Cruise Planners/American Express has revealed that agent accreditation has increased 100 percent with 50,000 courses taken since introducing Cruise Planners University (CPU) nearly one year ago.
The news follows the launch of the CPU senior track, which went live within the website during the company’s annual convention last month in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Earlier this year, CPU won the coveted Gold Magellan Award for its innovative approach to training.
Prior to the launch of CPU, an online educational program integrating Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and select cruise line and tour company universities with Cruise Planners’ core training modules, 33 percent of Cruise Planners agents were CLIA certified.
Now, nearly 55 percent of Cruise Planners agents are CLIA certified and are taking their continuing education to a new level, working toward becoming Certified Cruise Planner Experts (CCPE), the new platinum standard in travel agent accreditation. There are currently 600 active CPU students with 400 graduates moving on to the senior track.
"Seeing how our agents have embraced CPU, CLIA training and our partners’ university programs shows the commitment they have to providing the best level of service to consumers," said Terri Burke, CTC, MCC, senior vice president of relationship marketing for Cruise Planners/American Express. "This business is always changing and CPU provides a dynamic platform allowing our agents to learn at their own pace, wherever, whenever by using cutting edge Flash video technology and providing agents with a broad curriculum taught by industry experts – all with the latest information to keep our agents informed."
The senior track launched with 30 courses ranging from Virtual Tools for Your Virtual Office and Go Google Yourself to Breakeven Analyses for Groups. The curriculum was developed to provide agents with information on how to improve their home-based travel business while also focusing on social media and its uses to increase business.
“Our CPU curriculum focuses on both travel knowledge and business best practices in order to create a versatile ‘travel agent of today,’” Burke added.
In addition to CPU’s senior track, Cruise Planners has also added a virtual coaching platform to the online program. The new feature is an interactive resource that provides agents personalized news and information to help them grow, sell and serve customers. The site's information is fully searchable and archived for use at any time.
Cruise Planners has also launched “Success Express,” a new beta exclusive partnership with CLIA that provides agents with a discounted bundled rate for all three components of the organization’s programs.
Now it’s easier and more economical for agents to become a member and earn certification. Success Express includes the CLIA travel agent identification card, individual membership and certification enrollment at a preferred price in recognition of Cruise Planners’ steadfast support of CLIA training and certification initiatives.
"It’s not just about cruises anymore," said Burke. "We want our agents to be well-rounded when it comes to every aspect of the travel industry."