Travel Agent Guide To Continuing Education

As we move past two hard years of the pandemic, there’s hope that 2022 will be a better year – if not a banner year – for the travel industry. As travel shut down, many travel advisors turned to online education courses to boost their knowledge. It is important going into a busy year not to forget or put aside those educational opportunities. For those who want to continue building their industry, business and travel knowledge, here are some of the top places to find courses.

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The Travel Institute

An ideal place to enhance your knowledge of travel is the Travel Institute. Travel advisors can gain advanced certification through the Travel Institute with Certified Travel Associate, CTA, Certified Travel Counselor, CTC, or Certified Travel Industry Executive, CTIE credentials. They also offer destination training, courses in niche and destination marketing and business and financial planning courses.

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Travel Agent Academy

Travel Agent Academy offers a wealth of in-depth educational opportunities for travel advisors. The courses often offer certification to confirm the agent is an expert on a specific topic as well as education credits and/or rewards through loyalty programs upon completion. There are currently more than three dozen courses available on the platform, which is easy to use.

With Travel Agent Academy, an advisor can become a Chile Travel Expert or a Costa Rica Specialist, learn everything they need to know about Denmark through the Denmark Online Travel Training, enroll in the Key Lime Academy to discover Key West or attend the Wellness Travel University.

ASTA Education

Travel advisors should always look to their national trade association for educational opportunities. The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) offers a variety of live and virtual events that provide opportunities for travel advisors to develop their breadth of knowledge.

At ASTA’s Global Convention, there are opportunities to learn about new trends, marketing, destination training, business operations, sales and more. Next year’s convention will take place August 24-26 in San Francisco.

ASTA also offers a number of onsite learning opportunities in destinations around the world. Coming up in 2022 is the ASTA Global River Cruise Expo in Budapest, the ASTA Travel Masters at St. Andrews and the ASTA Latin America Showcase in Costa Rica.

ASTA trade show 2021
Suppliers bring advisors up-to-date on new products at ASTA’s 2021 trade show. (photo by Theresa Norton)

For travel advisors who want to learn more about cruising specifically, look to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). The association offers a number of continuing education programs to enhance travel advisors’ knowledge of cruising and selling.

Their online course catalog includes courses on best practices, virtual ship inspections, building client loyalty, converting prospects into customers, sales, customer service and business management.

CLIA also has certificate programs for family cruising, public relations, luxury cruises, accessible cruise travel, specialty and boutique cruises and meetings and events at sea.

Host Agency and Consortia

Travel advisors who are members of a host agency and/or consortia have a number of educational opportunities to choose from. Most provide initial training opportunities but also offer ongoing courses in addition to marketing and sales support. Annual conferences and virtual events can be valuable resources for travel advisors looking to further their knowledge on trends, destinations, supplier partners, marketing tools and more.

Educational Outlets for Learning

Sometimes furthering your education doesn’t have to come from the travel industry itself. There are a number of educational outlets that offer business training, sales training and even just inspiration for those who feel stuck in a rut.

Travel advisors shouldn’t overlook classes on Coursera, Google Career Certificates, MasterClass and TedTalk, as these can be good resources for various types of classes to boost knowledge on a variety of topics.

Networking at an event
Networking at an event. (photo via gremlin / getty images)

Virtual and In-Person Events

Host agencies and consortia spent a lot of time during the pandemic working to offer a variety of virtual events in place of in-person, and the result has been a lot more educational opportunities offered in addition to live, in-person annual conferences. Host agencies and consortia can be an excellent resource for ongoing education and training.

Hands-On Experience

When you are selling products related to travel, one of the best ways to ensure you are booking the best experiences, hotels and destinations is to visit them in person. FAM trips are an ideal way to learn about everything clients will experience when they are there. A good resource for finding available trips is Agent@Home.

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