When will the revised ARA become effective?
The revised ARA will become effective on July 1, 2013.
Will the changes to the ARA be reflected in the ARC Specialist Training and Examination?
Yes. The ARC Specialist Training and Certification Program will be updated to reflect changes to the ARA. This includes the training materials and the examination.
What does ARC mean by "Agent acknowledges that all Transactional Data may be used by Carriers and ARC for process Transactions, and any other lawful purpose."
The Agent can find complete details related to this statement published in our Data Usage Statement of the IAH. ARC added "and any other lawful purposes" to this updated agreement primarily as a matter of transparency. ARC has and continues to use Agency aggregated data in its data products (only the carrier involved in the transaction sees transaction level data for a specific agency). While ARC had made Agents aware of this in the past, we felt that, in line with ARC's more open and collegial approach with the agency community, this statement needed to be added to the ARA. It should be noted that ARC will never sell or release PII information to any agent, carrier or other entity not involved in the transaction.
Why is ARC making updates to the ARA?
The updated ARA offers ARC participating agencies more flexible, efficient options for accreditation and daily operations while maintaining the current operational integrity of ARC's reporting and settlement system.
The updates that were presented, and ultimately accepted by dozens of travel agency, airline, and travel association leaders throughout the United States, were a result of numerous conversations. There was a need to modernize the ARA both operationally and editorially. Although there have been amendments to the ARA in the past, which have allowed for modernization, the July 1, 2013 changes will encompass not just updates to the ARA itself, but it will also include complementary updates to processes closely associated with the ARA. For instance, the retention of one's ARC number should they move outside of the state for which that ARC number was issued.
Note: Two (2) main changes to processes that are not reflected in the ARA itself are multiple ARC numbers at one location and the ability to retain an ARC number when moving to another state.
Who decided on the changes to the ARA?
The changes made to the ARA was a collaborative effort between ARC, ARC participating agencies, ARC participating carriers, and various travel associations.
Is there anything that I need to do at my agency to accept the changes in the ARA?
No. By continuing to participate with ARC past July 1, 2013, your agency is agreeing to the ARA updates and amendments. There is no requirement for a signed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), like there may have been in the past.
If my agency goes through an ownership change or if we move to another location before July 1, 2013, are we still bound by the current ARA?
Yes. Your agency must always be in compliance with the ARA currently in place.
Will the changes to the ARA have an impact on my IAR sales report?
No. The changes to the ARA will not impact your IAR sales report.
Is the IAR sales report deadline changing as result of the changes to the ARA?
No. The IAR sales report deadline will remain the same; Tuesday after the Period Ending Date (PED) by 11:59pm ET.
How will my agency be notified to confirm our accreditation information?
Numerous communications will be sent to the agency's operational contacts letting them know that the affirmation process is ready for their location(s). This date will be different for all Agencies as it is based on the Anniversary Date of the first office location for that entity.
I have changes to make to my agency's accreditation information. Can I submit them now?
Yes. You can make changes to your agency's accreditation information by submitting the appropriate agency application form. Go to our Agency Form Catalogue
to obtain the appropriate form or you may use the Accreditation Tool where applicable.
If I have changes to my ownership or have moved locations and receive the affirmation request, do I have to rush to process those before I can complete my affirmation?
No. You can complete your affirmation and let us know what has changed. Your application process is then done. However, you will need to follow-up with ARC's Accreditation's department to submit the appropriate paperwork for the change you reflected within the affirmation process.
Auto-Authorization for a "Zero" Sales Report
Can I authorize my agency's "zero" sales report or does it have to be authorized by ARC?
You have the option to authorize your agency's "zero" sales report or you can allow ARC to authorize it on your agency's behalf.
If your agency's zero sales report has not been authorized by 11:59pm ET of the Tuesday sales report deadline, ARC will authorize your agency's zero sales report on your agency's behalf. This is applicable to zero sales reports only.
How will I know if my agency's zero sales report was auto-authorized?
