Column: How to Learn and Earn

In 1993 Travel Agent created the first supplier education program for The Walt Disney Company called the Disney College of Knowledge. Now, 22 years later, the Disney College still exists, as does our Travel Agent University.

Today, Travel Agent University — www.travelagentuniversity.com — has the largest membership of any type of travel agent network with 38,500 active participants. In the last 12 months, we have granted more than 60,000 certifications from 50 suppliers including a wide range of destinations, cruise lines and hotel companies.

Why is this so successful? The answer is simple: You, as travel consultants, must have a greater knowledge base than your clients, you must use certification as a marketing tool to attract clients and, most importantly, you now have the distinct honor of using the term “Specialist.” Remember that word, as it is the next job description you will use in the future.

We have progressed from Agents to Professionals to Consultants to Advisors and now Specialists. Generalist agents now have to compete against these Specialists who immerse themselves in Romance, Cruise, Luxury or Adventure, to name a few specializations. Consumers will gravitate to the person who can give them the deepest immersion into the type of travel they are seeking.

To better prepare you to be that person, the Travel Agent University team has just upgraded the site’s technology to give you an even richer experience as you learn more to earn more.

The Next Step: Travel Industry Exchange

Beyond the virtual education, we have also created a live event — Travel Industry Exchange (TIX), to be held September 15-17 — to help you become a Specialist through in-person interaction. It’s only fitting that our inaugural Travel Industry Exchange is taking place at Walt Disney World, where it all started. This event will take you down dedicated educational tracks by Specialist categories, followed by an all-appointment-based trade show floor to help you connect with those category suppliers, making you more prepared to do your jobs as our industry continues to evolve.

So whether it is live or virtual, we are here to take you into the future to learn and earn beyond your expectations.