Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: October 10, 2005

HURRICANES and higher gas prices have not affected the travel bookings of most home-based travel agents, according to the Network of Entrepreneurs Selling Travels "Flying High Flash Poll" taken recently at the NEST member conference in Las Vegas. The majority (86%) of those surveyed said that Katrina has not affected their business, while only 15% said that people are spending less on travel since the hurricane hit. Similarly, 81% said that higher gas prices have not affected their travel business, and 10% said that people are spending less on travel since gas prices soared.

THE POLL also ventured into another area of the travel business that is equally pressing for agents: relationships with suppliers. When asked if they, as home-based travel agents, feel supported by suppliers, 57% said yes, 40% responded somewhat and 3% said no. But, the majority (78%) said that support levels from suppliers have increased over the past few years.

ASTA members overwhelmingly approved a new membership fee structure that offers two levels of service. Under the system, independent agents can opt to pay $250 for a core membership that includes online services such as peer assistance, an electronic library with responses to frequently asked questions, a Broken Promises list of suppliers that have failed to honor agent commitments and an industry business number.
member agencies will pay dues of $2,500 per year for personalized assistance from ASTAs account management team, customized research, extensive networking opportunities and a higher level of involvement in federal and state government relations.



Departures: Nov. 12 from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, cruise only.

Length: Eight days aboard the Mekong Pandaw.

Sponsor: Value World Tours, Fountain Valley, Calif.

Cost: $699 per person, double. Includes lower-deck cabin, three meals per day, onboard activities and all shore excursions.

Trip: Visits Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Mount Nui Sam, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Cambodia; and Cai Be, Chau Doc and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Noteworthy: The companion rate is $100 additional. Single rates can be arranged.

Contact: (800) 795-1633; e-mail: [email protected].


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