This is probably one of the most important topics on this website and I am going to give you the straight scoop regarding your travel industry education and training. I have made millions in the travel industry while others with advanced degrees have failed. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that any educational experience is meaningful. It is just that if you are going to spend money learning, don’t you want to spend it in the direction where you will get the highest return for your investment?
In your search for information you will run across many sites that promise to train you to become a travel agent. They try to convince you that there is some magic to processing a reservation and that they have “insider” information that will be conveyed to make you a “super-star” travel agent when you have completed the training. That is such bunk. Understand, I am not trying to sell you anything (unless you buy my books). In fact, I am going to give you access to the same, or better training with nominal or no cost. It is up to you to make your mind up as to the value of it.
In today’s world the skill-set that is required to succeed has little to do with the content offered in most travel training courses. In today’s world, clients want detailed destination and product knowledge and not much else. As an example, If you go to a travel school to learn how to book cruises, rather than take cruises to familiarize yourself with the particular cruise lines, ships and ports, you offer very little value to the client. Anyone can book a cruise on-line now, it is the specific information about the lines, ships and ports that clients seek. The only way to get this information is to research it and then validate your research by experiencing the product as a passenger. By participating in these training courses, you are perceived to be more credible with the community that offers them and are much more likely to gain any promotional benefits that might be available.
The web has eliminated the operations side of a travel agent’s work and leaves him or her with the specific knowledge that they use to advise his or her clients. Product knowledge is the key to your success and don’t let anyone tell you differently. You are much better off taking a cruise or a trip to a destination that you sell than going to school or getting some “professional designation”. Of course, the very best scenario is to study the product in advance of experiencing it and there are many opportunities to do so. Here is an excellent example of a free course that will give you knowledge and benefits.
Starwood’s StarPro Program
Starwood’s StarPro Program: This is a wonderful program that everyone should complete. Starwood’s brands include St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, the Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Le Meridien, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Four Points by Sheraton, aloft and Element.
Complete the first module and you will qualify for exclusive STARPRO rates through Starwoods new Travel Professional Experience Rate program. STARPRO rates start at $69 and can be booked at starwoodpro.com.
Adding to the rewards, if you pass module one of ProLearning by January 31st 2009 you will automatically be entered to win one of nine sweepstakes awards. Starwoods nine world-class brands have each contributed incredible sweepstakes prizes that will provide winners with an insiders look at the unique customer experience that each brand offers. Those who pass are also eligible to win up to a four-night stay at one of Starwoods participating properties around the world.
There is no reason to wait to start, so why not sign up right now!
Here is a sample list of what is out there for home-based travel agents to take advantage of. Note that many of these programs are also offered by travel industry educational organizations for a fee. Why in the world would someone choose to pay more than they have to? This list will allow you to access the source of the training and for the most part, for free. Destination Training Programs, Hotel and Resort Training Programs, Cruise Line Training Programs, Lifestyle Specialist Programs, Tour Operator Training Programs.
|Captain Cook Cruises||Carnival Cruise Lines|
|Destination Weddings Specialist||Ski Specialist|