Every day our education coaches hear this question as an abundance of people consider joining our growing industry. And, while this rush of new talent, energy and ideas is exciting, there is an undeniable gap in the knowledge they need to be successful. Indeed, we count on our frontline agents to represent our industry and so closing their knowledge gap is key to our collective success.
As a non-profit organization since 1964, The Travel Institute’s mission is to provide the education, training and certification necessary for travel agents, new and experienced, to be respected travel professionals.
Whether our students come to us from colleges teaching our curriculum or from another industry and are seeking a new career path, our potential new agents understand they simply “don’t know what they don’t know” and that there is much to learn about our vibrant industry and their role as a travel professional.
First, newcomers must understand the industry is constantly changing. This includes technology, suppliers, traveler issues and destination information, as well as language…even the term “travel agent!” Over the years, as commissions fluctuated and service fees were introduced, the need to add value to the travel-planning process evolved. We have become travel associates, consultants, advisors, counselors, designers, curators and specialists: terms that better convey the true value of a travel professional and the reality that continued learning is key to long-term success. Whatever word you choose, professional travel agents save travelers time and money while also serving as an accessible advocate navigating an increasingly complex industry to provide peace of mind and security for travelers before during and after a trip.
In addition, to become a professional, it takes more than a love for travel. Having a passion for helping people see the world is a great place to start, but there are other important considerations. Do you know the information required to research and book your clients’ air, accommodations, tours, cruises, or ground transportation? Do you know current recommendations for international travel? What qualifying questions should you be asking your clients to help them narrow their vacation options? How do you promote your value to your clients? Do you know the basic business requirements to start an independent business, build a marketing plan, and develop a niche? Do you know who your ideal client is, and where to find them?
Knowing the best-practice fundamentals for travel and business, along with supplier- and agency-specific products, booking processes and technology, sets new agents on the track to success as a travel professional. Yet, this fundamental knowledge is bypassed by some newcomers hoping to fast track their success, which is improbable without it.
Long considered the industry’s “gold standard” for new agent training, the TRIPKit introductory program is a self-guided, blended learning course with online and print components. It is used by individuals studying independently and is also the core educational program for agency owners and managers training new staff. A turn-key, affordable and flexible educational tool, TRIPKit helps create the career path for potential travel advisors by providing a comprehensive, up-to-date overview of booking air, ground transportation, accommodations, cruises, tours and packages, and in-depth geography while also exposing potential new agents preferring an independent travel business model to numerous considerations, including tax implications, marketing plans, business development tips, practical business advice and more.
What Others Say about TRIPKit:
“The Travel Institute’s introductory program helped me tremendously in my new travel career! I had no clue where to start and TRIPKit helped. The most important part was learning all the small details about planning travel that I never would have thought of! 10/10 would do it again!” –Lydia Garcia
“I definitely have a better understanding of how the travel industry works. I think the geographic and cultural overview of the world was very important. We all know our little corner of the world, but very few know a lot about countries on the other side of it.” –Heather Tracy
“Completing the TRIPKit program helped me enter the travel industry with confidence. The Travel Institute helped pave the way towards my success. Graduating from this program gave me a strong foundational knowledge of the industry and valuable information on some of the most popular destinations to travel around the world. I feel more confident as a new professional and the value I will add to a client’s vacation.” –Cindy Stafford
Start your New Year with your New Career today!
By Guida Botelho, CTIE
Guida Botelho, CTIE director of education for The Travel Institute, is passionate about helping travel professionals maximize their potential for both themselves and for the travel industry.