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While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in ASTA White Papers as of the date of their publication, please be advised that some content contained therein may be outdated or otherwise inaccurate at the present time. Accordingly, ASTA makes no representation regarding the timeliness of all of the information accessible here. Members having questions regarding the current state of a White Paper topic may wish to contact ASTA to obtain the most up-to-date information.

Protecting Your Travel Business: Legal Issues Regarding the Use of Independent Advisors — November 20, 2018
This analysis provides guidelines for determining whether the government will view a travel-agency worker as an independent contractor or as an employee. It will also familiarize agents with some of the pertinent state and federal laws. Premium members receive expanded and analyses of state agency and contractor laws and a sample contractor agreement.

California Seller of Travel Fact Sheet — November 20, 2018
In late 2016, California made several changes to its seller of travel law, including broadening the exemption for independent advisors and adding a new registration requirement. In an effort to help our members comply with the new law, which went into effect on January 1, 2017, ASTA has updated its California Seller of Travel Fact Sheet.

FTC Endorsement Guides Fact Sheet — September 26, 2018
The question of how the Federal Trade Commission’s Endorsement Guides impact travel advisors’ use of social media has been in the news lately, and the goal is this fact sheet is to provide background on the Guides, how they might be applied to our industry and some best practices for members to consider in this area.

Travel Management’s Impact on Corporate Profitability & Productivity — September 18, 2018
The purpose of the survey is to determine the perceived impact of travel management companies (TMCs) and travel agencies on the profitability and productivity of organizations. You will also learn how organizations view their relationships with TMCs / travel agencies, what aspects of the relationship with a TMC / travel agency have the most impact on the success of a managed travel program, the pros and cons of utilizing a TMC / travel agency and so on.
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Net Neutrality Fact Sheet June 2018 — June 7, 2018
In December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed its 2015 “net neutrality” order requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all online sites and services in an identical manner. This fact sheet gives an overview of the issue and its potential impacts on our industry.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Fact Sheet — April 4, 2018
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Fact Sheet

GDS Surcharge White Paper & Carrier Matrix — January 12, 2018
The purpose of this White Paper and Matrix is to assist agency owners, managers, operations team members and front line agents in quickly identifying which carriers have introduced a GDS surcharge, the surcharge dollar or Euro amount, how that surcharge is applied, the fee’s effective date, whether or not the carrier offers a “Private Channel Agreement” option, whether the carrier offers a direct web portal for agent bookings, and what code share partners may be considered as an alternative to avoid the GDS Surcharge, but book on the same carrier’s “metal” or aircraft.

New Distribution Capability (NDC): Current Agency Implications — October 24, 2017
This ASTA “white paper” provides the reader with the latest assessment regarding its implications to agencies, 2017 developments to date, GDS and other technology implications, its adoption and a view of the ultimate endgame – Is NDC an evolution or a revolution?

Ethics for Travel agents Manual — September 21, 2017
While all ASTA members already pledge themselves to conduct their businesses in accordance with the ASTA Code of Ethics, we created this manual as an in-depth study of critical ethical considerations facing their businesses and the travel industry as a whole in the twenty-first century.

2017 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Manual — September 21, 2017
ASTA’s 2017 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Manual is a plain-English white paper that explains the major federal statutes and regulations that directly impact travel agents. ASTA has added several new features to the 2017 manual

Agency Relationships and the Law Manual — September 21, 2017
The concept of “agency” – the legal relationship that is created when one person is authorized to act on behalf of another – is an important one in the travel industry. Travel agents are routinely authorized to act on behalf of others, most notably, the traveling public. This manual uses real-life case studies to provide an understanding of what this means to the travel agent.

HowAmericaTravels — How America Travels sheds light on America's perceptions of travel and better enables ASTA and the travel agent community — August 1, 2017
(Executive Summary)
How America Travels sheds light on America's perceptions of travel and better enables ASTA and the travel agent community to serve as the voice of America's travelers, just as travel agents serve as the voice of their clients every day. This year, in partnership with leading global research firm, Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), ASTA committed to conducting a wide-ranging, scientific survey of the American public to understand their perspectives and priorities. How America Travels gives
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How America Travels - sheds light on America's perceptions of travel and better enables ASTA and the travel agent community — August 1, 2017
(Full Report)
sheds light on America's perceptions of travel and better enables ASTA and the travel agent community to serve as the voice of America's travelers, just as travel agents serve as the voice of their clients every day.
Click Here to access this report

