IATA Bank Guarantee Update

IATA requires that financial security instruments (Bank Guarantees) issued in favour of the BSP are in accordance to the approved “new” global template that can be found on the IATA Resource Centre (click here):  Country – South Africa and Topic – BSP Agents: [New IATA Bank Guarantee Template for South Africa]

IATA Accredited locations must ensure compliance with the instructions communicated to avoid any inconveniences.

As a result of the adhoc cases and challenges faced by IATA Accredited Travel Agents from certain local financial institutions (banks) and/or their branches in their inability to comply with the “New” IATA Template; IATA and ASATA will be working together through a joint working group to meet with Commercial Banks to identify a solution to ensure compliance with the New Global Template.

IATA Accredited Locations that face this challenge are requested to immediately notify IATA Customer Services of the problem; on exceptional basis and where confirmation of the same is provided, the Accredited Location can proceed with the issuance of the Bank Guarantee using the old/existing template that was used for financial security document in custody of the BSP.

The following should be complied with at all times:

1. Beneficiary address on the Bank Guarantee should be addressed to the IATA Office in South Africa

International Air Transport Association

88 Stella Street

Ground Floor

Sandown Mews East,

Sandown

2196

South Africa

2.  Claim Period – Clause Number 5 – should strictly read:

“5. This Guarantee is valid from —– (insert date) and shall expire on —— (insert date) (hereinafter called the “Expiry Date”) and is conditional upon claim(s) being made and received by us not later than Two (2) months from the Expiry Date. Thereafter, our joint and several liability hereunder shall automatically cease and this Guarantee shall become null and void.”

IATA reserves the right for the final acceptance of the financial security document submitted.

Why would YOU use a travel agent?

Break open the champagne! 2015 appears to have sparked a veritable revival. Not that of the travel agent profession (you and I both know that we weren’t going anywhere). Rather, that of telling the world why we exist and why they should entrust their travel in the safe hands of a travel expert.

The media and social media sphere has been flooded with articles and comments on the benefits of using a travel agent these past three weeks of a new year. There’s a surge of interest in what was once touted by many as a dying profession.

A regular supporter of travel agents, posting frequently about the merits of using a travel agent, Huffington Post kicked off its new year giving its readers six excellent reasons to book a trip with a travel agent.

Cruise Currents then got in on the act writing why readers should use a travel agent to book their next cruise.

And Fox News reposted its 10 reasons why you should use a travel agent  explaining that they have clout, are on the cutting edge and, guess what, you pay the same anyway!

The travel community has also hopped on the social media bandwagon highlighting their important role in travel.

TweeWe especially liked this Tweet by @NTMtravel42 which actually took the time to create and share a video about what it can do for travellers  and US-based My Times Travel’s blog post on why travellers should use a travel agent followed by a barrage of testimonials to back her argument up.

For those of you bemoaning a slow start to 2015, sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns and remind your customers why you add value to them. It takes very little effort to follow our international colleagues’ suit and take every opportunity to share the benefits of using a travel agent, highlighting your expertise and how you’ve evolved to meet their travel needs.

Why not write a blog post and share it like My Times Travel has. Speak to your local paper about including a short article about the travel agent profession or simply log in to the Members Section on ASATA’s website and visit our Marketing Toolkit to download one of the quirky banners or social media posts for use on your Twitter or Facebook. Yes, it really is that simple!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Promoting your professionalism: How to set up an awesome LinkedIn Profile

Here are five tips to create the best looking LinkedIn profile on the web.

1. Make Your Personal Brand Stand Out

You want to use the profile to make your own personal brand stand out. This instantly catches the eye of viewers and will make them want to learn much more about you. Your current employment is going to do this for you. If you are employed by a company, you have little control over your title, but if you are your own boss, think of something that will stand out and tell people exactly what you do.

Move down a little further to the summary. This is another place to create your personal brand. Sell yourself and what you do. What are your skills and why are you so good at your job? This is the only part of your whole profile where you get to design and layout everything. You’ll be stuck with following LinkedIn’s preferences later, so use this space to put your own personality into the content.

2. Make Your Profile Searchable

You need to make sure the content and URL of your profile are searchable by search engines. This is done through keywords. Make sure your URL is your name, so when employers and clients go looking for you, they will find you. Likewise, if you have any keywords, add them into your summary and job title. You will soon find more people come across you and want to know more about you.

