Contributions to the American Society of Travel Advisors’ political action committee are up this year, indicating growing awareness of the value of political advocacy. Making politicians aware of the particular needs of travel agencies — something many have little understanding of — is crucial.
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Travel advisors appear to be more aware of the need for government advocacy these days, at least according to a new annual report from the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). The report shows a steady increase in the amount of money that travel advisors — from agencies large and small — are donating to the group’s political action committee. It’s doubled in the last five years.
At the same time, ASTA is gearing up for what it hopes will be record attendance at its annual Legislative Day program, scheduled for June 1–5. Members will meet with their representatives on Capitol Hill, where issues such as the Travel Agent Retail Fairness Act and travel to Cuba are among current concerns. Whether on the national or state level, travel advisors who get involved with advocacy say it’s crucial to educate politicians, as most are clueless about travel agency operations.
Skift also looks at the importance of travel advisors understanding the needs and requirements of travelers with disabilities, a market that hotels and cruise lines are getting better equipped to serve. A number of sources are available for training in this often-neglected demographic.
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— Maria Lenhart, Travel Advisor Editor
Travel Advisors Boost Political Contributions in These Highly Partisan Times: Supporting advocacy efforts on the state and federal levels for the rights of travel advisors is gaining momentum. Among indicators are growing contributions to ASTA’s political action committee.
Travelers With Disabilities May Find Advantages in Using Travel Advisor Specialists: The number of people with disabilities is increasing and travel advisors need to understand their needs. If they don’t, not only will they lose business to specialist agencies, they may also risk prosecution.
Cruise Insiders (and Outsiders) Highlight Challenges the Industry Must Address: It was refreshing to hear some honest talk about parts of the cruise industry where there is room for improvement. More, please.
JetBlue Is Flying to Europe and We’re Breaking Down the Competition: JetBlue revealed one of aviation’s worst-kept secrets by announcing flights to Europe. The move will attract fire from competitors, but even so, JetBlue is not risking the company with these new routes.
Delta Air Lines Plans to Reduce Seat Recline in Bet to Make Flyers Happy: This could go one of two ways. Passengers could revolt, taking to social media to complain about Delta’s decision to reduce recline on 62 airplanes. Or customers could be pleasantly surprised at how much space they’ll have under Delta’s new test configuration.
Cruise Execs Dodge the Industry Downsides at Global Gathering: The cruise industry is having a good run. But why not talk frankly about challenges and address them with meaningful solutions?
Hotels and Online Travel Agencies
What Retailer Muji Gets Right With Its New Flagship Hotel: More travelers want a lower price point without sacrificing aesthetics and vibe. Much can be learned from Muji’s example in Tokyo, particularly the product integration and room design.
Expedia and Marriott Finally Sign a New Contract: For pundits looking for a headline that Marriott won reduced commissions from Expedia, the reality is likely far more complex than that, and it might take an audit over the next few years to truly sort out the revenue impact. The new deal has Marriott properties remaining for sale on Expedia brands, as the two companies march off into the sunset maintaining their rough-and-tumble, if symbiotic relationship.
How One Canadian Province Uses Icebergs to Attract Visitors: The best advice for destinations large and small as they embark upon marketing campaigns — keep it real. The efforts of isolated, iceberg-laden Newfoundland and Labrador are proof that going with the authenticity “floe” can melt the hearts of potential visitors.
Skift Travel Advisor Editor Maria Lenhart [[email protected]] curates the Skift Travel Advisor Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday. Have a story idea? Or a juicy news tip? Want to share a memo? Send her an email.
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Photo credit: Travel advisors went to Capitol Hill on May 8, 2018, to lobby congressional representatives. American Society of Travel Advisors / Flickr.com