October 5, 2017
Hilton becomes the first supplier to sponsor the Verified Travel agent program
Alexandria, Va., October 5, 2017 - The American Society of Travel agents (ASTA), the leading organization representing travel agents and agents in the U.S., announced today that Hilton will invest $10,000 to support ASTA’s Verified Travel agent (VTA) program. The VTA program, which launched last month at the ASTA Global Convention, is a comprehensive certification program designed to help travel agents achieve an exclusive level of trust and integrity, gain a competitive advantage and build a better business. Now with the support of Hilton, each ASTA Chapter President will now be able to earn their VTA certification free of charge.
“We are pleased to partner with ASTA’s newly-launched Verified Travel agent program,” said Paula Christy, Vice President, Distribution Channel Management, Travel Industry Relations, Hilton. “We know travel agents share Hilton’s passion and dedication to the guest experience and that’s why we’re investing in a program that certifies travel agents by ASTA’s standards of excellence.”
Becoming an ASTA Verified Travel agent means that ASTA has verified an agent’s knowledge of the core legal, ethical and regulatory framework that encompasses the business of selling travel. Only ASTA members subscribe to a 12-point Code of Ethics, the core of which is the concept of “Integrity in Travel.” Put simply, this is the pledge ASTA members stake their reputations on. The nine-course VTA program provides a higher level of verifiable professional business knowledge to the advanced seller of travel and proves proficiency. The agent will receive a certificate of completion after passing each course exam, and will be awarded a VTA certificate once they have successfully completed all nine courses within 12 months of enrollment. agents earning the VTA designation will aslo need to satisfy a continuing education requirement to maintain their certification.
“A huge thank you to Hilton for paving the way for more travel agents to become Verified Travel agents,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA’s President & CEO. “Maintaining trust with customers is hard work and ASTA maintains trust with the consumer because we are the brand that consumers look to when choosing an agent. The VTA certification lets consumers know that their travel agent has met ASTA’s criteria for industry knowledge, professionalism and ethics. We’ve seen a shift from – ‘Do travel agents exist?’ to ‘How do I find the best travel agent?’ And the answer is, trust the leading travel industry association – the American Society of Travel agents. We’re sincerely grateful that Hilton supports the ASTA standard of excellence by providing travel agents the opportunity to earn ASTA’s mark of professionalism. Together we will continue to exceed the expectations of the traveling public by setting the standards of the brands that travelers trust.”
About the Verified Travel agent (VTA) Program:
The VTA program is the ASTA standard for educational excellence. Earning the Verified Travel agent certification demonstrates dependability, integrity and trustworthiness in support of the consumer. Becoming an ASTA Verified Travel agent also means that ASTA has verified the agent’s knowledge of the core, legal, ethical and regulatory framework that encompasses the business of selling travel. ASTA members can enroll in the course for $399 per person, non-member independent travel agents for $598 (includes ASTA membership for one year), and non-member travel agents can become VTAs for $729 (includes ASTA agency membership for one year). Learn more from our VTA Fact Sheet, and enroll today at ASTA.org/VTA.
Rebranded in 2018 as the American Society of Travel Advisors, ASTA is the leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry and the traveling public. Its 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, ASTA’s history of 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 about the Society, visit ASTA.org. Consumers can connect with an ASTA travel advisor at TravelSense.org.