3. Highlight The Experience You Have

Whether you’re in a job or are hunting, you need to highlight the experience that you have. LinkedIn is very much like your resume and it needs to show off your skills, qualities and knowledge. However, the benefit of LinkedIn is the searchable aspect and you can play to that benefit. Don’t just leave it to chance that someone will find you. Use keywords in your content to make your job descriptions and work experience stand out.

You can add your samples and work presentations. This is a great way to really show off what you can do and will make your profile stand out from the rest. Slideshare is another option that can be added to your LinkedIn profile. Use it to your advantage. Don’t have anything to show off? Of course you do—just think about the stuff other people ask you for help with!

4. Get Recommendations On Your Page

If someone recommends a product to you, you’re much more likely to buy it. If someone recommends a service, would you be more swayed towards using it over another? Of course you would, and the same works for employment and looking for freelancers. You need recommendations on your page if you want to stand a chance of getting hired.

Talk to previous clients or employers who are on LinkedIn. You just need to politely ask that they write a recommendation on your page. Get them to tell others why you should be hired. One great way to get recommendations is by recommending others first. You’d be surprised how many people will feel compelled to reciprocate the favor.

5. Stay Active, Interactive And Up To Date

Activity is essential on LinkedIn. You need to make sure your profile is constantly up to date. Make sure the title is the best one for you and keep your skill sets showing the best ones right now. You want to interact through the website, too. The more you interact, the more people are going to see your amazing profile. This will also help people realize that you are a person and good for the job.

Set your own group up and get active. This will allow you to set it up for your specific interest and help run it in the way that you see fit. It will also show up on your profile, so others know that you run a LinkedIn group and that you have the ability to manage.

Get that LinkedIn profile up to date and start making it stand out. Personality and flair will really help turn your profile from a boring resume into a stunning piece of work. Improve your SEO and update your skill sets and you will be ready the next time an employer comes knocking.

Press Release: ASATA response to Travel Scam Reports

The following press release was issued in December to respond to press reports and comments in media fora regarding an alleged travel scam that affected hundreds of South African passengers.

TRAVELLERS LEFT HIGH AND DRY AFTER TICKET SCAM ~ ALWAYS USE AN ACCREDITED ASATA MEMBER!

Hundreds of South Africans have been caught in an e-ticket scam that has left them stranded overseas for the festive season, according to media reports over the past week.

The Weekend Argus reports complaints of fraud have been filed against Kim Robbertse, an independent travel agent from Polokwane, who is alleged to have offered fixed discounted fares via an email earlier in the year. The offer allegedly advertised open return tickets for a fixed price of R7 500 each. The buyers are then reported to have paid Robbertse in advance in to her personal bank account.

The Association of Southern African Travel Agents can confirm that Robbertse is not a member of the association and advises members of the public to ask a travel agent or tour operator if they are a member of ASATA before booking their travel.

ASATA CEO Otto De Vries comments: “It is also important to note that while an Independent Travel Consultant host company may be an ASATA member, the independent travel consultants under their umbrella are obliged to register separately with the association and hence do not automatically qualify for ASATA membership.”

ASATA members have to comply with a strict code of conduct to be members of the association and as such there is an element of security in booking through ASATA members.

“Contrary to comments in the media following the report, ASATA has had absolutely no reported travel scams or failures of its members in the past five years,” adds De Vries.

Among the services consumers can expect from an accredited ASATA member are:

  • The best value for money An ASATA member will tell you about all the available choices and special promotions, as well as advice on the quality and value of a particular product.
  • Customer advocate If you experience a problem on your trip, an ASATA member will act on your behalf to correct it.
  • Expert guidance ASATA professional travel consultants use their extensive knowledge and experience to create, sell and manage various travel-related products to the travelling public.
  • Professional advice All ASATA-accredited travel agencies and travel professionals have the experience, training and knowledge to ensure that in every instance you get the best travel package at the best price.
  • Trust ASATA members are a local business in your area. Not an anonymous website. You know how to reach us, you know how long we’ve been in business and you know where we are.
  • Unbiased information We work for you, the consumer. Not for the airline or any other travel supplier.

Visit the http://www.asata.co.za website to see why it is important for travellers to deal only with ASATA-accredited agencies.