In a message to its members sent Thursday night, American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) president and CEO Zane Kerby commended suppliers who are supporting advisors during the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis—a time when many agencies are facing dramatic revenue shortfalls—by paying commissions upfront.
“As the severity of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak continues to grow globally and with concerning impact to the health and well-being of the public, ASTA would like to commend the many travel suppliers and ASTA partners that have revised their travel agency commission payment practices by making commissions payable upon booking rather than at the time of travel,” Kirby said in a statement provided to Luxury Travel Advisor. “This support to the ASTA agency community, in recognition of the value they bring to travel distribution, is greatly appreciated during this difficult time, and especially by those small business members whose livelihoods have been gravely impacted. To affirm the value of and trust suppliers place in the agency community in this manner is extraordinary. We thank you.”
ASTA is encouraging all travel suppliers to implement similar changes to their commission payment structures in recognition of the significance of the agency distribution channel “and the key role it plays in your own success, both now and into the future.”
Kirby adds that ASTA is. Calling on Global Distribution Systems to suspend, or waive altogether, any booking shortfall penalties that may be due to the GDS under an agency contract. “Without question, the further financial hardship presented by these penalties to the loyal agency community—so valued in the distribution space—at a time when the impact to booking volumes is far beyond their normal control, warrants this consideration.”