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December 31, 2012News for travel agents

  Business and Industry Watch 
  • New tour partnership could revitalize U.S. travel to Cuba
    Cuba may once again become a viable travel destination for Americans thanks to a newly approved partnership between operator General Tours and nonprofit group Insight Cuba. The potential resurgence in Cuban travel was made possible by President Barack Obama's restoration of the people-to-people tour program. Four Cuban tours will be available for booking in 2013, featuring seven-, eight- and 11-night programs. (12/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Trends and Technology 
  • Air travelers may see higher fares, "rebundled" fees in 2013
    Ticket prices will continue to rise in 2013 as reduced competition and seat-reduction strategies allow carriers to retain pricing power, airline-industry experts say. The practice of "rebundling" services -- offering several fare tiers packaged with a selection of ancillary services -- may also see a rise. "The airline industry is in a period of transition regarding the pricing of its products. Airlines will offer fare products, such as basic, basic-plus and comfort, and allow consumers to purchase their desired level of comfort," said Jay Sorensen, president of airline consultant IdeaWorks. Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model) (12/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Hotels move to serve guests with their own video content sources
    The hotel TV is shifting from the traditional video-on-demand model to serving as an access point for travelers with subscriptions to third-party video content providers, this feature says. "One trend right now is that travelers have subscriptions to services where they have access to content rather than bringing it with them everywhere. It is nice for a guest to turn on the guestroom television and see an app for Amazon Video or Netflix, which they already pay for and can then use," said Bob Wagener, a vice president at Roomlinx. Hotel Management online (12/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Inbound tourism rises in several Asian markets
    Initial data released by the Pacific Asia Travel Association indicate that overall foreign visitation in Asia increased 5.5.% year over year between January and September 2012. Tourism growth in South Asia was modest compared with last year, while other Asian markets such as South Korea, Taipei and Japan recorded double-digit increases. (free registration) (12/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Consumer Travel News 
  • Jerusalem's tourist spots offer more than history, deep spirituality
    Jerusalem's largest tourism draw may be its holy sites that are rich in history and religious significance, but several other attractions may help paint the local color more clearly for tourists. Visitors may drop by the Mahane Yehuda market and sample a variety of cuisines, or explore the Mishkenot Sha'ananim neighborhood with its winding alleys and amazing views of the Old City. Associated Press (12/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Regulatory and Legislative 
  • Airport security of the future goes high-tech
    A new security model is being developed by a 12-member advisory group that includes airline and airport executives, government officials, Interpol security specialists and United Nations International Civil Aviation Authority personnel. In 2013, dozens of trials are set to launch for security models that would focus on technology screening and behavior observation instead of physical pat-downs, liquid inspection and shoe removal. Business Day (South Africa) (12/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Best Practices 
  • Travel-industry leaders define excellent customer service
    During a forum at the St. Regis Bal Harbour resort in Bal Harbor-Miami Beach, Fla., leaders from various segments of the travel industry shared their views on how to provide superior customer service. Constant availability, openness and the ability to anticipate the customer's needs and desires are key to enhancing their experience and building a lasting relationship, they said. Travel Agent Central (12/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Small-Business Strategies 
  • How customers evolve and what it means for business
    Customers begin as prospects, but businesses, with skill and persistence, can turn them into customers and then returning customers, says business writer Lisa Fugere. But returning customers typically evolve into former customers as well, often because of missteps by the business, she writes. The good news: Customers then come full circle, Fugere writes, and are once again prospects. B2C Marketing Insider (12/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Creative tactics for expanding your e-mail list
    You may be able to make sure your e-mail marketing list stays healthy by using some creative tactics, writes D.J. Waldow, founder of Waldow Social. You can do this in several ways, such as by offering a smartphone app or creating QR codes, he writes. "[I]t's critical that you test what works best for your audience," he writes. Duct Tape Marketing (12/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASTA Spotlight 
  • Connect with consumers through the TravelSense Facebook page
    Check out and "Like" the TravelSense Facebook page for consumers, based on ASTA's consumer Website Here you can directly connect with consumers to share travel destinations and tips. Conversations between travel professionals and consumers can lead to strong relationships with potential clients. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Learn more about ASTA ->Resources  |  Conferences  |  Consumer Travel Information  |  Join ASTA

  Editor's Note 
  • SmartBrief will not publish Tuesday
    In observance of New Year's Day, SmartBrief will not publish Tuesday. Publication will resume Wednesday. Enjoy the holiday! LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Never tell your resolution beforehand, or it's twice as onerous a duty."
--John Selden,
English jurist and scholar

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