The Travel Institute today released part two of its key findings from the organization’s new study, The Changing Face of Travel Agents, which reveals compelling statistics that demonstrate the strong correlation between certification and financial success. The second half of the report also explores on-the-job contentment or the positive outlook held by travel professionals when considering a long-term career in the industry.

The results are based on responses of nearly 2,000 U.S. travel agents to an online survey, which was conducted in December 2017 by Schreiner Research Services, an independent market research organization.

While part one of the survey was an eye-opener in terms of the explosive growth of the IC demographic, part two gets to the heart of what matters most to the majority of professionals: Is my investment in education really helping me make more money and is the travel industry the right fit for me job-wise? President Diane Petras, CTIE, answers both questions with a resounding Yes!

“I look at these results, especially compensation, as a trifecta for our industry beginning with well-trained travel professionals who are earning significantly more money than agents without advanced learning,” said Petras. “Secondly, for suppliers, whose distribution network is immensely smarter and more proficient at selling travel, including their specific products. And lastly, the consumer who truly benefits from agents’ hard-earned knowledge and skills that go hand-in-hand in creating an extraordinary vacation experience.”

“Looking at it specifically from The Travel Institute’s perspective, we’re excited to now have the hard numbers that speak to what we’re all about as the gold standard in travel agent education and certification. We proudly are the educational life-line for travel professionals through all stages of their career.”

Certification Matters

Survey findings from The Changing Face of Travel Agents clearly indicate higher sales and income are by-products of certification, especially the Certified Travel Associate (CTA), Certified Travel Counselor (CTC), and Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE) designations earned through The Travel Institute.

  • Looking at certification and specialist graduates, the average sales in 2017, ranked from highest to lowest, looked like this:
    • Travel Institute Certified (CTA, CTC, CTIE) $554,880
    • Travel Institute Destination & Niche Specialist $488,336
    • CLIA Certified (CCC, ACC, ECC, MCC) $446,512
    • Supplier/other destination & niche specialist $403,775
    • Travel Institute TAP certificate (Travel Agent Proficiency) $265,541
    • No certification or specialist training $215,114
  • Again, looking at certification and specialist graduates, the average compensation in 2017, ranked from highest to lowest, looked like this:
    • Travel Institute Certified (CTA, CTC, CTIE) $42,953
    • Travel Institute Destination & Niche Specialist $37,534
    • CLIA certified (CCC, ACC, ECC, MCC) $33,332
    • Supplier/other destination-niche specialist $31,645
    • Travel Institute TAP certificate (Travel Agent Proficiency) $21,968
    • No certification or specialist training $19,428
  • At the higher end of the compensation scale, nearly one in four or 22% of Travel Institute certified graduates and 16% of CLIA certified agents earned more than $60,000 in 2017, compared to just 7% of non-certified agents  to reach the higher earnings threshold.

Look Who’s Happy

In the last decade, the satisfaction ratings by travel professionals have shown marked improvement in several key areas. Granted, the economy was far from thriving in 2008, but the positive outlook in 2017 truly bodes well for the workforce. (Please note: ICs and employees are equally happy with working in the travel industry so the following scores represent both segments.)

  • 96% of agents are happy with their current position (vs. 84% in 2008)
  • 97% are likely to remain employed in the travel industry for the rest of their career (vs. 52% in 2008)
  • 68% recommend a career in retail travel (vs. 29% in 2008)
  • Only 11% cite high job-related stress (vs. 29% in 2008)

To review part one of The Changing Face of Travel Agents study issued by The Travel Institute on May 7, go to: https://www.thetravelinstitute.com/2018/05/07/how-independent-contractors-are-changing-the-face-of-the-retail-travel-industry/

Methodology

The Travel Institute contracted with Schreiner Research Services to commission research among U.S. retail travel agents. The online survey was conducted between Nov. 30 – Dec. 29, 2017 and distributed jointly by The Travel Institute (representing 30%) and a number of industry partners (representing 70%). A total of 1,808 travel agents completed the questionnaire.