Unmanaged to Managed — Why and How Companies Formalize Travel Programs — June 23, 2017
(Full Report)
ASTA has partnered with The Company Dime to conduct a study on the conversion of unmanaged business travel to managed travel. The results of this executive summary come from in-depth research consisting of a survey plus interviews with travel management company executives to understand the reasons large and small businesses implement travel management practices.
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Unmanaged to Managed — Why and How Companies Formalize Travel Programs — June 23, 2017
(Executive Summary)
ASTA has partnered with The Company Dime to conduct a study on the conversion of unmanaged business travel to managed travel. The results of this executive summary come from in-depth research consisting of a survey plus interviews with travel management company executives to understand the reasons large and small businesses implement travel management practices.
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2016 ASTA Service Fee Report — April 5, 2017
The ASTA Service Fee report, seeks to discover current service fee practices in the travel agency industry in addition to travel agents’ exploring other revenue sources such as consultation fees, travel insurance, mark-ups and others.
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ASTA Labor and Compensation Report — March 8, 2017
ASTA’s annual Labor and Compensation report seeks to discover current employment trends and compensation models in the travel agency industry. Insights into compensation packages and classifications, recruitment of travel agents as well as agencies’ plans to handle the new Department of Labor (DOL) overtime regulations will be beneficial to various industry segments related to travel agencies.
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ASTA Financial Benchmarking Report — March 6, 2017
This report provides a generous amount of data and information on the financial trends of ASTA agency members including revenue, sales, transactions, number of clients, profit and so on. This information will be very beneficial to current and prospective ASTA members, consortia, franchise companies, host agencies and supplier partners alike.
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ASTA Agency Profile Report — November 18, 2016
This report provides a bountiful amount of data and information of ASTA member agencies’ key demographics, including agency location and business model, sales volume and profit trends, sales splits (including domestic vs. international and leisure vs. corporate)...
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State Work Share Programs: Are They a Viable Alternative to Lay-Offs? — November 14, 2016
During an economic slowdown agency cash flow shrinks and credit is difficult to come by, so the owners of agencies often feel compelled to lay off employees in order to cut payroll expenses. However, members should be aware that they have a viable alternative to lay-offs.

Employer Options to Respond to the Department of Labor’s New Overtime Rule — October 4, 2016
Under the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime rules, effective December 1, 2016, the salary threshold under which virtually all employees are guaranteed overtime pay will increase from...

Independent agents Report 2016 Edition — July 31, 2016
A growing consensus within the travel agency industry is that the independent agents community is continuing to grow and that industry suppliers are allocating more resources trying to better engage these travel agents whose primary work location is often not a brick-and-mortar storefront or office location.
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ASTA’s 2016 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Handbook — July 1, 2016
ASTA’s 2016 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Handbook is a plain-English white paper that explains the major federal statutes and regulations that directly impact travel agents. ASTA has added several new features to the 2016 handbook, including an expanded chapter on full-price advertising incorporating the Federal Trade Commission’s guidance on how travel agents should disclose hotel resort fees, as well as an entirely new chapter on the complex and frequently-changing rules governing selling travel to Cuba.

2011 Independent agents Report — June 22, 2016
The 2011 Independent agents report includes typical booking methods, host agency relationships, average sales, and the top travel suppliers used. This report will help you better understand the Independent agent's business operations and their place in the travel market.

Best of Both Worlds: Quantifying How Travel agents Save Consumers Time and Money — June 9, 2016
This year's independent consumer study uncover consumer travel trends and find patterns related to overall travel agent usage in planning and booking trips by travel type, the factors related to how a traveler chooses a travel consultant, and for what occasions they use an agent.
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Credit Card Chip Technology is Here – Are You Impacted and Ready? — June 25, 2015
Credit card companies and retailers are moving to new “chip card” standards in the U.S. in preparation for a “liability shift”. Impacted ASTA members should ensure they have upgraded credit card readers and software to those that can read chip cards.

2015 Traveler Decision Making Study — April 16, 2015
Learning how consumers decide on the type of trips they take was a primary goal of the study. Much detail is including in the report on how they make travel decisions...

ASTA’s 2015 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Handbook — March 11, 2015
ASTA’s 2015 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Handbook is a plain-English white paper that explains the major federal statutes and regulations that directly impact travel agents.

2014 Labor & Compensation Report — March 6, 2015
This study finds an increasing issue for many travel agencies is the ability to hire new employees.

2013 Financial Benchmarking Report — December 12, 2014
Agency finances have improved compared to 2009. Average agency sales have returned to pre-downturn levels.

2014 Independent agents Report — December 12, 2014
This report profiles the independent agent population. There is much variability in this population.

