2001 ASTA congress primer

ffordability is now billed as a big reason to attend ASTA's World Travel Congress in Seville, slated for Nov. 6 to 11. For $755, delegates can spend a week in Spain virtually without opening their wallets.

"The opportunity to attend the industry's premier event and explore beautiful Spain at that price does not come along often," said Ralph Ferrara, ASTA congress chairman. "We are confident these rates will encourage agents who think an international congress isn't in their budget to reconsider."

For $755, ASTA agents will receive roundtrip air fare and five nights' hotel accommodations; educational and product seminars; free enrollment in the Spain Specialist program; trade show access; a day-and-a-half of sightseeing tours; most meals; hands-on technology training; entertainment, and entrance to networking events and sessions with guest speakers such as former first lady Barbara Bush.

Juan Jose Guemes, Spain's secretary general of tourism, left, and Ralph Ferrara, ASTA chairman of this year's congress. Congress highlights include an opening reception from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 6, followed by entertainment from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., sponsored by Royal Caribbean International/Celebrity Cruises.

Chapter kick-off dinners start at 8 p.m. at a variety of locations in and around Seville.

Morning seminar sessions will take place from Nov. 7 to 10, each day running from 8:45 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Seminars slated for Nov. 7 will cover Web design, creating a meaningful workplace, customer service and a session titled the Last Laugh, which will be on agents surviving in an Internet world, given by Inc. magazine writer Anne Stuart. In addition, the International Airlines Travel Agent Network will debut its "Latin America Made Easy" video during the morning seminar sessions.

From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. is the first general session, with a welcome by the Spain host committee and an address by ASTA president Richard Copland.

From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., the schedule calls for the trade show. The opening gala, sponsored by the host committee and the Tourist Office of Spain, will kick off on Cartuja Island at 7:30 p.m.

Sightseeing tours of Seville will be offered during the congress. On Nov. 8, the morning seminars will be on how to optimize PC usage and specialist sessions on Spain, Ireland and Mexico. That day's general session, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., will feature keynote addresses by Barbara Bush and Walt Disney Travel president Randy Garfield, who will speak on the legacy of Walt Disney.

The trade show, following the general session, will take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. That night, at 9 p.m., Israel-sponsored entertainment will feature dance performers.

Seminars on Nov. 9 offer a session on e-mail tips. The trade show will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by seminars from 2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. on cybertravel specialists, family travel, selling to the affluent and e-business.

Hands-on technology seminars are offered from 3:45 p.m. to 5 p.m. as well as product seminars on British Heritage Tours, Amtrak, Disney and cruise lines (to be named).

Morning seminars on Nov. 10 will be on e-mail tips, negotiating net pricing, creative marketing, reengineering your agency and industry ethics. The general session will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon, followed by half-day sightseeing tours in Seville and Italica.

The final gala, at 7:30 p.m., is sponsored by the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, host of 2002's ASTA congress in Honolulu. On Nov. 11, full-day sightseeing tours will be offered to Carmona, Donana and Osuna.

For more details, visit ASTAnet.com or call (703) 739-2782 to speak with a meetings representative.

-- Michele San Filippo

In tune with technology

ands-on technology seminars at this year's ASTA World Travel Congress in Seville, Spain, are designed to help agents untangle the Web and explain the latest technology crazes.

The sessions, courtesy of Galileo, will be held each day and will cover topics ranging from e-mail tips and tricks to Web site design.

Sessions are designed to teach how to create Web sites, or enhance existing sites, in order to increase profit and sales, track the number of hits for demographic studies or eliminate huge postage bills by utilizing the Internet.

Seville's Palacio de Congresos will be the site of the 2001 ASTA World Travel Congress' seminars, general sessions and trade show. Some of the more in-depth seminars include Navigating the Pilot, Surfing the Internet and Web Page Design.

The Navigating the Pilot seminar is designed to educate agents on optimizing the use of handheld devices, which promise quick ways to communicate.

Agents will also learn about the benefits of accessing the Internet via handheld devices, taking their businesses on the road, accessing resources and instantly sending data to others.

The Surfing the Net session will show agents how to maximize the Internet as a resource tool. The session will cover the benefits of different Internet providers, the value of using different search engines and search sites, how to phrase search queries to get accurate information and how to set up a home page.

The Web Page Design seminar is designed to show the effects a well-crafted Web site can have on business. From the basics to advanced techniques, this seminar will take a hands-on approach to designing and customizing a home page or Web site.

Scoop of all scoops

hile most focus on the potential merger of United and US Air, I know the truth. An even larger merger has taken place, resulting in the creation of the world's largest airline.

I can reveal that the mega-airline will be named Amdelighted. I met with the new airline's chief executive officer, Art Armstrong, at a Krispy Kreme located between Dallas and Atlanta.

Richard Turen.Will consumers be better off with the creation of Amdelighted?

"Why, of course they will. Just walk into any agency today and look at a CRS screen. It's confusing with all those airlines, codes and flight choices. Amdelighted is going to simplify the flying process."

Where have all the toilets gone?

"We are going to be the first airline to totally dispense with drink service and cut down on our food portions.

"We're going to insist that our agent partners advise clients to refrain from drinking water on the day prior to a flight.

"If we all cooperate, we will be able to ease those rest room lines at the back of the aircraft."

Is there anything you can do to give us more room in your seats?

"I'm 5'1" and I fit in those seats just fine, at least the ones in the front of the plane.

"I hear that the ones behind the curtain have a tad less room.

"But once again, Amdelighted will continue to work on behalf of its customers to solve this problem.

"Once the seat belt sign has been turned off, passengers are free to stroll about the cabin to wait in line outside the lavatory. It's good exercise."

Will we be seeing any schedule changes from your new airline now that you control 83% of the country's slots?

"Well, of course we need more slots. But until we get them, we will do everything we can to deliver more promises to our customers.

"For instance, we have just announced that we will be increasing our take-offs from O'Hare to Columbus, Ohio, to 13 very narrow bodies per day. And seven of those flights will depart at 9 a.m."

Richard Turen is an industry consultant and travel agency president. Contact him at [email protected].


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