Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Travel Agents

Nexion President Elected New ASTA Chair at Puerto Rico Convention

10 months ago

The American Society of Travel Advisors elected Nexion Travel Group President Jackie Friedman as its new chair for 2023-2024.

ASTA elected Jackie Friedman, president of Nexion Travel Group, as its new chair. Source: Nexion Travel Group

Friedman replaced Marc Casto, who served as board chair for the past two years. Friedman’s post likewise has a two-year term.

“It’s an incredible honor to be the new chair for the ASTA Board of Directors,” said Friedman in a statement. “My sincere thanks go to Marc Casto for his leadership over the past two terms, and I am excited to work with this tremendous group of travel professionals.”

The changing of the guard took place at the trade group’s annual convention in Puerto Rico last week.

In a LinkedIn post, Casto, cited the growth of ASTA’s membership, as well as the passage of the Travel & Tourism Act, as among the the organization’s accomplishments during his tenure.

Casto was a long-time corporate travel executive, and currently is a senior vice president at Flight Centre.

“We have made extraordinary growth in our three goals of achieving 20,000 members by 2025, defining a path for net zero by 2030, and expanding ASTA’s influence and operations globally,” Casto wrote.

One challenge for travel agencies, many of which deal heavily with clients seeking luxury vacations, will be to see whether inflationary concerns weigh down their businesses. So far, by most accounts, the luxury space remains robust.

In addition to Friedman, ASTA elected the following officers, according to the group’s announcement:

  • Corporate Advisory Council Chair – Kathy Bedell, senior vice president, BCD Travel
    • Vice Chair/Secretary – Lee Thomaschief operating officer, Altour; president, Business Travel & The Travel Authority 
    • Treasurer – Kelly Bergin, CEO, Duglin Travel Group
    • Corporate Advisory Council Chair – Kathy Bedell, senior vice president, BCD Travel

    Travel Agents

    Travel Agency Fora Raises $13.5 Million With Aim to Attract More Prospective Agents

    2 years ago

    Fora, a New York-based travel agency that launched last year, announced on Thursday it raised $13.5 million.

    Venture capital companies Heartcore Capital and Forerunner co-led the Series A funding. Fora, which has raised a total of $18.5 million to date, aims to use the funding to invest heavily in infrastructure, including its own booking management system. Co-founder Evan Frank said the funds will also help the company recruit more prospective travel agents, as nearly half of U.S. travelers plan to use agents coming out of the pandemic. Fora estimates that 97 percent of its roughly 500 advisors had never previously sold travel.

    “We are looking to create an environment to empower thousands — hundreds of thousands — of people to participate in the travel industry in a way not previously was not possible,” said Frank. “We want to welcome the next 100,000 travel agents into the industry.”

    Travel Agents

    Expedia Group Launches New Rewards Program for U.S. Travel Advisors

    2 years ago

    Expedia Group announced on Thursday it’s launching a new rewards program exclusively for U.S.-based travel advisors in its Travel Agent Affiliate Program (TAAP).

    Travel advisors enrolled in the program can earn reward points on eligible bookings on the Expedia TAAP U.S. site. They can redeem points and claim preferred gift cards, track the rewards points balance at any time, and be eligible for future reward earning opportunities through promotions. In addition, advisors earn one reward point for every dollar spent on lodging, with the points available to be redeemed one week after the trip is completed.   

    “TAAP is a program full of constant innovation and exciting opportunities that are designed to help advisors offer once in a lifetime travel experiences to their clients,” said Expedia Group’s TAAP Director Phoebe Bush.

    “Advisors are an integral part of the travel industry ecosystem. We hope that our TAAP exclusive incentives and rewards for U.S. travel agents will help advisors maximize their revenue and enjoy some extra perks for their hard work.”