Diane Petras, CTIE

An open letter to the industry from Diane Petras, CTIE, President, The Travel Institute

FRAMINGHAM, MA, April 13, 2020 – A few weeks ago, I suggested how we manage through this time will make a lasting difference both for individual and industry success long after the COVID-19 crisis has passed. During my 30+ years of travel industry experience, I’ve seen the resiliency of travel professionals time and again. During this current crisis, our team has been resolute about supporting our industry by offering content that enables agent growth despite the downturn in business. I’m encouraged now by recent, high demand from so many professionals seeking to strengthen their professional and practical capabilities while they have the unanticipated time to do it. This has been evident at The Travel Institute in several ways recently:

  • a 29% increase in April to date with agents enrolling in certification and with a significant number of additional agents seeking extensions;
  • more than 650 students currently connecting in our private CTA study group on Facebook; 
  • 1250 agents downloading our Business Planning course thus far during our temporary complimentary offer, representing more than $60K in value;
  • an 11% increase in April attendance for our complimentary webinars vs. year-to-date;
  • more than 1000 new subscribers to our weekly micro-learning piece since mid-March; and
  • a notable spike in inquiries from our certified graduates to activate their digital credentials.

As a non-profit, independent organization dedicated to industry education, we remain committed to doing what we do best: providing relevant and accurate education on timely topics that advance agent knowledge and skills regardless of career stage. In that spirit, and in support of all agents during these unprecedented times, we announce:

  • Our Business Writing module available free of charge, through April 30. This module is one of 15 included in our Certified Travel Associate, or CTA®, course. As you communicate complex or sensitive topics during this time, this course will ensure you are clear, concise and consistent, contributing to your impression as a competent professional. 
  • Our Business Planning course, typically reserved for our Premium Access Lounge, will remain available free of charge, through April 30. From client databases and testimonials, to marketing and communication plans, skill development, relationship building and more, analyze your current situation, plan for future opportunities, identify and set goals, and develop plans to achieve those goals.

I invite you to take a tour of our website and explore all of our course options, certification, premium access programming, and our webinar calendar.  Also don’t forget, this may be the perfect time to ensure you’re caught up on your Continuing Education Units, CEUs, with supplier partners and other training. Stay connected and let us know how else we can help.  It’s truly exciting so many of you are choosing to be proactive and productive, reacquainting yourselves with what we offer or, in some cases, getting familiar with us for the first time—welcome to all! We thank you for comments like these:

  • Stephanie Chappelle, CTA, travel advisor at Warren Place Travel, says she’s focused on making “lemons out of lemonade” during this challenging time through content from The Travel Institute Premium Access program.
  • Nancy Greco, Travel & Group Destination Events Specialist at No Nonsense Travel & Event Planning, is using the time to complete her CTA. “…I’ve had so many things interrupt my life in the past year trying to get it completed. I now finally have TIME…with no excuses,” Greco says.
  • Roxanne Simmons, RSimmons Design, is already “looking forward to Part 2” of our recent “Don’t Let Your Agency Go Dormant While This Virus is Active” webinar and said, “The topic was very timely and gave thought-provoking information on how to proceed with our business.”

Whatever your circumstances, keep learning from The Travel Institute and from other key industry organizations! When you succeed, our entire industry benefits. For now, I’m buoyed by my steadfast belief that demand for travel will again be healthy for leisure and business, domestic and global. Prepare for that and prepare for success. Indeed, industry education is an investment in yourself—and your future!

Stay safe and keep learning,

Diane

P.S. In addition to the above complimentary courses, I suggest you:

  • Continue referring to The Travel Institute’s Tips & Tools, originally published March 24, to continue learning during the crisis. 
  • Use The Travel Institute’s “PEP Talk” campaign for daily inspiration on being positive, proactive and productive. You’ll find them in our Hot Tip Tuesday weekly email.
  • Take 5 minutes to get more leads. Ensure travelers looking for a certified graduate find YOU. 1) Activate your digital credentials and 2) Adjust your privacy settings to ensure you’re searchable.