San Juan, Puerto Rico – In the ever-evolving landscape of the travel industry, the notion of a Host Agency has undergone significant growth, leading to the emergence of various business models that have caused confusion regarding its true definition. Recognizing the need for clarity and standardization, the Professionals Association of Travel Hosts (PATH) was established to set operating standards and ensure strict adherence among its members. For travel agent professionals seeking excellence in host agencies, the gold standard can be easily found within the list of PATH members.
On April 30th, PATH held its highly anticipated 14th Annual Symposium in San Juan, Puerto Rico. With a record-breaking number of attendees, this two-day event showcased the remarkable spirit of cooperation among host agencies that typically compete in the travel industry. The symposium served as an invaluable platform for sharing ideas, establishing relationships, and addressing industry challenges.
The symposium kicked off with a productive morning session on the first day, where the PATH Host Agencies convened to tackle the pressing issues facing their businesses and the industry as a whole. Over the course of three hours, representatives engaged in lively discussions, exploring strategies to overcome challenges and enhance their services. Despite being competitors on a day-to-day basis, these agencies recognized the significance of collaboration during this event.
In the afternoon, attention shifted to the Suppliers’ meeting, where they gathered to discuss the business opportunities associated with working alongside host agencies. For three hours, suppliers explored ways to strengthen their partnerships and examined the evolving landscape of the travel industry. The session proved enlightening, allowing both parties to gain valuable insights and forge stronger connections.
As day one drew to a close, attendees were treated to a festive dinner reception at the Sheraton Roof Bella Vista Terrace. The vibrant atmosphere was further enhanced by the delightful flavors of Puerto Rican cuisine and the rhythmic beats of local music and dancing. The gathering provided a perfect opportunity for participants to unwind, mingle, and further cultivate relationships in a relaxed setting.
On the second day of the symposium, the joint meeting between PATH agencies and Suppliers commenced with an informative presentation by the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). Led by Mark Meader, Peter Labasso, Pam Bonnie, and Alvin Adriano, the ASTA team discussed ongoing advocacy initiatives and the challenges posed by attempts to redefine the classification of “independent contractors” in the travel industry. Furthermore, the future direction of ASTA’s training modules was a key topic of discussion.
At the heart of the event was PATH President Anita Pagliasso, whose remarkable energy, enthusiasm, and dedication to the organization garnered accolades from all in attendance. Pagliasso’s leadership and passion served as a driving force behind the symposium’s success, inspiring professionals to strive for excellence in their respective roles.
During the symposium, participants were divided into tables of approximately eight people, consisting of both host agents and suppliers. Each table selected two topics for in-depth exploration from a list of approximately 20 drawn up by the group as a whole ranging from FAM trip etiquette to dual affiliation, fraud, and beneficial technologies. At the tables, attendees developed ideal solutions and practical outcomes that would pave the way for the future development of the relationship between suppliers and host agencies.
The 14th Annual Symposium hosted by PATH proved to be an invaluable gathering for the travel industry, promoting collaboration, relationship building, and problem-solving. By setting aside competition and embracing the power of unity, host agencies and suppliers demonstrated their commitment to mutual growth and success. As the symposium came to a close, attendees departed with renewed enthusiasm, armed with new ideas and connections that will undoubtedly shape the future of the travel industry.