Diane Petras, CTIE
FRAMINGHAM, MA, April 10, 2018 – Diane Petras, CTIE, 30+-year veteran of the travel industry, was named president of The Travel Institute during its annual staff and board meetings, which wrapped up in Las Vegas on April 9.
According to Brian Robb, CTIE, chairman of The Travel Institute Board of Trustees, Petras’ promotion to president creates far-reaching benefits, not only for the non-profit organization but also for the individual travel professional.
“One of the characteristics of a thriving company is having a recognized presence to represent the organization on a daily basis. Diane is well-suited to be the voice of The Travel Institute because she has a vision for the future of the industry, the travel agent’s role, and how The Institute can enhance that, said Robb, principal at The Robb Aspect and former senior vice president at the Mark Travel Corporation.
“The Travel Institute continues to make impressive gains both in course content and technology. With Diane’s extensive talents and diverse experience, she will lead the organization with enthusiasm, foresight, and a keen business sense.”
Petras started in the industry in 1986 as a travel agent in Downers Grove, Ill. Her career includes experience in corporate travel and as a business owner (travel agency and meeting planning), a producer of travel-agent training events, and a developer and marketer of travel software at TRAMS and Sabre for more than two decades.
“My 20-year relationship with The Travel Institute goes back to the days of ICTA and its popular national forums, said Petras, who managed these annual training conferences and served on its National Forum Advisory Board.
“When I officially joined the staff in 2010 as COO, my primary focus was to integrate technology more effectively within our operation. At that time, our e-commerce and self-service were in the early stages. It was critical to move our content and services online in an engaging environment that made it easy for students to find exactly what they needed.”
While Petras is encouraged by the resurgence of travel agent usage by consumers, she is concerned with the “become-a-travel-agent-overnight” expectations by newcomers to the industry.
“As much as we want new agents to be superstars on day one, there is no magic pill for instant success,” said Petras. “These agents need quality education and mentors because many are on their own, working from home, and without a manager or coworker immediately available to help them find the resources they need to thrive in today’s highly competitive environment. The Travel Institute recognizes that need and will never compromise on the quality education we provide.”
Looking ahead, one of The Travel Institute’s major initiatives in 2018 relates to increasing the consumer’s understanding and appreciation of agent certification. Petras and her team are in the final stages of a project to help the organization’s more than 25,000 certified graduates showcase their credentials with their customers.