SAN FRANCISCO — ASTA on Thursday revealed a new credo during its Global Convention here, defining its members as professionals and endorsing the charging of fees.
"What separates ASTA member businesses from the pack is a set of core beliefs, a credo," CEO Zane Kerby said. "The board asked us to work on a statement of belief that would complement our mission statement. Who are we? What principles guide our profession and, thus, our organization?"
The credo joins ASTA's mission statement and code of ethics. The credo states:
• ASTA member travel advisors are globally recognized for their skill, competence, expertise and professionalism in an increasingly complex travel ecosystem.
• ASTA member advisors regularly utilize educational resources and certifications to continuously increase their skill and knowledge.
• All ASTA members abide by the ASTA Code of Ethics, which protects the integrity of the travel industry as a whole, giving consumers confidence that they're working with a true professional.
• ASTA travel advisors often charge clients professional fees, to reflect the value of the unique services they provide to their clients. We support this as a best practice.
Board chair Marc Casto said ASTA's goal of getting to 20,000 members by 2025 is on track. Photo Credit: Jamie Biesiada
The point on fees was met with applause from the audience.
"Contemplate how they apply and what we can do collectively to live up to these principles now and moving forward," Kerby said. "This is how we unite as an industry and develop integrity and continue to earn the trust of travelers and the world."
A more modern website
Kerby also unveiled that ASTA's website, Asta.org, has undergone a redesign to make it more modern, mobile-friendly and easy to navigate.
The revamped site, which will be launched Sept. 1, was designed to address three primary audiences: ASTA members, the traveling public looking to connect with a travel advisor and those interested in selling travel for a living.
During a press conference, Kerby said the board of directors decided 18 months ago to invest significant resources in the new website.
"Right now, our website looks like a 1990s association encyclopedia website, and it is not befitting an association for the best industry in the world," he said. "Our members make magic, make travel dreams become reality and make those memories magical."
He called the new site "a major step forward" to displaying the professionalism of ASTA's members.
ASTA gets closer to membership goal
Marc Casto, the chair of ASTA's board, provided an update on the Society's efforts to reach 20,000 members by 2025 during the press conference.
"We have blasted through all of our targets," said Casto, who noted the Society now has north of 17,000 members.
Membership has increased 20% over the past year, he said.
More from the ASTA Global Convention:
ASTA receives a 'record-breaking show of support'
Debby Corwin wins ASTA Entrepreneur-of-the-Year award
A large portion of ASTA's membership base is now made up of independent contractors (ICs), according to the board's vice chair and secretary, Jackie Friedman. In fact, some 7,000 members are ICs, which she called "arguably the fastest-growing segment in the industry."
That segment remains key in the Society's goal of 20,000 members by 2025, Friedman said, as is the retention of existing members.
More than 600 travel advisors, and 1,000 attendees in total, are at this year's ASTA Global Convention at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel.