The 5 Pillars to Travel Industry Education
GIFTE’s new tagline (that appears on the back of our business cards) is, “the next generation of travel education.” Let’s face it – it’s been a while since most travel industry education vehicles have been updated. At GIFTE, we like to believe that we are paving a new path within travel education and always innovating so our material is relevant. I write all this because I’d like to think I am an expert on travel industry education and I guess having a tagline on the back of my business card validates that. 🙂
A question that is posed often within the GIFTE community is how to decide what travel industry events to attend. Another frequent question has to do with certification and whether it’s worth it to get it … the CTA, CTC, CTIE and also CLIA. It’s natural to wonder about these educational options because 1) there is no formal licensing/certification/degree for travel agents and 2) we all want credibility.
In this article, I am going to share the 5 pillars to travel industry education. Once you know this, you will be clearer on where you have sufficient sources of education and where you may want to supplement. This will give you a sense of guidance when choosing the industry events you attend or what other education outlets you consume.
Here are the 5 pillars:
1. Sales Process
From the moment you get an inquiry until your client travels. Your sales process is what makes you valuable over the online booking engines. Typically, your host agency or consortia (or both) will provide pieces to this education pillar – at their annual conference and/or through their online training. Things like itinerary building tools, direct mail marketing programs, TouchBase, and programs within your hosts’ CRM like e-cards or WelcomeHome would fall under this pillar. But at GIFTE, we see the selling cycle to be more comprehensive and have explained it fully in this article.
i.e., the actual mechanics of how to book travel. So training on all the different agent booking engines, GDS systems, CRM systems, etc would fall under this pillar. We also believe that establishing your financial goals, systems for tracking them, the mechanics to collecting service fees and deposits fall under this pillar. Module 9 of GIFTE’s Make Money Selling Travel Blueprint covers these topics.
3. Supplier Training
i.e., product knowledge. This is a super important pillar and one in which a lot of newbies overindulge because they don’t know what else to do. What happens to many newer agents is they attend every single supplier presentation under the sun thinking that if they get more product training, clients will fall from the sky. No amount of product knowledge is going to get you clients (see pillar 4). Notwithstanding, this is a critical pillar and the travel industry events and online trainings do an excellent job at fulfilling this pillar.
4. Client Attraction/Marketing
Like I said above, “no amount of product training is going to get you clients.” You must have a clear and compelling marketing foundation and effective systems in place to realize a consistent pipeline of ideal clients. Of the 5 pillars to travel industry education, this is the one that GIFTE nails. We’d like you to think of us as your one stop shop for this pillar.
5. Entrepreneurial Mindset
A good portion of the people in the industry who are making a living selling travel brought an employee mindset to their business. No one is showing you how to be a business owner and to think like one. And let me tell you – the differences between an employee mindset and an entrepreneurial one are vast. To succeed long term, you will need to shed the employee mindset and develop an entrepreneurial/abundance mindset. Once again, we believe GIFTE nails this pillar and would like you to think of GIFTE as your one-stop shop for the Entrepreneurial Mindset pillar.
What we have found within the travel industry is that the big, travel industry conferences, including your hosts’ or consortia’s, do a great job at fulfilling pillars #1, 2 and 3 – Sales Process, Operations and Supplier Training. But if you’ve left a travel industry event feeling a little unfulfilled, it’s probably because you were craving education on Pillars 4 & 5. Prior to starting GIFTE, there was a huge void in that there was no resource for securing pillars 4 & 5 – Client Attraction and Mindset. Now there is. So if you are craving this, be sure to check out our annual event, the Book More Travel Workshop or our annual membership, www.giftemembership.com.