January 6, 2015
Alexandria, VA, January 6, 2015 – Members of the American Society of Travel agents (ASTA) must evaluate what, if any, operational changes they will make to their business models as major hotel chains begin putting new policies in place to restrict free wifi offers when customers book through travel agents.
ASTA is providing a comparison to its members of these new policies that range from free wifi provided to all guests regardless of agency booking method or loyalty program by Hyatt, to Starwood’s policy to allow agency customers who are Preferred Guests to enjoy wifi if the agent makes the booking at SPG.com, to Marriott’s new policy that does not allow its non-elite Rewards members to enjoy free wifi if they use a travel agent.
“Let’s be clear, ASTA’s members are against any policy that limits a consumer’s freedom of choice in how they purchase a hotel room, a cruise, an airline ticket or any other means of travel,” said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby. “Consumers should be free to book using the channel of their choice rather than being forced to trade off wifi services—now an essential tool for virtually every traveler—against the other benefits of having professional assistance when booking travel,” he said.
To help travel agents better understand the nuances of the offers by each of these hotel companies, ASTA has created a side-by-side comparison of each of these three new wifi/Internet policies. This chart also breaks out the brands within each hotel company’s portfolio that are and are not impacted by the new policies. The chart can be found on ASTA.org.
Rebranded in 2018 as the American Society of Travel Advisors, ASTA is the leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry and the traveling public. Its members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally-based members, ASTA’s history of industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931 when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. For more information about the Society, visit ASTA.org. Consumers can connect with an ASTA travel advisor at TravelSense.org.