ASTA Global Convention Educates and Inspires

Written by: Michelle on September 07, 2018

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The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) held their annual Global Convention in Washington D.C. from August 21-23. Rick Zimmerman, KHM Travel Group’s President, and Bill Coyle, from our Agent Development team, traveled to the nation’s capital for this informative and exciting event. More than 20 of KHM Travel Group’s ASTA member agents joined Bill and Rick for a series of tours, presentations, and meetings during the convention.

On the first day of the convention, agents could explore Washington D.C. with one of the several of the offered tours, such as the monuments bike tour or the self-guided tour through Ford’s Theatre. These were also valuable opportunities for agents to gain first-hand knowledge of the experiences their clients can have when visiting the nation’s capital. In the afternoon, agents attended a variety of learning sessions and met with their fellow ASTA members to network and discuss the travel industry, business practices, and experiences as travel agent.

The next day, agents took part in a tradeshow in the morning and attended destination-focused sessions in the afternoon. Some of the featured destinations included Alaska, China, Israel, and the Hawaiian Islands. Those that wanted a stronger focus on business participated in sessions that explored compliance, the effect of local politics on business, and opportunities to grow their travel businesses.

The third morning’s sessions, covering cybersecurity, maximizing sales, avoiding compliance mistakes, special needs travel, operating a business with integrity, and unlocking your potential. The afternoon offered more opportunities to build destination knowledge, with Brazil, South Korea, and Australia being the key areas of focus. Though perhaps the most highly anticipated presentation of the day was from keynote speaker, Jake Trapper, CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent. Ryan, owner of Take Me Away Travel said,

“The keynote speakers were amazing… Jake Tapper [was] a favorite of mine!!… [He] talked about current affairs and took questions from the audience.”

While the destination presentations were helpful to agents, some attendees were also able to explore new cultures through touring embassies. Susan, owner of Footsteps World Travel, visited the embassies of Jamaica and Hungary. She said,

“Going to the embassies and meeting the ambassadors of both Jamaica and Hungary was very special. I know how tight security is at an embassy, and I was honored to be there. Learning about the two countries by tasting food, beverages, music, and seeing a PowerPoint was educational and lots of fun!”

Susan also shared how the ASTA Global Convention differed from other travel industry events she has attended:

“The ASTA Global Convention was really different than other conventions that I have been to as it was truly a Global Convention. I met Travel Advisors from all over the world. I was also able to talk with representatives from all different countries that I have not been exposed to at other conventions.”

Reflecting on her experience at the ASTA Global Convention and how ASTA has impacted her as a travel agent, Shaliece, owner of Oh Sheesh Travel said,

“Knowing that I am part of ASTA makes me feel more empowered as a Travel Advisor because I know they are advocating for my rights, and that I can do the same here in my own backyard.”

ASTA not only provides our agents with advocacy and a voice on a federal, state, and local level, but it continues to offer its members and member agencies, like KHM Travel Group, incredible opportunities to learn, connect, and explore the world around us. We were thrilled to have more agent participation at this event than ever before, and we are already looking forward to next year’s event in Fort Lauderdale, Florida!

Learn more about how ASTA and KHM Travel Group work to support our travel agents as they launch their travel businesses by filling out the form to the right or give us a call at 1-888-611-1220.

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