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January 8, 2013News for travel agents

  Business and Industry Watch 
  • Disney introduces bracelet technology to make parks even friendlier
    This spring, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., will launch a program that will allow participating customers to bypass entry turnstiles and use rubber bracelets encoded with credit card data to enter and buy items inside the park. Customers also would be alerted by smartphone when certain rides without lines become available. The bracelets are part of a vacation management system called MyMagic+, which is part of a larger effort to make the park easier for guests to navigate. "If we can enhance the experience, more people will spend more of their leisure time with us," said Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Thomas O. Staggs. The new technology also will allow Disney to track guest behavior, but observers say Disney is aware of potential privacy concerns. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Surging demand prompted fleet expansion, Viking chairman says
    Viking River Cruises' Chairman Torstein Hagen says his company's push to build 24 new ships by 2014 was spurred by a mounting interest in river cruises. The cruise line is preparing to launch 10 new ships this year and eight in 2014. "We're just meeting the demand that we see," Hagen said. Travel Weekly (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Trends and Technology 
  • ARC says air-ticket sales by travel agents rose in 2012
    Ticket sales by travel agents during the first 11 months of 2012 reached a total of $79.8 billion, compared with $77.2 billion during the same period in 2011, Airlines Reporting Corp. reports. The consolidated dollar value of tickets sold by agents rose 3.35% year-over-year from figures in 2011. "The number of transactions for international flights shows a bit of a stronger performance year-over-year in comparison to U.S. domestic travel," said Chuck Thackston of ARC. TravelAge West (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Travel Weekly Spotlight 
  • Travel Weekly Preview: Looking ahead to 2013
    The travel industry is poised for a good year in 2013. The industry's engines aren't firing perfectly on all cylinders just yet, but they are purring well enough to meet demand, maybe exceed expectations, and make a profit. Peruse Travel Weekly's annual Preview issue, including interviews by Editor in Chief Arnie Weissmann with nine travel CEOs, and sector-by-sector looks at the year ahead. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  Home-Based Agent Update 
  Consumer Travel News 
  • Carnival in Trinidad encourages visitors to participate
    Tourists looking for a more immersive experience at Carnival may head for Trinidad, where they can dress up in flashy costumes and join in on the revelry on the streets. Arriving a few days before Carnival will allow visitors to watch smaller festivities in the build-up to the main event. TravelAge West (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Regulatory and Legislative 
  • TSA tests "managed inclusion" screening program at some airports
    The Transportation Security Administration is testing a new behavioral screening method at airports in Tampa, Fla., and Indianapolis. The "managed inclusion" program has TSA personnel observing passengers in queues for eligibility to use the airport's PreCheck lanes. "As you are in the queue, behavior detection officers will be observing you, and if they feel that there is nothing that alarms them, you might be asked to come out of the queue, and invited to go through the PreCheck lane," said David Castelveter, a spokesman for the TSA. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/On the Road (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Best Practices 
  • Column: Sticking to the straight and narrow, despite the costs
    As they go about their business, travel agents will occasionally come across situations in which their integrity is put to the test, Steve Cousino writes. "Sometimes, the correct way to proceed is easy and clear, other times it's horribly clouded and we are left wondering what to do. ... Oftentimes, adhering to ethical standards means you lose out. You lose out on potential business, however good it may seem, or you lose the biggest clients you've ever had because you won't book them the way they wished," Cousino writes. Travel Research Online (1/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Small-Business Strategies 
  • 4 ways to maintain an optimistic company culture
    Research shows that optimism has waned among small-business owners, but it's important to stay upbeat, writes Stephanie Faris. "A business owner's bleak outlook can spread to employees, lowering morale and further impacting the bottom line," she writes. You can maintain a positive culture by finding ways to motivate your staff members and by working to generate new leads, she writes. Intuit Small Business Blog (1/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Let employees take over key duties to spur business growth
    To allow a small business to grow, owners must be able to hand key responsibilities to trusted employees, writes Curt Finch. When passing on duties, clearly explain the goals and expectations to the employee, and get it in writing so you and the employee can measure productivity. "[I]t can be difficult to let someone else take care of your baby, but it is almost always in the business's best interest to create a team with diverse and useful skills to improve processes," Finch writes. Small Business Trends (1/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASTA Spotlight 
  • Last chance to receive discounted stand rates at IDE Dubai
    Don't miss ASTA's International Destination Expo (IDE) Dubai, April 4-7. Exhibiting at ASTA's IDE will allow your company to connect with the most influential business leaders in the industry, including the largest and most powerful travel agencies around the world. This week is your last chance to purchase your stand at our discounted rates. Receive a complimentary year of membership with ASTA, valued at $579, with your stand purchase. Purchase a stand today -- rates increase Jan. 15. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • ASTA members: Find peace of mind with a TOP member
    ASTA's Tour Operator Program (TOP) is designed to highlight tour operators who are reliable, adhering to the high standards set by ASTA. TOP's elite tour operators give travel agents the power to earn BIG commissions and peace of mind for their clients. Take advantage of these exciting offers by checking out the TOP Member Specials here! LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Learn more about ASTA ->Resources  |  Conferences  |  Consumer Travel Information  |  Join ASTA

It is wise to keep in mind that neither success nor failure is ever final."
--Roger Babson,
American entrepreneur and business theorist

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