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White Papers

Engagement of Workers as Independent Contractors in California in Light of Assembly Bill 5 — August 12, 2019
This FAQ document reviews common questions on the likely effect of the bill based on location of the agency and the IC, legal structures...

Payment Collection Programs Report — April 5, 2019
This Premium Member report provides information on PayPal and its potential use for travel advisors. Provided in the report is a detailed comparison of three payment options: ARC TASF, a typical merchant program and PayPal.

ASTA Guide to Selling Tours — April 5, 2019
Covering the three benefits of selling travel insurance - customer protection, agency protection and increased revenue - this guide will help you set up a travel insurance sales program.

The Employee Classification Quandary Report — April 4, 2019
A premium member report on how travel advisors fall under the Federal Wage and Hour Laws, the report includes an overview of the federal minimum wage and overtime rules under the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938).

California Seller of Travel Fact Sheet — April 3, 2019
In late 2016, California made several changes to its seller of travel law, including broadening the exemption for independent advisors and adding a new registration requirement. In an effort to help our members comply with the new law, which went into effect on January 1, 2017, ASTA has updated its California Seller of Travel Fact Sheet.

Protecting Your Travel Business: Legal Issues Regarding the Use of Independent Advisors — November 20, 2018
This analysis provides guidelines for determining whether the government will view a travel-agency worker as an independent contractor or as an employee. It will also familiarize agents with some of the pertinent state and federal laws. Premium members receive expanded and analyses of state agency and contractor laws and a sample contractor agreement.

FTC Endorsement Guides Fact Sheet — September 26, 2018
The question of how the Federal Trade Commission’s Endorsement Guides impact travel advisors’ use of social media has been in the news lately, and the goal is this fact sheet is to provide background on the Guides, how they might be applied to our industry and some best practices for members to consider in this area.

Net Neutrality Fact Sheet June 2018 — June 7, 2018
In December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed its 2015 “net neutrality” order requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all online sites and services in an identical manner. This fact sheet gives an overview of the issue and its potential impacts on our industry.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Fact Sheet — April 4, 2018
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Fact Sheet

GDS Surcharge White Paper & Carrier Matrix — January 12, 2018
The purpose of this White Paper and Matrix is to assist agency owners, managers, operations team members and front line agents in quickly identifying which carriers have introduced a GDS surcharge, the surcharge dollar or Euro amount, how that surcharge is applied, the fee’s effective date, whether or not the carrier offers a “Private Channel Agreement” option, whether the carrier offers a direct web portal for agent bookings, and what code share partners may be considered as an alternative to avoid the GDS Surcharge, but book on the same carrier’s “metal” or aircraft.

New Distribution Capability (NDC): Current Agency Implications — October 24, 2017
This ASTA “white paper” provides the reader with the latest assessment regarding its implications to agencies, 2017 developments to date, GDS and other technology implications, its adoption and a view of the ultimate endgame – Is NDC an evolution or a revolution?

Ethics for Travel agents Manual — September 21, 2017
While all ASTA members already pledge themselves to conduct their businesses in accordance with the ASTA Code of Ethics, we created this manual as an in-depth study of critical ethical considerations facing their businesses and the travel industry as a whole in the twenty-first century.

Agency Relationships and the Law Manual — September 21, 2017
The concept of “agency” – the legal relationship that is created when one person is authorized to act on behalf of another – is an important one in the travel industry. Travel agents are routinely authorized to act on behalf of others, most notably, the traveling public. This manual uses real-life case studies to provide an understanding of what this means to the travel agent.

2017 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Manual — September 21, 2017
ASTA’s 2017 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Manual is a plain-English white paper that explains the major federal statutes and regulations that directly impact travel agents. ASTA has added several new features to the 2017 manual

State Work Share Programs: Are They a Viable Alternative to Lay-Offs? — November 14, 2016
During an economic slowdown agency cash flow shrinks and credit is difficult to come by, so the owners of agencies often feel compelled to lay off employees in order to cut payroll expenses. However, members should be aware that they have a viable alternative to lay-offs.

Employer Options to Respond to the Department of Labor’s New Overtime Rule — October 4, 2016
Under the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime rules, effective December 1, 2016, the salary threshold under which virtually all employees are guaranteed overtime pay will increase from...

