governance plan, which will
provide all domestic members with equal representation and create a
smaller Board of Directors.
“By approving the governance plan, ASTA’s membership has taken
the next step in advancing ASTA’s efforts to restructure the
Society to better meet the needs of our members,” said Kathryn W.
Sudeikis, CTC, ASTA’s president and CEO. “ASTA’s Board and now, its
membership, have chosen the right course for governance and the
Society to take.”
The new governance structure is comprised of nine national
directors elected at-large for two-year, staggered terms; three
chapter presidents; the chair of the International Chapter
Presidents’ Council; and two Corporate Advisory Council
Key features of the proposed governance plan include that
directors will be elected at-large without being limited to a
particular region, and that three chapter presidents will serve on
the Board. Also, the membership at large will elect the Board of
Directors, and the Executive Committee would then be elected from
and by the Board of Directors. The size of the Executive Committee
will be reduced, as will the term of service to one year.
Baby on Board
Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas and Johnson &
Johnson announced their collaboration in the development of Gentle
Travel, a resort-based partnership designed to make trips with
babies and young children easier on the nerves. This unprecedented
travel routine, created with a board-certified pediatrician, Dr.
Jennifer Trachtenberg, is designed to address the needs articulated
by parents traveling with babies.
According to a national survey conducted by Atlantis, Johnson’s
and BabyCenter.com, the biggest travel concern for parents of young
children is having to bring along all of the products and equipment
that they need to care for their baby. So, a Gentle Travel kit will
be delivered with each requested crib to the guests’ rooms. The kit
includes Dr. Trachtenberg’s baby routine tips, some Johnson’s
products, a lullaby CD and a nightlight to help create a calming
ambience in the hotel room.
Atlantis has also created a new Prompt Response line to allow
parents to order and quickly receive anything they need to care for
their babies, including extra crib sheets, baby bathtubs, bottle
warmers, as well as sterilizers, strollers and small refrigerators.
Parents can also request one of the resort’s more than 100
babysitters, each of whom has been carefully screened through
background checks and trained in CPR and childcare.
The Gentle Travel program begins on June 1, the start of what
has been predicted to be one of the busiest family travel seasons
in recent years.
Apple Vacations is taking the worry out of weather with its new
Weather Guarantee. Under the policy, customers are guaranteed a
replacement vacation if a hurricane of Category 1 status or higher
interrupts their vacation for 24 hours or more. Apple is including
the guarantee with its AV-OK travel insurance, which is offered for
purchase at the time of booking for participating hotels in Cancun,
Cozumel and the Riviera Maya in Mexico; La Romana and Punta Cana in
the Dominican Republic; and Jamaica for customers flying USA 3,000
Airlines or any other Apple charter flights.
Apple will automatically include the guarantee when customers
include the travel insurance when booking a vacation at
participating hotels from Aug. 15-Oct. 31.
Tourism Cares Scholarships
Tourism Cares for Tomorrow, a nonprofit organization, recently
announced the winners of its 37 academic scholarships for 2006,
which range from $500-$10,000. The winning students from
universities and colleges all over the country will also be invited
to attend the National Tour Association Convention being held in
Salt Lake City in November.
During fiscal year 2006, Tourism Cares will distribute
student-specific scholarships and grants totaling $58,000.
Funjet Vacations and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s
Authority (LVCVA) have teamed up to co-sponsor one of its biggest
travel agent promotions ever, taking 101 travel agents to Las Vegas
and offering a chance to win a new luxury car. There will also be
other opportunities throughout the year to qualify for prizes, such
as a new LCD flat-screen TV, a Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed or a trip
to Las Vegas.
The top-booking 101 travel agents of Las Vegas packages
nationwide will qualify for the promotion and a chance to win the
To enter, agents must make Funjet Vacations Las Vegas air/hotel
package bookings, earning points based on the reservation value,
and the top-booking agents will be sent to Las Vegas.
Hosting At-Home Agents
America’s Vacation Center recently announced the expansion of
their host agency program.
The new “Platinum Agency” program is designed for home-based
agents who sell a high volume of cruises and/or vacation packages,
while the “Gold Agency” program is designed for agents who sell
fewer. With the two programs, AVC aims to offer top-notch hosting
for travel agents.
Both the Gold Agency and Platinum Agency include access to AVC’s
training and support and the Agent Power software suite, which
includes integrated availability and booking access for major
cruise lines, commission tracking and more.
During the 2006 TRAMS Technology & Marketing University,
held at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Signature Travel Network
received the 2006 “Spirit” award. The award was presented by Lee
Rosen, CTC, president of TRAMS, in recognition of Signature’s
effort in enabling their members to benefit from the latest
Signature also announced the completion of a ClientBase “Live
Connect” interface with the hotel booking engine, HotelConnection.
This new development provides agents with a reservations process
that integrates ClientBase customer profiles and “Res Cards” with
live online booking.