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From Travel Agents to Travel Advisors

Written by  Douglas Cooke

Doug
Last August, at its Annual Global Conference, ASTA announced a rebranding that better reflects the role that travel professionals play in the travel planning process. As with any change, universal adoption takes time, but in order to facilitate change, it is necessary for all stakeholders to embrace the new mantra. Below is an open letter from ASTA to the Travel Industry which describes the change and we felt was worth sharing with our readers.

ASTALogoNewIn August 2018, our industry’s national trade association, the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), announced to the world that it had rebranded as the American Society of Travel Advisors. This name change, the Society’s first in almost 75 years, embodies the revitalization of our part of the travel industry that has been taking place for several years and sends a critical message to the traveling public and the broader industry.

Today’s travel agents are no longer mere booking intermediaries. They have become trusted advisors - akin to financial planners and CPAs - who make the overall travel experience better and provide both leisure and business travelers maximum value for their travel dollar. The term “advisor” not only more accurately describes the value our members provide to consumers but also serves as a distinct declaration of who we work for: the traveling public. What’s more exciting is that the consumer media and, more importantly, travelers themselves are embracing this shift from agent to advisor.

In order to fully realize the benefits of this change, however, it is critical that all industry stakeholders speak with one voice when it comes to describing our business. To that end, we are encouraging our member companies, supplier partners and anyone doing meaningful business through the travel advisor channel to add their name to the growing list of organizations that have made or are in the process of making the switch from “travel agent” to “travel advisor” in their consumer and trade communications.

We are experiencing a true renaissance in our industry, with consumers increasingly coming back to our members for the comparison shopping, unbiased advice, destination expertise and personal support that only a trusted travel advisor can provide. That said, terminology still matters and we hope you will join us as we move from agent to advisor.

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