Graduates of The Travel Institute Continue to Earn More in both certified and specialist categories

2023 Survey Reaffirms Value of Agent Education

The Travel Institute today released additional findings from The Changing Face of Travel Agents 2023 survey, addressing the ongoing correlation between quality education and success as well as evolving influences on agent learning and sales. The third in a series from the industry’s education leader, the 2023 survey benchmarks various aspects of the agent role comparing responses to The Travel Institute’s 2008 and 2018 surveys while also exploring new and evolving influences. Key additional findings include:

    • Travel professionals certified by The Travel Institute continue to earn more with:

o   24.3% more in annual income than travel agents lacking any industry certification and 12.5% more than travel agents who have earned a different industry certification.

o   26.5% more in annual sales than travel agents lacking any industry certification and 10.5% more in annual sales than travel agents who have earned another industry certification.

    • At the same time, travel professionals earning their Destination Specialist or Lifestyle Specialist designation from The Travel Institute also earn more than their industry colleagues averaging:

o    17.8% more in annual income than travel agents lacking any industry certification and 6% more in annual income than travel agents who have earned a different industry certification.

These results, consistent with both the 2008 and 2018 surveys, offer a state-of-the-industry check as well as a report card for The Travel Institute, the non-profit industry asset founded by industry leaders and dedicated to ensuring higher level education for all travel professionals at all career stages. “We are not surprised by these results but we certainly appreciate continued affirmation of our mission, curriculum, and industry position,” remarked Diane Petras, CTIE, president of The Travel Institute. “The benefits of certification through The Travel Institute remains clear.”

Petras emphasized quality agent education does not solely benefit agents. Suppliers also experience bottom-line results when they have well-qualified advisors effectively represent and sell their products. Ultimately, consumers prefer experienced and educated travel advisors over self-booking.1 “As an industry, we’ve re-earned travelers’ trust in recent years and we need to continue to support quality agent education to ensure we keep it,” she asserted.

Other interesting agent insights:

    • Many agents plan further training through 2024 on topics including: 70% destination knowledge, 63% supplier products
    • 87% rely on supplier communications
    • 66% use trade media for industry news and updates
    • 65% utilize social media for news, marketing/selling travel, networking, and peer-to-peer learning
      • Facebook is most widely used at 96%, followed by Instagram, 61%; YouTube, 34%; Linked in, 30%; TikTok, 18%, and “Other” at 3%

Petras also shared that 80% of those respondents who have credentials from The Travel Institute report they were initially referred to the education leader by an industry colleague. “Our students and graduates are best at telling our story and, after experiencing the value of our training first-hand, many are eager to tell others,” she said. Awareness about the value of agent education continues to increase as demonstrated throughout The Travel Institute’s July 2023 Promote Your Professionalism scholarship event, which brought in a record number of applicants at nearly 50% more than its previous record, set in 2020 when many agents used pandemic downtime to advance their education. “More and more agents know there are no shortcuts to success, adding education in with their dedication and hard work. They’re putting their best foot forward to ensure they are capable and credible and our industry and travelers are recognizing that,” Petras said.

In keeping with its non-profit mission, The Travel Institute provides both free and for-purchase educational options for agents at all stages of their career. Learning opportunities include new agent training, certification, specialization and destination courses, free webinars, and an unlimited, continued learning program through its Premium Access online library. 

Initial findings from The Changing Face of Travel Agents 2023, including agent interest in part-time, flexible employment, the potential “aging out” of experienced agents and agent job satisfaction rates, was released earlier this summer and can be found here. Learn more at The Travel Institute.

1 2023 Traveler Satisfaction


The Changing Face of Travel Agents 2023 results are based on responses from more than 2300 North American-based travel professionals to an online survey, conducted in Fall 2022 by Equation Research, an independent market research organization. Respondents include owners/managers, frontline retail agents as well as corporate/meeting/incentive agents with responses solicited through a variety of public channels available to all travel industry agents. 

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