IATAN: Effective with the
new year, the International Airlines Travel Agent Network (Iatan),
a subsidiary created 20 years ago by the International Air
Transport Association (IATA) to operate its agency program in the
U.S., will cease doing business. The agency program, which will
keep the Iatan brand name, will be operated as a department of
IATA. The move was planned and revealed earlier this year. The
revamped structure will be transparent to agents, with products and
services remaining the same. Iatan management, including president
and CEO Denise Ladouceur, will remain in place. Iatan board members
will resign their posts effective Dec. 31, although most will
continue their involvement on an Iatan advisory board.
RECRUITMENT: What do host
agencies look for when recruiting agent members? There's no single
answer, but an interesting one came from Harvey Siamon, co-owner of
Incentive Connection Travel. The Phoenix-based host agency takes a
novel approach to expanding its roster of members; it's almost
entirely from word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals. "We
don't spend much on marketing. When our agents go to seminars or on
fams, they inevitably come back recommending someone to us. And we
get referrals from ASTA and Nacta." Experience is good, he added,
"but we will take newbies if they have the right
MILLION operation has 1,000
member agents. "Our bread-and-butter people -- those who qualify
for the Iatan card -- number about 500. And we have 500 still
working their way toward that," he said. Siamon has operated his
business for 24 years, charges no sign-up or monthly fees and on
average delivers 13% commission on all sales. "We are constantly
expanding," he said. In the end, "the mechanics of learning the
business are easy." "Travel isn't rocket science. The most
important thing we look for is a caring nature. That's the key to
making it in this business. You gotta give the service."
DATEBOOK: The St. Louis
chapter of OSSN will meet Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Junior League of
St. Louis, 10435 Clayton Road, St. Louis, Mo. Topics of discussion
will be Amadeus Waterways and BWI Vacations. The cost to members is
$15; nonmembers, $20. Sign up by emailing [email protected].
FAM OF THE WEEK
Departure: Feb. 5 from
any Lufthansa gateway to Tel Aviv.
Sponsor: Ya'lla Tours
USA, Portland, Ore.
Cost: From $1,395 to
$1,595 per person, double, depending on departure city. Includes
roundtrip air, accommodations, transfers, most meals, sightseeing
and entrance fees.
Trip: Visits the Dead
Sea, Galilee, Jerusalem, Masada and Tel Aviv.
Noteworthy: This is an
Contact: (800) 644-1595
or (503) 977-3758; fax: (503) 977-3765; e-mail: [email protected].