I love the time we get to spend together, when I write for TRO. Some of you I “see” through the magic of social media, every day. Every 6 weeks or so, it’s my turn to write for TRO. I get to share whatever is going on in my world.
Lately I am hearing more and more discussion on the topic of legitimizing our profession, through earned credentials. Specifically, having a governing body decide who is qualified (and who isn’t) to become a travel professional. I completely agree that something must be done to differentiate the truly committed, from the hobbyist who hasn’t invested the time, to learn the trade. Oh I’m sure they’ve invested something, but it’s not likely to include a tourism course at a local travel school, community college, or The Travel Institute. It’s probably more like a few hundred bucks, for “free travel”, and never having to work another day in their life. All they have to do is sign up their family and friends, and refer them to a very special “travel website”. (Rolling my eyes)
Those of us, who are truly committed to our industry and our professionalism, recognize the hard work required to be a success in this business. We are constantly striving for more ways to learn every single day, as well as to find creative and interesting ways to engage our current clients, and attract new ones.
This is not an easy job to do, and to jump in with no formal training just seems a little crazy to me.
As a veteran travel pro, the way we did business in 1982, and the way we do business now in 2014, is vastly different. As agents we are constantly evolving, and re-educating ourselves; we are learning to work smarter, not harder. Just consider the technology advancements that have occurred in the past 32 years, no the past 15 years, WAIT, the past FIVE years. Management styles and selling techniques have changed as well. Are you still doing things the 1982 way, or have you decided to embrace new technology and do it the 2014 way?
This month, The Travel Institute is hosting “Promote Your Professionalism.” The month long campaign is designed to make you, the travel professional, shine! This week’s focus is on Social Media. The most famous educators/speakers in the industry are doing webinars for FREE. They are giving you their e-books and white papers, yes, for free! If you haven’t visited the Institute website lately, take another look. There are tons of certifications that you can earn to help you be recognized as a trained and educated travel professional. But the best part of Promote Your Professionalism month is the scholarships! They are offering scholarships that subsidize up to 50% of the cost of courses to travel agents who want to get to the next level in the industry. Destination Specialist, Certified Travel Associate, and Certified Travel Counselor are just a few of the courses available to you. In the interest of disclosure, yes I applied and was awarded one of the scholarships to help me finish my CTC certification. What seemed like an impossible feat just two years ago is going to be over and done, in 12 months or less. Then I get to order new business cards with a jazzy, CTC, after my name!
You owe it to yourself, you’ve earned the recognition, and you are worth the investment!
The Travel Institute website can be found at www.thetravelinstitute.com. While you are there, sign up for Hot Tip Tuesday, you won’t be sorry!
Tracee Williams is a 32 year veteran of the travel industry. She has extensive experience with both corporate and leisure travel agencies in Northwest Arkansas. She specializes in Honeymoons, and Luxury Travel. She is a CTA, ACC, Platinum CSS, and a Sandals Weddingmoon Specialist. She is currently studying to get her CTC. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas with her husband Darrell, and their fur babies, Callie, Annie, and Peanut.