The Western Association of
Travel Agencies (Westa) has become the latest industry group to encourage its
agencies’ membership in ASTA by subsidizing the cost.
ASTA said Westa agencies
can join ASTA for $199 per year if their annual sales are under $5 million (a
$126 savings) or $399 per year if their annual sales are between $5 and $10
million (a $131 savings).
Westa is a member-owned
marketing cooperative with about 150 agency members based mostly in California,
Oregon and Washington.
Westa COO Mike Estill said
that ASTA membership is valuable.
“They get a strong partner
watching their backs in both D.C. and their state capital, participation in a
high-profile consumer-outreach program promoting retail agencies and a direct
channel to insider industry knowledge that would be difficult to find elsewhere
at any price,” he said.
Zane Kerby, ASTA’s
president and CEO, said that Westa agencies would benefit from their visibility
to consumers through ASTA's membership directory as well as its initiatives to
market agents to the public.
In early 2014, ASTA began
signing membership agreements with consortia who wanted to subsidize, or
mandate, membership in the society, which has helped bolster its ranks.
Both Signature Travel
Network and Travel Leaders Franchise Group have mandated membership. Travel
Leaders agencies do not have to join until they are up for renewal, which is
spread out over a two-year period, so for some the mandate has not yet taken
effect, according to Jennifer Michels, ASTA’s vice president of communications.
The MAST Travel Network subsidizes memberships.