IATAN prepares to launch consumer website promoting the benefits of using a travel agency

Garden City, NY .... The International Airlines Travel Agent Network (IATAN) announced today that it will soon be launching a consumer targeted web site entitled www.LocateATravelAgency.com that will be dedicated to promoting the benefits and value of using a travel agency for purchasing travel and travel-related services. Additionally, the site would enable any person, wishing to locate a travel agency, to easily do so interactively, while visiting the web site. The consumer would simply enter the address where he/she was located and the web site would respond with as many as twenty travel agency offices that are the closest to the consumer provided address.

According to Mike Maino, President and CEO of IATAN, “This project is just the beginning of a broad-based initiative to involve as many industry leaders as possible to advocate the advantages a consumer gains by seeking out a travel professional to help them plan, book and ticket their vacation or other travel requirements. We are asking for, and will be actively soliciting, the participation and cooperation of the entire supplier community to assist us in making this site as meaningful a resource as possible. The target audience is any consumer who doesn’t currently use, or understand the potential benefits of using, a travel agency. We will be publishing, on this site, testimonials from participating senior executives of Airlines, Cruise Lines, Hotel and Car Rental Companies, Tour Operators, U.S. and Foreign Tourist Boards, and hopefully, other high-profile individuals, who share, with us, the goal of encouraging the consumer to use a professional travel agent. We will also be inviting any supplier, active on the Internet, to add a link directly to this new site to assist any visitor to their site who needs help in locating a travel professional.”

IATAN will use its entire database of accredited locations, that are open to the public, for the “locate a travel agency” segment of this web site. It will exclude STP locations and any location that is on the premises of a corporate client. Thus, there will be approximately 27,900 locations from throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. IATAN has licensed a state-of-the-art program called MapInfo MapX?, which accurately pinpoints the locations of travel agencies closest to the inquiring consumer. “It is not simply a zip code search,” Maino added, “but one that utilizes global positioning technology and ‘geo-coding’.” While there are other sites available on the Internet to locate travel agencies, few, if any, will be as complete as this will be or go to the extent that we plan to go in advocating the benefits of using a travel agency.”

Future enhancements planned for this site include the publishing of an agency’s URL, with a “hot link” capability to the agency’s web site. This will be in addition to the name, address and phone number that will always be published. Additionally an agency’s market/destination specialties or “niche(s)” are slated for future inclusion on the web site. These enhanced features will be available on a “subscription basis” for a fee of $60 per annum. There is no charge to any IATAN endorsed agency for the basic listing. IATAN is funding the entire development costs of this initiative and will use the above mentioned subscription fees to maintain and enhance the site.

Supplier or Industry representatives wishing more information, or wishing to participate in this project, should contact Mike Maino or Elizabeth Milward, IATAN’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Both can be reached by telephone at 516-747-4716; by email to [email protected] or [email protected]; or by regular mail c/o IATAN, 300 Garden City Plaza - Suite 342, Garden City, NY 11530. Travel agencies will receive additional information in the upcoming edition of IATAN’s NETWORK newsletter and through a special mailing that will be distributed shortly.