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Tern Wins ASTA Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Announces free AI through July

Tern wins ASTA Entrepreneur of the Year! Our journey from the 2022 ASTA conference to now highlights our commitment to revolutionizing travel advisor tech. Uses award to give free AI to all Tern users!
Written by
David Shull
Published on
June 4, 2024

Today I’m thrilled to share some incredible news with you. Tern has been honored with the ASTA Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2024. 

Having the opportunity to share Tern on stage at the ASTA annual conference was a moment I’ll never forget. It was one of the special full-circle experiences that only come around once in a while.

In the fall of 2022, Brian, Katie, and I showed up to the ASTA conference in San Francisco. We knew nobody and virtually nothing about the industry. I remember sitting at the Young Professionals Event talking to an advisor, an agency leader, and a supplier. I finally got the courage to ask what felt like such an obvious question: “how do you actually book things?” Two hours later and I walked away with an understanding of how complicated this industry was and how big the opportunity for technology to help.  

We walked away deeply believing that the fragmentation of technology was holding the industry back. Everyone we spoke to at that first ASTA was desperate for a unified system that could power their travel businesses efficiently and effectively.

Two years ago, we set out to build just that. 

David, Katie, and Brian at the ASTA Conference in San Francisco (2022)

Taking the stage at ASTA in Dallas

We’re technologists at heart but what we love most about this industry is the people. As I walked through the halls of the ASTA conference something simple dawned on me - we knew people. Advisors that were using Tern came up to us to say how they felt like they knew us from our webinars. We connected with agency owners, suppliers, and influencers who had heard about what we’re doing and wanted to say hi. 

We no longer felt like outsiders, and that was an incredibly special feeling. 

As I took the stage I felt the pressure of not letting my team down. We have a small but mighty team that cares deeply about this industry and our users. Our team pours their heart and soul into crafting Tern so that it makes a difference in the businesses of our users. 

I stepped on stage and staring back at me was the three-minute timer. Three minutes to tell the world how Tern is rethinking the role of technology in this industry. Three minutes to do justice to the work of the Tern team.

Then, I saw something else. I saw the faces of the industry staring back at me full of excitement, interest, and support. These were our people and the nerves faded away. I began to share our story. 

Free AI for everyone through July! 

On stage, John Chernesky asked every finalist the same surprise question: what will you do with the money? We had our answer ready to go. We’ve seen the tremendous impact that AI is having on the workflow of advisors. If we won, we promised to use that money to cover the costs of AI through the end of July. 

We're doing exactly that. 

  • Tern’s AI Assist features are 100% free through the end of July. 
  • We’ve increased the usage cap by 10x and now reset it monthly! This dramatically increases the number of itineraries that can be imported / created using Tern. 

We’re grateful to the Dan and Gloria Bohan Foundation for making this possible! 

Another milestone: one year from our first users

Dallas was our third ASTA conference and each ASTA has been special to Tern in its own right. Last year, in Puerto Rico, we were promoting our founding flock: the special designation for the first 100 advisors to sign up for Tern. A few weeks after ASTA in 2023 we launched the first version of Tern. 

Tern at ASTA 2023

It was a simple itinerary builder with a simple CRM attached. At the trade show in 2023, when people asked us if we had a feature, 99 times out of a 100 we responded with: “that’s coming”. Most of the time we got a skeptical look in return. Sometimes they would say the quiet part out loud: Building everything we need will take you the better part of a decade and we’re not holding our breath. 

A handful believed in us. We sold out of our founding flock by the end of May. These early users saw the potential and have played a critical role in shaping the product into what it is today. So to all the Founding Flock and Early Birds I want to say - this award is just as much yours as it is the Tern team’s. We genuinely would not be here without you. 

It’s hard to believe that twelve months ago we barely had a product. Today, we lead the industry in CRM, interactive itineraries, compliant credit card authorization, and so much more. Our new vertically integrated agency features are poised to save advisors hours of time, reduce unclaimed commissions, and improve reporting for agency owners. 

Later this year, we’ll introduce a new way for DMCs to sell and collaborate with advisors. We’ll introduce ways for larger suppliers to scale the impact of their sales teams and more effectively track ROI on their investments. 

Gratitude, Excitement, and Thanks

We’re incredibly grateful for this opportunity and excited for what the future holds for the travel industry. Thank you for believing in us and for joining us on this journey. Together, we’re transforming the way travel advisors operate and bringing the industry into the future.


David Shull
CEO and Co-founder, Tern

For more information about Tern and how we can support your travel business, visit our website or contact our team directly. Join us on this exciting journey as we redefine the future of travel technology.

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