Recently, I received an invitation to an event hosted by the Southern California chapter of ASTA. The e-mail began with the phrase, “Welcome to the new SoCal ASTA!”
I was a bit surprised by the invitation, not because it wasn’t a worthwhile event, but because it had been so long since I received anything from SoCal ASTA that I had assumed my name had fallen off its e-mail list. So how could I resist meeting the “new” ASTA chapter?
At the event, held poolside at The Standard hotel on the Sunset Strip, I did, in fact, get to meet the new chapter leadership, including president Danny Genung, and I was very impressed. After not hearing a peep from what had historically been one of ASTA’s strongest chapters, it was great to witness firsthand the kind of energy that will most certainly be needed to bring SoCal ASTA back.
There’s little doubt that part of the secret to Genung’s energy comes from the fact that he is still in his 20s. Born and raised in Redlands, Calif., Genung’s grandfather, Bob Harr, began Harr Travel in the mid-1980s, and Genung began working there when he was just 14. After attending college in Salzburg, Austria, he came back and started working at the agency full time, eventually taking over for his grandfather. Among his many achievements, he is the youngest CLIA Master Cruise Counselor ever.
Genung is active in ASTA’s Young Professional Society (YPS) and feels strongly that getting involved and staying positive is key to the future of agents.
“Enthusiasm for what you do is the easiest way to boost sales. I think we are extremely lucky to be in the business today…We have the largest group of middle-class/wealthy people in history — the baby boomers — starting to retire and they love to travel. What better time to sell travel?” he said in an interview for the YPS newsletter.
Let’s hope Genung can continue to breathe new life into SoCal ASTA. During what could be a time of significant change in the industry, it would help all of us to have a strong advocacy group in one of the nation’s most important markets. —K.S.