Review of NCFs White Paper — October 15, 2014
ASTA explains the nuances of the federal tax code as it relates to this category of deductible business expenses. It also provides members with general guidance on legitimate deductibility of As an advocate of the travel agency industry, ASTA has prepared this white paper to help its members understand the role Non-Commissionable Fares (NCFs) play in cruise sales both historically and currently.

2013 Global Distribution System (GDS) Report — August 25, 2014
The GDS reports covers travel agency distribution trends related to GDS usage from how agencies book travel to how they negotiate their contract. Agencies evaluating their current GDS contracts and industry suppliers wanting to understand GDS usage better will find this report essential.

2013 ASTA Niche Markets Report — June 3, 2014
Access to online outlets and social media has increased the number of agents and agencies that can market their niche expertise. 73 percent of ASTA agencies report that they have expertise in at least one niche market.

2014 Value of Travel agents Study — March 13, 2014
The Value of Travel agents study surveyed U.S. leisure and business travelers on their travel agent usage and satisfaction with travel organized by an agent. Additionally, this 271-page report includes demographics on travelers including trips taken, sources of travel information and how they book.

ASTA Green Guide for Suppliers — March 12, 2014
The ASTA Green Guide for Suppliers provides educational material on understanding and marketing sustainable travel to travel agents and agencies. The report highlights best "green" practices and marketing tips as well as information on becoming an official ASTA Green Member.

ASTA’s 2014 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Handbook — March 4, 2014
This handbook explains the major federal statutes and regulations that directly impact travel agents. The 2014 handbook also contains new guidance on the Hazardous Materials Rule, which all agents must follow effective Jan. 1, 2015.

2012 Global Distribution System (GDS) Report — April 30, 2013
The GDS reports covers travel agency distribution trends related to GDS usage from how agencies book travel to how they negotiate their contract. Agencies evaluating their current GDS contracts and industry suppliers wanting to understand GDS usage better will find this report essential.

Payment Card Industry (PCI) Standards and Travel agents — April 9, 2013
What are Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) and how does it apply to travel agents. Plus resources for ensuring that your travel business is PCI compliant

Travel agent’s Guide to Copyrights — February 5, 2013
The Internet makes it extremely easy to copy and reuse. This guide explains the laws associated with reuse and how to legally obtain materials for your professional use.

ASTA's U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Handbook — January 29, 2013
This white paper explains in plain-English the major federal statutes and regulations that directly impact travel agents. It not only outlines a travel agency’s obligation with each rule, but also provides supplemental guidance that ASTA has obtained directly from DOT in response to concerns expressed by members.

ASTA's Guide to Debit Memos — January 14, 2013
ASTA's Guide to Debit Memos provides tips for preventing and responding to airline debit memos. Debit memo management is an important component of the travel agency business and is discussed in detail in this document, including recommended steps for responding to debit memos, sample response text for the most common types of debits, tips for preventing debit memos and frequently asked questions. Click on the link below to access this valuable resource.

ASTA Green Guide for Supplier Members — October 18, 2012
The ASTA Green Guide for Supplier Members provides educational material on understanding and marketing green travel to travel agents and agencies. The report highlights best "green" practices and marketing tips as well as information on becoming an official ASTA Green Member.

Host Agency Management: Protecting Your Business — August 7, 2012
It is important that you periodically review your business practices to minimize your risk of fraud, theft and errors. The following are guidelines that may help you reduce your chance of dealing with a bad IC.

ASTA's Research Program — July 18, 2012
ASTA has a rich history of conducting research on the travel agency industry. The research is used to assist ASTA members in building stronger businesses.

Travel agents Guide to Travel Insurance — May 24, 2012
Reviewing the 3 benefits of offering travel insurance - customer protection, agency protection and increased revenue - this guide summarizes the major types of travel insurance coverage as well as limitations, gives tips for choosing a travel insurance provider, and provides important cautions for agents implementing or reviewing their travel insurance program.

Travel agents' Guide to Secure Flight — May 24, 2012
ASTA has created a white paper called Travel agents' Guide to Secure Flight to provide members guidance on how to best comply with Secure Flight data collection requirements. ASTA will continue to monitor the situation and update this paper.

2011 Global Distribution System (GDS) Report — January 18, 2012
The GDS reports covers travel agency distribution trends related to GDS usage from how agencies book travel to how they negotiate their contract. Agencies evaluating their current GDS contracts and industry suppliers wanting to understand GDS usage better will find this report essential.

2010 Global Distribution System (GDS) Report — May 16, 2011
As travel distribution continues to evolve, GDS suppliers have felt much pressure to change with the times or become obsolete...

2010 Technology & Web Usage Report — March 17, 2011
The results of the Technology and Web survey reflect that most agencies are very comfortable with standard technology.

