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March 12, 2013News for travel agents

  Business and Industry Watch 
  • Hilton, Marriott change loyalty programs
    Starting March 28, members of Hilton's HHonors loyalty program will notice changes -- namely, it will require more points for free stays. "Even after the program changes, Hilton HHonors members spend less for a free night than any of the major competitors," said Hilton spokesman Scott Carman. Marriott is moving 36% of its hotels into higher-tier categories, which will make it cost more in points to cash in on rooms. USA Today/Hotel Check-in blog (3/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
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  Trends and Technology 
  • Some cruise lines, tour operators go solo-friendly
    The single supplement continues to be an obstacle for solo travelers worldwide, with many single consumers unable to realize their travel dreams due to these steep charges levied by suppliers, this feature says. However, a number of tour operators and cruise lines have taken steps to attract the single traveler by waiving single supplements on some products and offering packages specially designed for solo travelers. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (3/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Airlines aim to boost Wi-Fi speed, capacity
    Airlines are struggling to keep up with the demand for quicker Wi-Fi. Gogo is upgrading its ATG technology to an improved version known as ATG-4, which will accommodate more passengers without degrading the quality of service. ATG-4 adds a second modem and two more antennas on a plane to provide better service to more fliers. Travel Weekly (3/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Washington, D.C., hotels go green to entice travelers
    A Starwood Element hotel is planned for Washington, D.C.'s, Southwest waterfront, and it will feature eco-friendly appliances in a LEED-certified building. Other hotels in the district are deploying sustainability measures as a way to save money and go green in an effort to attract clientele. Kimpton offers its EarthCare Program, which uses energy-efficient appliances and eco-friendly cleaning products. The Washington Post/Capital Business (3/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Travel Weekly Spotlight 

  Home-Based Agent Update 
  • Column: Deal documentation avoids disputes with host agencies
    Most disagreements regarding payment and commissions that arise between home-based agents and their host agencies can be averted by putting agreements in writing, writes travel lawyer Jeff Miller. He cites incidents in which a written agreement could have prevented costly legal disputes and inconvenience to clients. TravelPulse (3/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Consumer Travel News 
  • Carlsbad, Calif.'s, beach scene draws aspiring surfers
    Travelers with the itch to be the next surfing legend can get their start in Carlsbad, Calif., where experienced tutors and gentle waves may help bring out their inner surfers. Taking a break from the lessons offers the chance to see some of the tourist attractions nearby, such as the Del Mar racetrack, San Diego Zoo Safari Park and SeaWorld. The Washington Post (3/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Regulatory and Legislative 
  • Campaign for standardized travel-insurance rules continues
    Travel agents can count California, Washington and Virginia among the industry's latest victories in the campaign to relax insurance regulations for travel. The nationwide effort is led by the U.S. Travel Insurance Association with support from ASTA. The two groups ultimately seek to remove cumbersome licensing requirements for selling travel insurance in every state. Travel Weekly (3/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Best Practices 
  • Column: How agents can ensure a true, worry-free vacation
    Agents need to take their own vacations every now and then to recharge their batteries, Steve Cousino writes. To keep work from intruding on their relaxation, agents should get all pending tasks done, organize their desks before leaving and set up their phones and e-mail accounts to forward messages to a backup colleague, Cousino writes. Travel Research Online (3/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Small-Business Strategies 
  • Getting customers to sing your praises
    Happy customers are great, but customers who can't stop raving about your business are even better, and it's not hard to get them, writes Jennifer Horowitz, marketing director for EcomBuffet. She suggests giving customers "one nicely placed freebie" that surprises them, use honesty when talking about the advantages and limitations of your product, or perhaps deliver the service faster than promised. B2C Marketing Insider (3/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASTA Spotlight 
  • Make NACTA's calendar your calendar
    The National Association of Career Travel Agents' website features a comprehensive calendar that allows agents to register for webinars, regional meetings, Seminars @ Sea and more. It is the best place to plan your educational opportunities. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • You can rely on ASTA's Tour Operators for unbeatable service
    ASTA's Tour Operator Program (TOP) highlights members eager to provide reliable services to travel agent members and their clients. The TOP program is composed of tour operators who agree to adhere to stricter membership standards, abide by a tour operator code of ethics and are committed to promoting the use of tour operators by travel agents. TOP members provide new tour specials every month. Take advantage of the current TOP specials available. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glow-worm."
--Winston Churchill,
British prime minister

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