The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has launched its CLIA Member Cruise Line Travel Agent Training & Benefits Center, which displays online all the specific training programs and exclusive member benefits offered by each of the association's 25 member lines. Agents can simply click on the name of each cruise line to access the resource listing.
"Our surveys and experience demonstrate that professional development, in the form of training and certification, helps travel agents sell more cruises," said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO. "This is why CLIA invests heavily in offering one of the best and most extensive training departments in the travel industry and in making sure that our agent members have access not just to our programs but to all available professional development resources."
Over 16,000 CLIA Certification designations have been awarded to travel agents who have graduated from CLIA training programs. Nearly 11,000 agents are currently enrolled and pursuing CLIA certification, and for good reason as travel agents trained and certified by CLIA see their cruise sales jump as much as 261 percent. A recent independent survey conducted for CLIA found that agents are strongly invested in raising their level of knowledge and skills and that they seek out training and certification from every source possible.
Some of the highlights of the survey include:
* Three out of four (77 percent) CLIA agents have attended cruise line product seminars
* Seven out of 10 CLIA agents (70 percent) have attended land-based product seminars
* Over seven out of 10 CLIA agents (73 percent) have received destination specialist training
* 58 percent of all travel agents surveyed report having attended a travel agency training program hosted by a consortium or agency
Furthermore, commitment to training is active and ongoing, CLIA says. Most travel agents who have received CLIA training, for example, completed their most recent courses within the past year. Four out of five agents (80 percent) have taken a training course with the past three years.
In addition to CLIA's training and certification resources, virtually every cruise line offers its own training programs. In addition, the association's member lines provide an impressive number of exclusive benefits for CLIA-member agencies and agents.
"For that reason we felt it was important to ensure that all our agent members had quick and easy access to all the opportunities offered by the cruise lines," Dale said.
Accessed through the Travel Agent Resource Center on CLIA's website, www.cruising.org, the CLIA Member Cruise Line Travel Agent Training & Benefits Center provides links to every individual cruise line member of CLIA where agents can enroll in training programs or take advantage of exclusive benefits.
Depending on the line, training opportunities include online resources and courses, product seminars, webinars, dedicated "academies" or product specialist training programs and more. Exclusive benefits for CLIA agents may include special FAMS, reduced rate travel, ship inspection priority for graduates of CLIA certification programs, exclusive invitations for seminars, webinars and seminars at sea and much more. In most cases, a CLIA ID is all that is needed to have preferred Travel Agent Identification.