The Travel Institute Launches Group Travel Course for Advisors

The Travel Institute has released a new “Group Travel Specialist Course” amid growing demand from travel advisors to learn more about the niche market and its scalable revenue model for group reservations and bookings.

While the concept of group travel is not new, its definition has broadened from off-the-shelf supplier trips to include customized experiences such as private family cruises and “bucket list” adventures to “affinity” trips for like-minded travelers. A recent survey of travel advisors showed 55 percent believe they will sell more group travel in 2024, while more than half say the revenue model is “very important” to their overall business.

“For advisors, it’s easy math. You can build and sell an itinerary for one traveler or family or you can build and sell that same itinerary to five, 10 or 20-plus more travelers. It’s a great way to increase revenue without proportionately increasing effort and cost—as long as you have the knowledge and skills to be successful,” said Guida Botelho, CTIE, senior director of education, The Travel Institute.

What’s less easy, Botelho cautioned, is the effort that goes into creating custom group itineraries, as well as understanding the complexity of coordinating a group’s movement, special supplier agreements and contractual terms, costing, attrition, deadlines and more—all while ensuring traveler satisfaction throughout a group despite inevitable individual preferences.

The curriculum for the new online course includes:

  • Understanding of the basics, benefits and unique challenges of group bookings
  • Nuances of group categories, including cruises, land-based itineraries and hotels/resorts
  • Strategies for finding groups and for best utilizing group leaders
  • Best practices for branding and promoting groups
  • How-to advice for the sales conversation, including the "wow" effect, as well as effective communication to manage expectations and ensure traveler satisfaction
  • Tips on creating a business and marketing plan to grow and support group sales efforts
  • Considerations for costing and pricing, including sample language for terms and conditions, and other supplemental resources

The course, under development since early 2023, also synthesizes practical advice and tips from group travel expert advisors throughout the industry. Co-authored by Donald Capparella, CTC, CEO and founder, Quality Travel Solutions, the course is further supported by sponsors ALG Vacations and Oceania Cruises.

Students who complete the “Group Travel Specialist Course,” pass their online, proctored exam and submit an experiential checklist will earn standing as a Certified Group Travel Specialist as well as 10 continuing education units (CEUs) toward maintaining active certification as a CTA, CTC or CTIE. Such designations are used by advisors to further their expertise and market their capabilities as travel professionals. The new course is one of many destination and niche specialist courses available at no charge for The Travel Institute’s Premium Access subscribers.

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