Association and Events Press Releases

ASTA Global Convention Opens 2018 Education Registration & Announces Headline Speakers

Travel Agent News for 2018 ASTA Global Conference

Alexandria, VA, June 20, 2018 – The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) welcomes back travel celebrity and crowd favorite Samantha Brown to emcee the ASTA Global Convention 2018 at the Washington Hilton in D.C., August 21-23, 2018.

“With more than 87 years in existence, ASTA has stood the test of time alongside the agent community, always evolving to fit the consumer needs from trip planning to travel policy. We’ve seen a lot of changes in the last 20 years. Our conference is tailored to address those changes and continue to move us all forward, together” said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby. “This is more than just a trade show,” he continued. “It’s an immersive educational experience where you’ll gain a competitive edge and it’s the only place where you can network with all the industry’s top leaders under one roof.”

A few highlights from our speaker roster this year:

  • 2017’s Top 25 Most Influential People in Business Travel by Business Travel News, Alison Taylor, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Distribution at American Airlines, will be our Keynote Speaker on Wednesday, August 22nd. Alison is an expert in developing sales strategy by building relationships with leisure, corporate and group customers, travel management companies, online travel agencies, and travel partners. She currently leads a team of more than 1,000 associates to sell the American Airlines product and experience.

  • Sponsored by BCD Travel, TEDx speaker and a Guinness World Record holder, Tom Krieglstein has trained over half a million leaders around the world on how to build a Culture of Connection where everyone feels welcomed, connected, and engaged. Tom has gone from a successful internet entrepreneur of a $1.5 million dollar company during college to a co-author for the award-winning book, “First Year Student To First Year Success.”

  • Fabrice Houdart, Human Rights Officer, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner, works on the Free & Equal campaign, an unprecedented United Nations global public education campaign for LGBT equality. He also leads a project on global LGBTI standards of conduct for Business on tackling LGBTI discrimination which are being rolled out in the World. To date 140 companies representing more than 9 million employees and US$4 trillion in revenues have expressed support for the initiative.

In addition to inspiring speakers, our hand-picked education sessions will elevate the attendees selling prowess, technological advances and business acumen. Here are some of the highlighted sessions travel professionals should know about:


  • The Art of the Upsell: Maximizing your value on every sale by Michelle Johnson – Director of Air Strategy, Celebrity Cruises. According to research, 83% of travel advisors do not book air with cruises… leaving thousands of dollars on the table at every sale! This session will help advisors learn how to provide comprehensive, full-service travel for every sort of itinerary. We’ll walk through different  strategies for upselling and increasing value for clients by offering more travel opportunities.

  • Attracting Great Talent: Ranked the #1 topic of choice by attendees in 2017, this session will teach you how to keep your business thriving with productive talent. Learn from the experts who have grown their own businesses with top talent and how you can use their tactics to build your own highly skilled team.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) 101 & 201 Marc Casto, President & COO of Casto Travel facilitates a timely dialogue with renowned AI experts in the travel space: AI 101 will  cover the basics of Artificial Intelligence; what it is; where “chatbots” fit in and how AI will impact everyone in the room and around the globe: travel advisors, owners/managers, leisure/corporate agencies, suppliers and more. You’ll come away with a better understanding of AI and whether you should fear or embrace it. At our separate AI 201 session, Marc will expand on what you can do to engage – and yes – even implement AI in your business.


For those looking for advanced accreditation, there will be four LIVE ASTA Verified Travel Advisor classes to earn credits towards your certification:


  • Rules of the Road: Agency Relationships and the Law

  • Don’t Go Bankrupt: How to stay compliant and avoid fines

  • Let’s Get Ethical: Operating your business with integrity

  • How to Get (and stay) on TV: Media training 101 by acclaimed CBS News reporter Wendy Gillette


Not only are the tracks rewarding and a sound business investment, ASTA is still accepting submissions until June 30th for the 2018 ASTA Entrepreneur of the Year to award a $10,000 check at the convention to further your business goals and contribution to the travel industry.


ASTA Global Convention 2018 is also about fun and immersion. This truly “DC” experience is showcased through our Embassy Receptions for an around the world party to Jamaica, Barbados, South Africa, Uzbekistan, Kenya, Bahamas, Chile and Hungary to get a taste of the culture and hospitality firsthand. Pre-select your country of choice on either evening August 20th or 22nd.

All the more reason why every agent, owner and manager needs to be at ASTA Global Convention 2018. It will be a time to learn, establish new relationships, see new places and have some fun.

For those of you that haven’t booked your ticket, there are passes available and education session registration opens Thursday, June 21: This is an ASTA event you don’t want to miss!


ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) 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, it is the leading global advocate for travel agents, the travel industry and the traveling public. ASTA’s history of travel 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, visit