Anita has been in the travel industry for over 28 years. She founded the host agency Ticket to Travel in 1993, which was merged into KHM Travel Group in 2020. Her voice has been one of inspiring the at-home advisor with books such as “How I Made a Small Fortune as a Home-Based Travel Agent”, and “From Home-Based to POWERHOUSE! – Marketing Strategies to take your Travel Passion to Profit”. Anita is currently the Vice President of CCTO (California Coalition of Travel Organizations), and the Vice President of Industry Relations at KHM Travel Group.
Travel Research Online (TRO): Hi, Anita. You seem to have a lot on your plate lately. How are you doing today?
Anita Pagliasso (AP): I’m doing great! You’re right, I do have a lot on my plate, but I actually thrive on all of the excitement and anticipation that comes along with it.
TRO: You founded the host agency A Ticket to Travel in 1993. How long were you in the industry before that, and what were your inspirations in starting the host agency?
AP: I actually started the agency as a part-time, one-person home-based business after going on my first cruise. At the same time, I owned a successful marketing firm but was drawn quickly and passionately into the travel industry. So much so, that I sold my marketing business and took a leap of faith and went full time in travel. Not only did I use my unique marketing skills to grow my travel business, but I found that I also truly enjoyed sharing those skills with other advisors that I met at travel industry meetings and events. I eventually wrote two books for home-based agents, How I Made a Small Fortune as a Home-Based Agent and From Home-Based to POWERHOUSE. I grew to the point where I found myself mentoring/hosting others who wanted to also be successful as a travel advisor and, hence, the host agency portion of the business got started.
TRO: That’s more than 28 years in the travel industry. What would you say are the most important points of evolution in the travel industry that made advisors have to adapt quickly?
AP: I think the evolution of technology, more than anything. In any industry, you must be able to adapt and accept, otherwise you will become obsolete and outdated.
TRO: The California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), originally meant for gig work such as Uber, sought to force travel advisors to be considered employees of host agencies, which would have limited the freedom of advisors to choose their own path. How were you involved in the process of exempting travel advisors from the bill?
AP: As the Vice President of CCTO (California Coalition of Travel Organizations), along with ASTA, we rallied the advisors in California to stand up with us to testify to the legislators in Sacramento. We were able to get the exemption to AB5, and potentially stopping it in its tracks from moving across the states.
TRO: If you had one piece of hard-earned, solid advice for all the travel advisors out there, what would it be?
AP: It would probably be one word – Resiliency! I’m so proud of everyone who held on through the twists and turns, up and downs. It’s not over, but I’m claiming victory with all of you who made it so far. You’re amazing!
TRO: You are currently running to be a member of the ASTA National Board. Why did you decide to run for an office of such responsibility in the travel industry?
AP: I took that leap of faith in 1993 and never once looked back. To say that I love this industry is an understatement. I would be honored to continue to contribute my efforts, my strengths, and my passion as an ASTA National Board Member.
My goal has always been to educate and share unique sales and marketing techniques. I believe learning and growth opportunities are never done, and I want to elevate our industry by providing an awareness of the educational tools that ASTA offers
TRO: ASTA has been an advocate for travel advisors since 1931. They’ve offered promotion, education, and advocation—helpful tools to travel advisors through the years. What major ideas do you have for the advancement of these goals?
AP: My vision would be that every travel advisor knows why ASTA is “THE” organization to join, and to also encourage existing members to support ASTA with full involvement and participation.
I want to create a grassroots effort to go out to the general population, to let them understand the value of using a travel advisor. I never want to hear again “Travel Agent? I didn’t know they still exist!” Instead, I want to hear “Travel Agent? Oh, great! I want to book a vacation and I’m looking for an expert!”.
I want to make sure that exploring a career in travel is a viable option, and help to bring in a new generation and continuous stream of advisors.
TRO: Where can advisors go to vote on the next ASTA National Board Member? Does one have to be a member of ASTA to vote?
AP: Yes, you must be a member of ASTA to vote. It should be the number one organization for any advisor to join. ASTA is out there fighting the state and local issues that affect our businesses and travel industry as a whole—on a daily basis—and we need to support them. If anyone is interested in joining and wants more information, please go to www.asta.org. And, if they would like a $50 discount for membership, please use code: KHM50
TRO: Anita, thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to talk with us. We look forward to talking again, and hope you stay well.
AP: Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts. I see a very bright future coming for many of us in the travel industry. It’s going to be an exciting time! BETTER THAN EVER!
For more information about ASTA, and voting in the ASTA National Board Member election, please visit ASTA.org.