Every good agent knows that it's key to stay up to speed on all that's happening in the industry, but how much education is necessary? And who should be responsible for the cost? Travel Agent asked, you answered.
Watson & Watson
Some agency owners turn to the convenience and cost effectiveness of the Internet to school agents at home and in the office. "Being a member of Virtuoso, there's a tremendous wealth of training available via WebEx seminars, and our people take advantage of that," shares Bob Watson of Watson & Watson in
Watson believes education is vital, regardless of who pays for it, saying, "It represents an investment on your part as well as the willingness to learn."
Etherson Travel Destinations
"Our training is primarily in-house," says Rick Etherson, owner of Etherson Travel Destinations, in
Etherson explains he leads in-house training sessions utilizing manuals based on the products the company sells. He keeps his agents up to date with two refresher courses a year. The company has five outside sales agents, including one who is a CTC with 30 years of experience.
"We have a narrow alley of sales: the Caribbean,
Aloha Travel Agency
Hawaii Aloha Travel is a tech-savvy travel agency run by owners Bruce and Yaling Yu Fisher with the support of a team of independent contractors. The agency, based in
"Especially when you're selling
Kelly Shea, vice president and owner of Earle Travel in
"If an agent doesn't know a product by the end of day, they can find out pretty quickly," she says, adding, "It's a good way to cut costs."
To keep costs trim, Shea encourages all agents to take advantage of fam trips, which are usually wholly or partially paid for by the tour operator. "When fams come across my desk, they go to everyone in the office," Shea says.
—David Eisen, Camie Foster, Jennifer Merritt, Mark Rogers