ACTA’s Alberta/NWT Council welcomed travel agents to a pair of meetings in Alberta last week, offering attendees a chance to meet with fellow travel professionals and discuss issues and concerns within the industry.
The meetings, held in Calgary and Edmonton on Jan.7 and 8, also served as an introduction for new ACTA members Free and Easy Traveller and Chateau Lacombe.
Barbara Sutherland, Regional Manager for ACTA’s Alberta/NWT Council, said that a notable number of non-members were also present at both events.
The pros and cons of the internet remain a hot topic amongst ACTA members, said Sutherland, who explained that according to a recent survey, the number of customers booking travel with agents is increasing, which she attributes to the need for a qualified helper in the midst of the vast amount of product offered online.
“In 2012, only one in eight people booking travel were going through agencies,” she said. “In 2014, that number has gone up to one in five; people are coming back and it’s not so much about using an agent, but about having a consultant. They want someone to be able to explain to them what they find confusing.”
Sutherland said that the response to the two recent meetings was encouraging, adding that going forward, ACTA is looking to host “a few per year.” In addition to meetings, ACTA has already set Sept. 11, 2015 as the date of this year’s Fall Event, featuring golf, a day spa and other activities for members to take part in.
“People definitely want more of this – more opportunities to get together and talk,” said Sutherland. “And not just the social aspect, they want to get out and network and really improve their business.”