Wanted: travel metasearch companies and traditional travel agencies doing business online.
The US-based Interactive Travel Services Association¬†has brought in a new, top executive, Joseph Rubin, who’s charged with making the
organization a full-time endeavor and expanding its membership base to include travel metasearch companies, traditional travel agents and other firms with an online bent.
ITSA’s members currently include online travel agencies and global distribution systems.
Rubin, who most previously was vice president of public policy and legal affairs for the Consumer Data Industry Association, replaces Art Sackler, longtime executive director of ITSA.
Sackler, who had served part-time in the role and juggled duties for other professional organization clients, stays on in a consulting role.
Rubin says ITSA is getting its own internal operations in order, will be doing some hiring and plans on starting on outreach to new members midway to late 2012. Various membership structures are under discussion, he says.
ITSA’s main focus in the near term is on persuading state and local governments to avoid “fruitless” efforts in suing OTAs on the hotel occupancy tax issue, and to push for airline fee transparency and the ability to purchase them through travel agents, Rubin says.
“Board members all felt ITSA has a lot more potential and there is a much bigger role we can play in the public policy space,” Rubin says. “You are going to see more activity.”