IATA touts greater benefits for agents in digital ID card push

IATA is stepping up its global outreach efforts for its new digital identification cards for travel agents, encouraging industry professionals to get on board its paperless initiative to enjoy the perks and advantages as accredited cardholders.

The IATA ID Card – also known as IATAN ID card for travel agents based in the US – is a globally recognised identification card issued by IATA to travel professionals working for IATA-accredited travel agencies.

The digital IATA ID card was piloted in Canada and Australia in August 2018, followed by a global rollout in September.

Asia, in particular, is where the Montreal-based organisation now hopes to make greater inroads for its new digital card, Inigo Prieto, T&T product manager at IATA, told TTG Asia. “Penetration in Asia-Pacific is low, unlike strong acceptance of the card in Australia, Canada and the US,” he said.

The digital version, which complements the existing physical ID card, can be assessed through the IATA AgentExperience mobile app.

According to IATA, the new digital ID card accrues significant benefits to agents, among which is the easy proof and verification of travel agents’ professional status through email or QR code scan, greater protection against theft, and quicker access to industry offers and benefits from across travel suppliers worldwide within 48 hours of order confirmation.

The digital card is open to all IATA-accredited agents issuing air tickets through the BSP system, as well as Travel Industry Designator Service travel agents and tourism sales intermediaries.

To entice more agents to adopt the paperless initiative, Prieto said IATA is actively enlisting industry industry suppliers to offer travel concessions and rewards to its accredited agents.

However, “education” is still needed for local suppliers to understand the benefits of granting rewards and concessions to travel agents, Prieto stated, with wider outreach and distribution of their products and services through authentic sellers being a key advantage.

So far, the app has saw over 13,000 downloads in the two months since its launch, accounting for 10 per cent penetration among the 120,000-plus cardholders worldwide.

The next phrase in 2019 is to “add more features and build a community of agents on the app”, Prieto revealed, including “delivering micro, bite-sized training such as best practices” for agents.

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