ASTA is transitioning to a company membership model, which means that all of a travel agency's counselors can belong to ASTA without each one having to pay dues.
The change, which takes effect Jan. 1, allows ASTA to represent more agents, according to the FAQ section on ASTA’s website explaining the change.
It’s one way for ASTA to address the problem of its dwindling numbers; right now an estimated 20% of agents belong to the trade group.
Member dues are based on agency volume, starting at $295 per year for agencies with an annual sales volume of under $5 million, up to $2,500 per year for agencies with sales of more than $50 million.
The plan was developed by a committee composed of travel agents and ASTA staff. The change comes as the result of research and data gathered from members, ASTA said.
Surveys were conducted to test not only the perception of ASTA member benefits but a variety of new dues models.
Agency owners and managers are assigned a customized URL that they can provide to their agents. There is no limit to the number of agents a single agency can sign up for ASTA.
Agents who are members of ASTA through their agency have access to all of ASTA’s resources. However, they do not have voting rights and cannot run for office.
Independent contractors have to join as companies and qualify for the lowest membership tier ($295) because they are not agency employees.
ASTA works on a federal, state and local level monitoring legislative proposals, representing agent interests in Congress and organizing grassroots efforts to support agents on issues that come before state legislators. Follow Kate Rice on Twitter @krtravelweekly.