Experienced travel agents have long used consolidators for obtaining the best possible pricing on international airline fares for their clients. However, many travel planners have little experience with consolidators and don’t know where to begin to establish the proper supplier relationships. The United States Air Consolidator Association, better known as USACA, is making it easier for travel consultants to work with its membership. USACA is an association of twelve distinguished consolidators who have joined together to provide travel agents with a better understanding of the consolidator market and the advantages to working with consolidator fares. USACA serves as the national trade association for airline ticket consolidators committed to integrity, trust and reliability. A travel agent may freely and confidently look to USACA members for consolidated airline tickets.The end result? Better international fares for clients and more profit for the travel agent. Sound like a good deal? Read on.
USACA requires that their members all have at least two years of uninterrupted service to travel agencies, but all of the current members have more than ten each. Members must have a good history of working with travel agents and must meet financial and business requirements to join. USACA “pre-vettes” its consolidator members for the travel agency community so agents can use them with confidence. These assurances provide a pathway for agents to take advantage of both commissionable and net airfares offered by USACA members. As a consequence, agents can create a very profitable revenue stream on international tickets while better servicing their clients.
USACA members are: Brazilian Travel Service; C & H International; Centrav Inc; Cosmopolitan Travel Service; DFW Tours; Grand Holidays; GTT Global; Hari World Travel Inc; International Air Consolidators; Picasso Travel; Sky Bird Travel; and Trans Am Travel.
Akshay Shah, this year’s USACA president and the Vice-President of Marketing for Sky Bird Travel and Tours says, “USACA serves an integral function to all sides involved: from airlines to reservation systems to agents to consumers. We are constantly striving to provide the travel industry with reputable, quality consolidators who know their craft and are willing to do all they can for their clients. This provides security to the airlines, for they have the confidence that they are being properly represented by an accredited entity, and that their business dealings with our members are fair, responsible, and secure. To travel agents specifically, our mission is simple: to work reliably and quickly so they can maximize revenue. We understand that travel agents are busy. Especially in these difficult economic times, travel agents are working harder than ever. So USACA makes it our mission to provide fast, reliable, trustworthy service, as well as high commissions and NET fares so that agents can achieve the highest possible revenue for their hard work.”
The first anniversary of USACA’s Travel Agent Center web site (www.USACA.com) was last month, and what a year it has been. There a travel agent can search various destinations and determine which USACA consolidators have contracts and with which airlines. The new site provides links to each of the USACA members, a brief background on the company and the contact information agents need to begin working with their consolidator of choice. There is also a link to a short, online training program to teach travel agents how to best utilize consolidator fares. In addition, there are articles on consolidators that travel agents can use to educate their clients and which the agents can place on their own web site or use in a newsletter. A marketing video is available which agents can send to their clients, complete with the agent’s contact information and logo. All of the new marketing materials are free to travel agents.
USACA’s Akshay Shah puts it this way: “At USACA, we are constantly looking forward and seeing what we can do better.” As an association dedicated to educating and working with the travel agency community, that’s welcome news. For more information on USACA, visit their web site at www.usaca.com.