2010 Leisure Trends Report — February 15, 2011
This survey found leisure agencies doing much better in 2010 than in 2009. Agencies reported the strongest rebound in sales for Rail, Hotel, Tour/Package/Group, and Insurance. Their expectations for 2011 are mostly positive.

2010 Corporate Agency Report — February 14, 2011
The Corporate Agency Report covers transaction-fee versus management-fee contracts. It looked at which special services trigger an additional fee or which ones are covered under the contract. It also looks at other fees the agency may charge.

2010 Independent agents Report — February 8, 2011
This report profiles Independent agents and gives you the information you need to better understand the Independent agent's business operations and their place in the travel market.

2010 Corporate Agency Report - Executive Summary — December 23, 2010
ASTA and The Beat conducted this survey to provide insight into changes in distribution, economic norms, and technology use among corporate travel agencies in relation to the marketplace shift.

2009 Labor & Compensation Report — November 8, 2010
ASTA conducted this labor and compensation study to assist travel agencies in benchmarking their compensation, benefits and hiring practices. This information can be used to benchmark your own compensation and benefits, and may help you improve your hiring practices. A free 3 page summary is available to all members, a full report is available for purchase.

2009 ASTA Financial Benchmarking Report — August 9, 2010
The Financial Benchmarking report gives an agency the ability to analyze The revenue data in this report can be used by agencies to determine if their products are the best revenue-generating mix for their business model.

Federal and State Lawmakers Turn Up the Heat on Misclassifying Companies — July 13, 2010
In recent months, federal and state lawmakers have stepped up efforts to significantly raise the stakes on businesses that misclassify their workers as independent advisors. The ramped-up pressure on employers comes in the form of newly enacted legislation or stern proposals aimed at non-compliant businesses.

Calculating Your Risk Factor - Identity Theft — June 7, 2010
What Travel Agencies need to know about the Red Flags Rule. The Red Flags Rule goes into effect in December 2010. This document covers information on what you need to have in place ... regarding identity theft.

Travel Insurance Regulations: Time for Change — May 26, 2010
ASTA and the United States Travel Insurance Association (USTIA) are working together to advocate that the insurance commissioners change the costly and fragmented regulatory compliance regimes that some travel sellers must endure to offer travel insurance to their clients.

2009 Global Distribution System Report — May 17, 2010
As travel distribution continues to change, the GDS suppliers have felt much pressure to change with the times or become obsolete. The three GDS providers have been moving forward with plans to add...

2009 Technology & Web Usage Report — April 16, 2010
The 2009 ASTA Technology and Web Usage Report covers issues including the use of technology, internet usage for research, internet booking patterns, and website design and usage.

British Airways' (BA) New Deal — February 24, 2010
Premium member report. Overview of the new model BA plans to use to transition travel agencies that receive upfront commissions from a commission-based model to a pseudo-net model.

BTC Report on Airline Unbundling — February 5, 2010
Premium member report. Airline unbundling of ancillary services and threat to unbundle GDS costs are perhaps the biggest threats that TMCs face.

The Role and Value of the Global Distribution Systems in Travel Distribution — January 25, 2010
This white paper available to Premium Members only, courtesy of the Interactive Travel Services Association (ITSA) is PhoCusWright's most comprehensive study done to date on GDSs.

14th Annual Gay & Lesbian Tourism Study - Full Report — January 14, 2010
The 14th Annual Gay & Lesbian Tourism Study of Community Marketing (CMI) contains a detailed statistical analysis of the 4,700 gay and lesbian consumers who reside in the United States. The report includes CMI’s annual gay and lesbian destination rankings, effects of the recession, and a list of the top travel brands outreaching to the market.

Using Census Bureau Statistics for Market Segmentation — December 10, 2009
Explains ways to use the Census Bureau data to enhance your marketing

International Travel: Non-Resident Inbound Visitations Trend Overview — November 18, 2009
Non-resident inbound visitations to the U.S. has grown over the past 20 years, but there have been shifts in the originating countries.

2009 ASTA Travel Agency Business Trends Report — November 16, 2009
The Agency Business Trends Report looks at changes agencies made to weather the past year as well as changes planned for the future. The report benchmarks plans for operations and employment for leisure and corporate agencies.

2009 NACTA Independent agents Report — November 11, 2009
This report shows several shifts in the independent agent population, specially in what is the primary source of income for agents.

ARC Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) and Carrier Fees Project — August 7, 2009
ARC is developing two projects that will allow travel agents to collect carrier assigned fees and charges. One is called the Carrier Fees Project and the other is called the Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD).

