Travel agents MUST consider ATAS

Already I can see the feedback … “How the hell are you saying we should sign up for ATAS when we barely know all the details.”

I’m not.

I am saying take a good, hard look and review the criteria. Why?

The first reason is pretty straight forward but airy fairy.

Agents should stick together, support one another, form a critical mass that sends a positive message to the Australian travel public.  United front, all that.  But the truth is that each agency will act in its own interest. That’s human nature and that’s fine.

Secondly, if you don’t have it, customers will ask why.  “Couldn’t you get it?  Why not? How are you protecting me? “

But finally and more importantly is that the entry criteria form an excellent health check for any business in any industry.  All companies should be reviewing their activities in these areas on an annual basis, whether its at a formal board meeting or sitting in the stands at the boxing day test writing some notes between balls.

The areas of ATAS accreditation applicable to any business include:

  1. A Code of Conduct

    What,  how and why you do things is at the core of running a business, almost a moral health check.  Holding a mirror up to yourself and your business is a very healthy activity. Don’t like what you see?  Improve it.
  2. Consumer Engagement and marketing

    Covering everything from how you present yourself, how you get your customers and how you manage issues with them.  Complaints management is under-rated in importance.  Getting it wrong can not only suck time and energy out of your business but lose your customers.
  3. Business Compliance – fit and proper

    At its most basic level, you should not trade insolvent.  Being forced to perform an annual financial review of your business, identify what’s working and what is not, is the hallmark of successful companies as they grow and adapt. Who knows, you might pick up a percentage point inprofit.

The industry is changing; adapt or suffer.

So at the end of this process you might decide you don’t want or don’t need ATAS for your business, but at least you thought about it and made an informed decision.


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