USTOA: Your Tour Operator Resource

U.S. Tour Operators Association Logo (U.S. Tour Operators Association)
by Linda Truilo
Last updated: 11:00 AM ET, Wed June 3, 2020

U.S. Tour Operators Association

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A powerful voice for the travel industry - from instilling professionalism industrywide to educating the traveling public to advocating for beneficial government policies - the U.S. Tour Operators Association has your back and your client's. And if there's ever been a need for a trusted partner, the time is now!

This organization of 150+ members serves as your link to vetted tour operators, accurate information, protection against lost travel payments should a participating operator cease business, resources to help you better serve your clients and allay any concerns, and much more. To learn more about the USTOA visit TravelAgentAcademy.com or follow this slideshow.

Fostering Trust

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The USTOA was founded more than 40 years ago to foster trust in tour operators, and its motto, "Integrity in Tourism," requires members to adhere to the highest standards in the industry.

Pioneer in Consumer Protection

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The USTOA made history in 1976 when it became the first travel organization to establish a fund to protect consumers' tour deposits and payments in case of a bankruptcy or cessation of business on the part of a member tour operator. Back then, the bonding requirement was $100,000 per member.

Still the Strongest in Protecting Travelers

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Today, the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program - which requires each Active Member company to set aside $1 million of its own funds specifically to protect consumers' deposits and payments - is recognized as the strongest of its kind in the industry. USTOA is the only association that provides such protection to consumers.

Solidly Vetted Tour Operator Members

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To join USTOA, a tour operator must provide a total of 18 references on its application from a variety of industry sources and financial institutions. Furthermore, it must be a wholesale tour operator authorized to conduct business under the laws of one or more U.S. states and show that it has actively done so for at least three years.

Ensuring Truth in Advertising

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Members are required to advertise and quote prices that are totally deliverable; accurately identify facilities, accommodations and services; and communicate any substitutions promptly to travel agents and/or their clients.

Educator and Builder

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Through ongoing public relations and consumer awareness campaigns, USTOA educates the traveling public about the benefits of packaged vacations. USTOA helps destinations and travel entities build tourism through organizing workshops, product development trips and meetings.

Building Bridges

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USTOA's highly active government affairs committee has tirelessly championed a policy of open borders. The committee has worked successfully with the Department of Transportation (DOT), U.S. State Department and other government entities to facilitate tourism worldwide.

Helping You to Sell a Myriad of Vacation Experiences

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On its website, the USTOA provides an Active Membership Directory, where agents can learn about its more than 150 participants whose product spans the globe, with diverse vacation experiences on all seven continents - Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia/Oceania, Europe, North America and South America.

Since each member has been vetted, you can sell with confidence!

Pinpointing Your Clients' Dream Vacations

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A particularly useful resource provided by USTOA on its website is the Dream Vacations tool, which allows you to search for member tour operator vacations by indicating where your client wants to travel to. The results will provide a marketplace for vacation packages and tour reviews.

Educating Agents on All Fronts

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The U.S. Tour Operators Association offers a course that will explain not only how to leverage its many programs and tools but also how to better serve your clients. You will learn:

- How to more accurately match the tour conversation to each customer's needs

- Tips for overcoming objections (misperceptions about tour products) that may come up during the sales process

- How to profile customers more effectively to create the best tour product match

- Advice on what to look for from a tour operator that will result in the greatest satisfaction level on the part of particular clients

- And more!

Visit TravelAgentAcademy.com and enroll for the USTOA Specialist Program today!

USTOA: Your Tour Operator Resource

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Agent At Home

Helping leisure selling travel agents successfully manage their at-home business.

Subscribe For Free

Agent Specialization: Group Travel

Laurence Pinckney

Laurence Pinckney

CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

About Me