Ongoing product knowledge and information about suppliers are important arrows in a travel agent’s quiver. TRO has developed both a webinar program and a searchable online Consolidator, Tour Operator and Cruise Directory to meet the need. Both resources are heavily used by agents and are updated continually. No registration is required for use as both the Webinar page and the Directory reside outside of the password protected pages of TRO website. Both represent the best collection of information in either category available for travel agent use.
Three years ago, TRO launched an ambitious Webinar program. Suppliers jumped at the opportunity to better educate travel agents on their products. As a result, TRO has conducted an outstanding 80 webinars and promoted a host of others. At each webinar, Leigh Strinsky, our coordinator, works with the supplier to set up the promotion of the event, and then coordinates the technical issues on the day of the webinar. With some webinars achieving hundreds of agent attendees, the challenge is significant. However, webinars present agents with an opportunity to learn about the people behind the supplier, to ask questions and to get a better feel for the inner workings at a personal level. Each webinar is recorded for agents who cannot attend and posted on TRO’s Webinar Center.
TRO also conducts webinars on a variety of non-supplier topics. Two of the most popular were the 7 Characteristics of Top Travel Agents webinar and a joint project with ASTA on the perils of Card Mills. As a result of the latter webinar, TRO launched WWW.CARDMILLS.COM to help agents educate the public about the prevalence of card mills in local communities. Agents are free to link to that site from their own or to direct their clients to the site for additional information when questions arise.
Many years ago, the Official Tour Operator Directory was one of my favorite travel agent resources. When that periodical ceased publication, I felt a real asset had been lost. To compensate for the gap left by the demise of the OTOD, TRO created its own Consolidator, Tour Operator and Cruise Directory. Any tour operator with a good reputation for working with travel agents can list in the directory for free. Agents can search by destination or by activity, just as they could in the OTOD. Periodically TRO sends reminders to Tour Operators to participate, to refresh their profiles and to consider adding additional information for agents.
Finally, TRO is in the process of developing specialized programs for agent training t. There are currently several in process. Each provides travel agents with not just information on a tour operator and destinations, but also on an array of tools to market particular destinations.
Ongoing education vital to your travel practice. Please let us know how we can better provide the tools you need to stay current in the industry.