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I hope that as a SoCal ASTA Member you have had a terrific first quarter and continue to be successfully busy! Probably so busy that you find yourself saying, "I can't do it all!" Of course, it's in our nature to try...but if we're to be truly successful in our business and personal lives, we must embrace the reality that we can't. In truth, we can be so much more successful if we accept the support of colleagues, our management teams, our consortia, our vendors, and, of course, our ASTA.
Just as in your personal life, you might seek an electrician. physician, gardener, or mechanic to attend to those things at which you're not the expert, so does our industry offer experts as well.
Look to your vendors for marketing and sales support. Make an effort to be trained on their products and, in turn, they can make a difference in your revenue.
The incredibly great consortia and truly professional host agencies are there to educate, market, and support you. Take advantage of what these organizations have to offer. They can be invaluable.
Then, you may ask, where does ASTA fit into your professional life? How is their expertise making a difference for YOU?
Certainly ASTA, without your asking, often without your being aware, proactively supports your success and that of our industry as a whole. Decades old campaigns designed to create consumer awareness, such as "Without a Travel Agent You're on Your Own", to the current rebranding of "us" as "Travel Advisors", have been enhancing our image through countless newspaper and magazine articles, television and radio interviews, online articles and reviews of successful interaction with professional ASTA Travel Advisors.
An extraordinarily helpful arm of ASTA is the legal team.
In the past I have reached out to them on two occasions. Their expertise aided me in successfully collecting several thousands of dollars in commission and in thwarting an extortion scam. Their counsel can be invaluable, a real benefit of your membership in ASTA.
Another benefit, albeit one that most agents don't think about, is the daily advocacy on our industry's behalf. ASTA's awareness in both Sacramento and Washington DC protects OUR interests through lobbying, proactive communication with legislators and publicity regarding pending legislation that could threaten our livelihood.
You may think that new regulations wouldn't have an impact on your success, but ASTA has been the primary force in defeating proposed taxes on your service fees and legislation that would abolish the Independent Contractor status that many Travel Advisors enjoy. One US Congressman had received a complaint from a constituent who hadn't realized they were on a codeshare. Consequently this legislator proposed a bill requiring "travel agents" advise a client with approximately twenty-five pieces of data each and every time a client called for flight information. Failure to do so could result in extremely high punitive fines.
So, it's a "beautiful thing" that you're a member of an organization that exists because of and for you...they're the experts who contribute to your success...even without you knowing it.
ASTA has your back. Appreciate your membership and encourage your colleagues to enhance their careers by becoming SoCal ASTA Members as well!
Here's to even more success in our great industry!
Tama Taylor Holve
SoCal ASTA Chapter President
Tama Willetta Holve, President SoCAL ASTA
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