ASTA’s 2016 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Handbook — July 1, 2016
ASTA’s 2016 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Handbook is a plain-English white paper that explains the major federal statutes and regulations that directly impact travel agents. ASTA has added several new features to the 2016 handbook, including an expanded chapter on full-price advertising incorporating the Federal Trade Commission’s guidance on how travel agents should disclose hotel resort fees, as well as an entirely new chapter on the complex and frequently-changing rules governing selling travel to Cuba.

Credit Card Chip Technology is Here – Are You Impacted and Ready? — June 25, 2015
Credit card companies and retailers are moving to new “chip card” standards in the U.S. in preparation for a “liability shift”. Impacted ASTA members should ensure they have upgraded credit card readers and software to those that can read chip cards.

ASTA’s 2015 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Handbook — March 11, 2015
ASTA’s 2015 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Handbook is a plain-English white paper that explains the major federal statutes and regulations that directly impact travel agents.

Review of NCFs White Paper — October 15, 2014
ASTA explains the nuances of the federal tax code as it relates to this category of deductible business expenses. It also provides members with general guidance on legitimate deductibility of As an advocate of the travel agency industry, ASTA has prepared this white paper to help its members understand the role Non-Commissionable Fares (NCFs) play in cruise sales both historically and currently.

ASTA’s 2014 U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Handbook — March 4, 2014
This handbook explains the major federal statutes and regulations that directly impact travel agents. The 2014 handbook also contains new guidance on the Hazardous Materials Rule, which all agents must follow effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Payment Card Industry (PCI) Standards and Travel agents — April 9, 2013
What are Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) and how does it apply to travel agents. Plus resources for ensuring that your travel business is PCI compliant

Travel Advisor’s Guide to Copyrights — February 5, 2013
The Internet makes it extremely easy to copy and reuse. This guide explains the laws associated with reuse and how to legally obtain materials for your professional use.

ASTA's U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance Handbook — January 29, 2013
This white paper explains in plain-English the major federal statutes and regulations that directly impact travel agents. It not only outlines a travel agency’s obligation with each rule, but also provides supplemental guidance that ASTA has obtained directly from DOT in response to concerns expressed by members.

ASTA's Guide to Debit Memos — January 14, 2013
ASTA's Guide to Debit Memos provides tips for preventing and responding to airline debit memos. Debit memo management is an important component of the travel agency business and is discussed in detail in this document, including recommended steps for responding to debit memos, sample response text for the most common types of debits, tips for preventing debit memos and frequently asked questions. Click on the link below to access this valuable resource.

Host Agency Management: Protecting Your Business — August 7, 2012
It is important that you periodically review your business practices to minimize your risk of fraud, theft and errors. The following are guidelines that may help you reduce your chance of dealing with a bad IC.

Travel Advisors' Guide to Secure Flight — May 24, 2012
ASTA has created a white paper called Travel Advisors' Guide to Secure Flight to provide members guidance on how to best comply with Secure Flight data collection requirements. ASTA will continue to monitor the situation and update this paper.

Travel Advisors Guide to Travel Insurance — May 24, 2012
Reviewing the 3 benefits of offering travel insurance - customer protection, agency protection and increased revenue - this guide summarizes the major types of travel insurance coverage as well as limitations, gives tips for choosing a travel insurance provider, and provides important cautions for advisors implementing or reviewing their travel insurance program.

Beware of Card Mill Promotions Offering Free or Reduced Travel as Travel Advisor Perks — October 10, 2011
ASTA's Consumer Affairs Department cautions consumers to beware of offers from card mills, companies which sell questionable travel advisor credentials. Consumers may be led to believe that such cards allow them to travel at free or reduced fares.

Federal and State Lawmakers Turn Up the Heat on Misclassifying Companies — July 13, 2010
In recent months, federal and state lawmakers have stepped up efforts to significantly raise the stakes on businesses that misclassify their workers as independent advisors. The ramped-up pressure on employers comes in the form of newly enacted legislation or stern proposals aimed at non-compliant businesses.

Calculating Your Risk Factor - Identity Theft — June 7, 2010
What Travel Agencies need to know about the Red Flags Rule. This document covers information on what you need to have in place ... regarding identity theft.

Travel Insurance Regulations: Time for Change — May 26, 2010
ASTA and the United States Travel Insurance Association (USTIA) are working together to advocate that the insurance commissioners change the costly and fragmented regulatory compliance regimes that some travel sellers must endure to offer travel insurance to their clients.

