I recently read an article by Jeff Selingo, who wrote two best sellers about higher education. He believes learning is always “on” and it’s what separates a professional from a novice and hones the skills needed for a job. He also says those skills churn at a rate faster than ever before. This, combined with a strong need for on-demand learning in a mobile society, means educators must consistently meet students where they are, and when and how they’re available.
Naturally, this got me thinking about the new talent we educate every year. When you’re new to the industry, you need to learn so much just to keep pace and build confidence. And it’s not just supplier products, agency processes, or even sales skills. I’m talking about basic industry knowledge and learning how to communicate given so much industry-specific lingo – it’s like learning a foreign language.
When you’re just starting out, you don’t know what a host agency is, nor do you understand preferred supplier relationships, the value of a consortium, or the meaning of GDS, FIT, CLIA, ASTA, and USTOA and so many more abbreviations and acronyms. None of it is familiar, yet all of it is important in building your foundation for success and preparing to support your agency, supplier, consortium, association, and your own career or business.
This is a primary reason why The Travel Institute exists. We keep learning “on'' throughout one’s career starting with our introductory program, TRIPKitSM educating over 1700 students each year through Independent study, colleges, and career schools. We’ve seen many of these students go on to build successful careers as frontline travel advisors by combining their new-found knowledge with their own creativity, unique niche markets, personalization skills, or technology expertise. They get to know their customers, curate custom travel experiences, and not only understand where their travelers want to go, but also how they want to feel when they get there!
If you’re an agency owner or supplier and work with a TRIPKit graduate, you are working with someone who passed their Travel Agent Proficiency, or TAP®, exam demonstrating they have made a commitment to their career in travel and already have a strong foundation of knowledge. Recognize their desire to become a professional and reward it by allowing them to grow and learn from you and you will enable their success as much as your own.
If you are new to the travel industry or in a position to guide new agent development, explore our TRIPKit curriculum or attend one of our free webinars to learn more.
Supporting new talent brings profitable opportunities to our entire industry!
Diane Petras, CTIE
President, The Travel Institute