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January 9, 2013News for travel agents

  Business and Industry Watch 
  • Best Western aids agent education with new online tool
    Best Western International has unveiled a new website that will provide travel agents with information on the hotel chain's properties, products and programs. "Travel Agent Advantage is a major initiative for the brand as we further engage and help educate the travel agent community. By providing a portal designed exclusively to meet agent needs, Travel Agent Advantage provides the resources, information and brand education that is so valuable to the success of agents worldwide," said Dorothy Dowling, a senior vice president at Best Western International. TravelAge West (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Trends and Technology 
  • Experiential trend could boost leisure travel, tour operators say
    A growing desire among travelers for an authentic and immersive travel experience could provide an avenue for tour operators and travel agents to boost their business in 2013, industry leaders say. The continued growth of the baby boomer market and somewhat lower airfares to Europe could also help drive travel demand this year. TravelMarketReport.com (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Luxury hotels are cooking up special inauguration menus
    Several luxury-hotel restaurants are featuring inauguration meals and culinary creations inspired by President Barack Obama. Adour restaurant at The St. Regis Washington D.C. will offer tasting plates from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. during the weekend of the inauguration this month. Seasons at the Four Seasons Hotel will host a Presidential Sunday Brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Inauguration Day, featuring some of Obama's favorite dishes and those inspired by his Chicago hometown. Forbes (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Hotels shift to fast-casual dining concepts
    Hotels are catering to guests who want healthy food on the go. Another trend is meals and beverages of different sizes. "The typical breakfast, lunch, dinner -- appetizer, entree, dessert model is not something that our guests are responding to anymore," said Beth Scott, who manages Hilton's eating concepts. USA Today (1/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Consumer Travel News 
  Regulatory and Legislative 
  • TSA is working to ease screening process for fliers, Pistole says
    The Transportation Security Administration continues to work toward streamlining its screening methods to increase its effectiveness and reduce stress on travelers who undergo its procedures, John Pistole, the agency's administrator, says in this interview. "We are looking at a whole range of options to significantly expand the known and trusted population simply with a recognition that the vast majority of the people traveling ... just want to get from Point A to Point B safely," Pistole said. Pistole hinted at future trusted-traveler initiatives that will follow the model of the PreCheck and Global Entry programs. Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model) (1/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Best Practices 
  • Pet-friendly travel carries added considerations
    Travel agents need to familiarize themselves with pet-friendly amenities offered by travel suppliers as well as local and international government policies regarding animal transport as more travelers express the desire to bring their pets along on vacations. Planning for pet travel also entails finding pet-friendly services and attractions at the destination. TravelAge West (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Small-Business Strategies 
  • Sharpen customer service in 4 simple steps
    To improve your organization's customer service, first carefully track customers' feedback, then solicit feedback with your service team, writes Flavio Martins, customer support vice president at DigiCert. Two other tips: Line up intense service training for your team and then measure service improvements that follow. B2C Marketing Insider (1/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Top tips for better hiring in the new year
    Business owners who want to make smarter hiring choices in 2013 should enlist the power of social media to find strong candidates, but also rely on referrals from their own workers, writes Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media. Other tips: Link social media efforts to the company website and focus advertising on sites specific to your industry. Small Business Trends (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASTA Spotlight 
  • Webinar: How to use Twitter to engage your clients
    On Jan. 16, Andrew Hickey, G Adventures' social media expert, will share with you the "roll up your sleeves" real-world tips and tricks for making Twitter work for travel companies. You will learn how to attract new customers, keep in touch with existing customers, engage new audiences, distinguish how much effort is required to manage a Twitter account and determine your company's ROI. Join him at 2 p.m. EST by registering for the webinar. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Want to get your company noticed?
    Attention, ASTA International members: Having you and your company profiled in ASTA's e-newsletter, Dateline Weekly, is an exclusive International Member benefit and allows you to showcase you and your services so you can build global contacts. More agents will click through to your website and ask for your expertise when sending clients to your country. Learn more about this opportunity today by contacting pr@asta.org. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Learn more about ASTA ->Resources  |  Conferences  |  Consumer Travel Information  |  Join ASTA

  Sponsored Poll 
  • Does your business use digital signs or kiosks to communicate with customers?
Yes
No

  • Does your front-line staff use mobile devices -- such as handheld scanners and mobile point of sale -- to help serve customers?
Yes
No

  • How effectively do you think your company harnesses the data it gathers to improve customer service?
Very well
Moderately well
Not well
We don't do it at all

  SmartQuote 
If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today."
--E. Joseph Cossman,
American entrepreneur and inventor


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