British Airways' (BA) New Deal — February 24, 2010
Premium member report. Overview of the new model BA plans to use to transition travel agencies that receive upfront commissions from a commission-based model to a pseudo-net model.

BTC Report on Airline Unbundling — February 5, 2010
Premium member report. Airline unbundling of ancillary services and threat to unbundle GDS costs are perhaps the biggest threats that TMCs face.

The Role and Value of the Global Distribution Systems in Travel Distribution — January 25, 2010
This white paper available to Premium Members only, courtesy of the Interactive Travel Services Association (ITSA) is PhoCusWright's most comprehensive study done to date on GDSs.

Using Census Bureau Statistics for Market Segmentation — December 10, 2009
Explains ways to use the Census Bureau data to enhance your marketing

ARC Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) and Carrier Fees Project — August 7, 2009
ARC is developing two projects that will allow travel agents to collect carrier assigned fees and charges. One is called the Carrier Fees Project and the other is called the Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD).

Commerce Clause Analysis of State Seller of Travel Laws — July 14, 2009
Over the past two decades, several states have responded to mounting claims of fraud perceived to be from within the industry and legislators in those states by enacting tough laws designed to provide certain protections to consumers. More often than not, Seller of Travel laws are duplicative and even overkill legislation since each state already has strict laws designed to combat fraud.

State Regulation - Seller of Travel Legislation Study — July 14, 2009
Currently, seventeen states including the District of Columbia impose some type of regulation on travel sellers and tour operators. Due to the perceived rampart abuse of consumers, states began enacting stern measures designed to combat fraudulent business practices within the industry. California, Florida, Hawai'i and Washington generally have the most restrictive seller of travel regimes, while the laws in states like Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are much more limited in scope.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Program — November 25, 2008
On November 13, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) program will soon become mandatory for certain travelers. This White Paper is intended to serve as a reference guide for travel agents who wish to assist customers intending to travel to the United States.

Airline Payment Summit — July 7, 2008
The airline industry held another Airline Payment Summit on April 9-10 in Toronto, Canada. The summit was particularly intense, with the first day alone consisting of twelve presentations and two panel debates.

Public Relations Guide — April 7, 2008
If you've been wondering how to go about choosing a PR agency, this guide will walk you through a selection process. Topics include researching and interviewing prospective PR agencies, the information you will want to hear during an agency’s pitch, and the results you should expect from a campaign.

Inactive Segments — April 7, 2008
This document contains information to help members manage inactive airline segments.

Navigating the Tax Labyrinth — February 24, 2008
ASTA explains the nuances of the federal tax code as it relates to this category of deductible business expenses. It also provides members with general guidance on legitimate deductibility of the convention, fam trips and cruises expenses. Members can learn how to lower their tax bills by utilizing these tax benefits. But you are urged to consult your accountants or financial professionals in order to take full advantage of travel related tax allowances.

Credit Card Surcharge Laws — July 9, 2007
Focusing on the laws of eleven states that ban credit card surcharges in specific transactions, this report examines how those laws affect travel agencies and airlines. The report also includes an analysis on how well travel agencies are protected by these laws should the airlines decide to pass credit card expenses onto travel agencies.

Credit Card Surcharge Laws — July 9, 2007
Credit Card Surcharge Laws - for premium members

ASTA/Sloan Foundation Study — July 9, 2007
Conducted by the University of South Carolina's Travel & Tourism Industry Center, the ASTA/Sloan Foundation study gives a detailed look at the key strengths of highly successful American travel agencies. This in-depth study provides insight into what key factors make a travel agency successful, including: relationship building, customer service and networking.

Analysis of ARC Sales Statistics — June 20, 2007
The Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) released its year-end sales statistics with forecast for 2007. ASTA’s analysis of this data covers current sales trends, predictions and estimated demands.

Creating a Privacy Policy for Your Agency — June 20, 2007
This report explains the law on Web site privacy policies, offers privacy policy implementation tips and contains a sample privacy policy that Premium Members can use to craft their own privacy policy. It also addresses the issue of managing privacy within the office by protecting employee records and assuring that office equipment is used properly.

Working With The Media - Communications Guide — June 9, 2007
A premium member report on how travel agencies can work with the media and reporters to get favorable media coverage. Working with reporters can be painless with the proper preparation and understanding of the benefits the following report offers very practical advice that is easy to apply.


ASTA Headquarters

American Society of Travel Advisors
675 N Washington St, Ste 490
Alexandria, VA 22314 U.S.A.