ASTA is changing its name from the American Society of Travel Agents to the American Society of Travel Advisors, CEO Zane Kerby said in a webinar with members on Thursday.

And, NACTA -- the National Association of Career Travel Agents, which ASTA acquired 18 years ago -- will also receive a new name: the ASTA Small Business Network.

Kerby said that changing "agent" to "advisor" in ASTA's name "more accurately describes the value we provide to consumers and is a distinct declaration of who we work for, the traveling consumer." 

The change follows a consumer research project that ASTA started a little more than a year ago, according to the CEO. In addition to focus groups held in different cities around the world, ASTA polled thousands of consumers online, testing different terms agents use to describe their professions like "agent," "consultant," "planner," "professional" and "advisor."

The feedback was clear, and consumers preferred the term advisor, Kerby said.

ASTA's new logo will be unveiled at the ASTA Global Convention later this month in Washington, D.C.

Many discussions were held with stakeholders about NACTA's name change, NACTA president Ann Chamberlin said.

"I'm here to reassure you that the best of NACTA stays," she said. "The main change is our name."

In addition to the name changes, ASTA previewed changes coming to TravelSense.org, its consumer-facing, lead-generation website, and a new consumer marketing campaign.

Enhancements to the website are expected to be revealed at the ASTA convention, Kerby said. ASTA said the new version of the site will be cleaner and more simply designed. There will also be a chat feature, enabling consumers to chat with agents who are online through the platform. If a consumer lands on an agent's profile page and the agent is online, they will have the opportunity to chat live.

For its upcoming consumer-awareness campaign, "We'll Take You There," ASTA partnered with Reingold, a public relations firm in Alexandria, Va.

Eben Peck, ASTA's executive vice president of advocacy, said the Society has made consumer awareness one of its major focuses, in addition to representing the interests of members before the government and the travel industry.

 

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