All confirmation details will be provided on your agency's IAR home page. This is no different than the confirmation details that can be currently found on your agency's IAR home page.
What is the effective date for the auto-authorization of a zero sales report?
The effective date is Tuesday, July 9, 3013 for PED July 7, 2013.
Do I have to register to have my agency's zero sales report auto-authorized by ARC?
No. ARC will automatically authorize/submit your agency's zero sales report if it is not submitted by 11:59pm ET of the Tuesday sales report deadline.
Is there a fee assessed to have my agency's zero sales report auto-authorized?
No. There is no fee assessed.
ARC Specialist Qualifier and ARC Management Qualifier Questions
My ARC Specialist certification is up for renewal in 2015, do I need to retake the exam prior to the revised ARA becoming effective on July 1, 2013?
No. You will take the certification exam, prior to your certification expiration date.
Can the ARC Specialist Qualifier (ASQ) and Management Qualifier (MQ) reside at any location, including off-site?
Yes. The ASQ and MQ,who must be a full-time employee of your agency, can reside at any entity location, as well as an off-site location.
Is the ASQ still a requirement?
Yes. All new agencies, as of July 1, 1999, must maintain a full-time ASQ.
The ASQ became mandatory on July 1, 1999.All new agencies and agencies going through a Type II or Type V Ownership Change must have a full-time ASQ.
Existing agencies prior to July 1, 1999 were grandfathered-in and are not required to take the ARC Specialist Certification Exam unless the agency is going through a Type II or Type V Ownership Change.
If my agency is currently grandfathered-in, am I required to take the ARC Specialist Certification exam as a result of the changes to the ARA?
No. You are not required to take the ARC Specialist Certification Exam unless your agency makes a Type II or Type V Ownership Change.
If my agency is not grandfathered-in,will my ASQ be required to take the ARC Specialist Examination?
All agencies that are not grandfathered-in are currently required to take the ARC Specialist Exam and renew their certification every four (4) years, prior to the expiration date.
We are currently evaluating the ARC Specialist recertification requirements and hope to have more information regarding any changes/updates in the coming months.
Can the ASQ and MQ be responsible for multiple ARC numbers?
The ASQ and MQ can only be responsible for ARC locations part of their entity structure.
Is it true that my Management Qualifier no longer needs to have 2 years travel industry experience?
Yes, this is correct. ARC believes that the agency owners are in the best position to make the determination who is most qualified to fill this role within their business.
Associate Branch Location Questions
What is an Associate Branch location?
An Associate Branch location is a location that is partially owned by an agency's Home Office Location (HOL) or the owner of a HOL. The other owner can be another ARC accredited entity, a non-ARC accredited entity, an outside entity, or a person.
How many Associate Branch locations can an agency have?
An agency can have an unlimited number of Associate Branch locations.
How does a Home Office Location (HOL) apply for an Associate Branch location if the HOL is located outside of the United States?
The HOL must reside in the United States, per ARC's accreditation requirements.
Can an Associate Branch be owned by two (2) HOLs?
Yes, two (2) HOLs can own an Associate Branch location. However, only one (1) HOL can apply for the Associate Branch. The applying HOL will have full financial responsibility for the Associate Branch.
There is no limit to the number of entities that can own an Associate Branch. However, only one (1) HOL can be designated as the "owner" within ARC's accreditation.
What is the required Financial Instrument for an Associate Branch?
The Home Office Financial Instrument will be between$70,000 and $150,000. The amount can be adjusted based on the same financial instrument calculations that are used today for all agency locations. This range will be evaluated over the coming years once ARC has been able to review the business risk associated with the Associate Branch model and can/will adjust accordingly.
What is the process of becoming an Associate Branch or acquiring an Associate Branch location?
An application must be submitted by the HOL who will be assuming full financial responsibility for the Associate Branch. If another HOL is acquiring your agency as an Associate Branch, that HOL must submit an application to do so. In the latter scenario, after the application has been processed, your agency's office type will be changed to an Associate Branch.
