United's Dave Hilfman to Emcee Advocacy Dinner
Alexandria, VA, March 9, 2016 – The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is planning to tackle the important question of what is disruption versus innovation at the ASTA Global Convention (AGC) in Reno Tahoe Sept. 25-28 at the Peppermill Resort Hotel.
New technologies and changes in distribution arrive in the marketplace at lightning speed, while new business models such as Airbnb and HomeAway, Uber and Lyft, or Amazon and Google, disrupt the status quo. "The travel industry is in its normal state of constant flux," says ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby. "The questions for agents are: what market trends do I need to plan for? Which changes are truly innovative and will impact business? Which are negotiating tactics from industry players who sense an advantage? How can I tell the difference between a mutually beneficial business partner and unwanted competition?"
These are a sampling of the questions that will be asked during AGC where the audience will evaluate information from a variety of industry upstart entrants and established leaders. These topics build upon the discussion started in early February at the exclusive ASTA Premium Business Summit in Charleston, S.C.
During the Charleston meeting, attendees heard from industry stalwarts, such as Ninan Chacko, CEO of Travel Leaders Group, who in this video to ASTA members, talks about where the travel agents of the future will come from, how agents need to market themselves today, and what differentiates agents from OTAs. They also heard from Andy Stuart, President and Chief Operating Officer of Norwegian Cruise line, who in this video talked about today's relationship between cruise lines and travel agents, and how agents stay relevant. And they heard from Sean Menke, President of Sabre Travel Network, on the new distribution capability and the future of the GDSs. All ASTA Global Convention attendees will benefit from further discussion of these and other topics.
Also at AGC, ASTA's reservation-only annual black tie event, the Advocacy Dinner, will take place on Tuesday Sept. 27. "This dinner is our chance to give back to the many individuals and companies that support our advocacy efforts in the legislative process on behalf of all travel agents," said Kerby. "We know they will not be disappointed by this year's Master of Ceremonies, the incomparable Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales for United Airlines, Dave Hilfman."
Back by popular demand, the Global Travel Exchange @AGC will be held for the second year, which brings international travel professionals together with U.S.-based agents to exchange information and conduct business. And finally, as previously announced, the keynote speaker for the event is Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, whose brave landing of a commercial aircraft on the Hudson River in 2009 resulted in all 155 lives being saved. A movie starring Tom Hanks and directed by Clint Eastwood will be released a few weeks before the start of AGC. Watch the movie, meet the man at AGC. ASTA is ready to roll out the red carpet for Capt. Sullenberger, and our members.
All members of the press wishing to cover the Global Convention may register here, subject to approval. Registration and all meals associated with the conference are complimentary to the working press.
ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally based members, it is the leading global advocate for travel agents, the travel industry and the traveling public. ASTA’s history of travel industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931 when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. For more information, visit ASTA.org.
ASTA’s sister association, The National Association of Career Travel Agents, represents a professional community of independent travel agents ready to assist the traveling public.