State Regulation - Seller of Travel Legislation Study — July 14, 2009
Currently, seventeen states including the District of Columbia impose some type of regulation on travel sellers and tour operators. Due to the perceived rampart abuse of consumers, states began enacting stern measures designed to combat fraudulent business practices within the industry. California, Florida, Hawai'i and Washington generally have the most restrictive seller of travel regimes, while the laws in states like Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are much more limited in scope.

Commerce Clause Analysis of State Seller of Travel Laws — July 14, 2009
Over the past two decades, several states have responded to mounting claims of fraud perceived to be from within the industry and legislators in those states by enacting tough laws designed to provide certain protections to consumers. More often than not, Seller of Travel laws are duplicative and even overkill legislation since each state already has strict laws designed to combat fraud.

U.S. Packaged Travel Landscape 2006-2010 — June 11, 2009
The study examines growth of the packages travel industry between 2006 and 2010. Specific segments are also broken out including escorted tours, packages, FIT and group.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Program — November 25, 2008
On November 13, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) program will soon become mandatory for certain travelers. This White Paper is intended to serve as a reference guide for travel agents who wish to assist customers intending to travel to the United States.

Airline Payment Summit — July 7, 2008
The airline industry held another Airline Payment Summit on April 9-10 in Toronto, Canada. The summit was particularly intense, with the first day alone consisting of twelve presentations and two panel debates.

2007 Labor & Compensation Report Summary — May 22, 2008
ASTA conducted this labor and compensation study to assist travel agencies in benchmarking their compensation, benefits and hiring practices. This is a free 2-page summary of the report.

Inactive Segments — April 7, 2008
This document contains information to help members manage inactive airline segments.

Public Relations Guide — April 7, 2008
If you've been wondering how to go about choosing a PR agency, this guide will walk you through a selection process. Topics include researching and interviewing prospective PR agencies, the information you will want to hear during an agency’s pitch, and the results you should expect from a campaign.

Navigating the Tax Labyrinth — February 24, 2008
ASTA explains the nuances of the federal tax code as it relates to this category of deductible business expenses. It also provides members with general guidance on legitimate deductibility of the convention, fam trips and cruises expenses. Members can learn how to lower their tax bills by utilizing these tax benefits. But you are urged to consult your accountants or financial professionals in order to take full advantage of travel related tax allowances.

Credit Card Surcharge Laws — July 9, 2007
Focusing on the laws of eleven states that ban credit card surcharges in specific transactions, this report examines how those laws affect travel agencies and airlines. The report also includes an analysis on how well travel agencies are protected by these laws should the airlines decide to pass credit card expenses onto travel agencies.

ASTA/Sloan Foundation Study — July 9, 2007
Conducted by the University of South Carolina's Travel & Tourism Industry Center, the ASTA/Sloan Foundation study gives a detailed look at the key strengths of highly successful American travel agencies. This in-depth study provides insight into what key factors make a travel agency successful, including: relationship building, customer service and networking.

Payment Collection Programs Report — June 20, 2007
This Premium Member report provides information on PayPal and its potential use for travel agents. Provided in the report is a detailed comparison of three payment options: ARC TASF, a typical merchant program and PayPal.

The Employee Classification Quandary Report — June 20, 2007
A premium member report on how travel agents fall under the Federal Wage and Hour Laws, the report includes an overview of the federal minimum wage and overtime rules under the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938).

Analysis of ARC Sales Statistics — June 20, 2007
The Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) released its year-end sales statistics with forecast for 2007. ASTA’s analysis of this data covers current sales trends, predictions and estimated demands.

Creating a Privacy Policy for Your Agency — June 20, 2007
This report explains the law on Web site privacy policies, offers privacy policy implementation tips and contains a sample privacy policy that Premium Members can use to craft their own privacy policy. It also addresses the issue of managing privacy within the office by protecting employee records and assuring that office equipment is used properly.

ASTA Guide to Selling Tours — June 13, 2007
Covering the three benefits of selling travel insurance - customer protection, agency protection and increased revenue - this guide will help you set up a travel insurance sales program.

Working With The Media - Communications Guide — June 9, 2007
A premium member report on how travel agencies can work with the media and reporters to get favorable media coverage. Working with reporters can be painless with the proper preparation and understanding of the benefits the following report offers very practical advice that is easy to apply.


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in ASTA White Papers as of the date of their publication, please be advised that some content contained therein may be outdated or otherwise inaccurate at the present time. Accordingly, ASTA makes no representation regarding the timeliness of all of the information accessible here. Members having questions regarding the current state of a White Paper topic may wish to contact ASTA to obtain the most up-to-date information.

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