Will a carrier recognize an Associate Branch location? Will carrier incentives be provided?
ARC will notify our participating carriers of new Associate Branch locations through the carrier bulletin process. In addition, an Associate Branch identifier will be included on the Agency List File (ALF). The ALF will provide ownership information.
Carrier incentives are between a carrier and an agency. It is outside of ARC's realm.
State-to-State Address Change Questions
Currently the first two (2) digits of an ARC number identify an agency's state. Will this remain the same?
When an ARC number is first distributed, it is distributed by state, using the first two (2) digits of the ARC number to do so. Should an agency move to another state, the ARC number will not correspond to the new state for which the agency moves to.
ARC will continue to provide participating carriers with all Ticket Reporting Agency (TRA) information, including ARC numbers, to ensure those participating carriers have the most up-to-date information relating to your business.
Multiple ARC Numbers at a Single Location Questions
Why would an agency need to have multiple ARC numbers?
Some agencies may have a need to secure dedicated ARC numbers to identify their corporate accounts, and to facilitate their agency's accounting systems.
My agency has a number of Centralized Service Locations (CSLs). Do I need to do anything as a result of this new change?
No. These locations will still remain active but will simply be identified as a branch location.
Is there a limit to the number of ARC numbers for a single location?
No. There are no limits to the number of ARC numbers for a single location.
Is there a fee for additional ARC numbers?
Yes. The fee is currently $600, following our current Branch and CSL fee.
Modification of the Sales Report Draft/Credit Window
I currently wait for checks to clear and extend credit to my customers. How will the reduction in the draft window impact me?
ARC recommends that each agency review and adjust any processes that may be affected as a result of this change. This will ensure that your agency's sales report draft amount (net remittance) is available to be drafted five (5)days after the PED.
What is the effective date for the change to the sales report draft/credit window?
The updates to the ARA will be effective on July 1, 2013. The first PED under the adjusted sales/credit window will be July 7, 2013, with a draft/credit date of July 12, 2013.
Please note that there will be a second draft/credit for the week of July 8, due to the previous PED (June 30, 2013). The June 30, 2013 PED sales report submission date will be July 2, 2013, with a draft/credit date of July 10, 2013.
This will be the only week where there will be two (2) draft/credit dates within a business week.
Will the draft remain the same if the draft date falls on a federal holiday?
A Monday or Tuesday holiday does not affect the Friday draft/credit. If the banks are closed on a Friday, due to a holiday, the draft/credit will take place on the following Monday.
Should the sales report submission date fall on a holiday that is Tuesday, we urge all agencies to ensure that processes are in place to have the sales report submitted the next day (Wednesday) for the subsequent draft/credit that Friday of the same week.
Will refunds be received sooner as a result of the modification to sales report draft/credit window?
If you are processing credit card refunds, the process will remain the same and is dependent on the credit card company. Cash refunds will reduce your agency's draft amount.
ARA-Defined "Additional Operating Requirements" Questions
What are ARA defined "Additional Operating Requirements?"
ARA defined "Additional Operating Requirements" (AOR) are additional requirements that are placed on agencies that are experiencing financial irregularities (Qualifying Events) during a 12-month period.
The number of Qualifying Events has been reduced from three (3) to two (2) occurrences to maintain the current operational integrity of ARC's reporting and settlement system.
What are the Qualifying Events?
The Qualifying Events are:
- Late sales reports
- Dishonored drafts/checks
I have submitted my agency's IAR sales report late a number of times this year. Should I be worried about being placed in an ARA defined "Additional Operating Requirements" status or being terminated?
When you have a financial irregularity that needs to be resolved, such as a late sales report, ARC will contact your agency immediately and ask you to resolve the issue within 24-hours. As long as your agency's report has been submitted within 24-hours after being contacted, your agency will have nothing to worry about. The AOR only applies to those agencies who repeatedly fail to resolve the issue within 24-hours.
In addition, ARC does take into consideration unforeseeable events such as natural disasters (i.e. Hurricane Sandy).