Specialist Course offers agents updated look at evolving market and traveler types.
FRAMINGHAM, MA — The Travel Institute has released the 4th edition of its Luxury Travel Specialist course providing travel agents with expert advice and insights on the latest trends, traveler types, and product offerings along with an all-new section on branding and promoting your luxury travel business as well as proven sales strategies for the fast-growing, evolving travel market segment.
Analysts have been projecting explosive growth for the luxury travel market with one recent report anticipating $703B USD in growth globally from 2023-2027.1 Still, agents aspiring to tap this potential need a keen understanding of the market as well as the ability to identify luxury travelers and connect them to specialized products, according to Guida Botelho, CTIE, senior director of education for The Travel Institute.
“Luxury travel is no longer only for the ultra-wealthy,” Botelho explained. “As the market has evolved, the concept of luxury travel and who can enjoy it has been redefined. Our 4th edition luxury travel course provides the updated knowledge and know-how agents need to successfully serve this market today.”
Content changes in the course include an updated look at the types, characteristics and attributes of today’s luxury travelers and strategies for finding them; the various elements of luxury travel and how they relate to traveler types; current market trends; and a sampling of evolving luxury products along with the addition of timely marketing and sales instruction. In one of the course’s “Insider Insights,” students learn from Anna Pinto, executive director, worldwide sales, Micato Safaris, about the need for luxury advisors to have ESP, which she explains as “laser focus” on Experiences, Service and Privacy for a luxury travel experience.
The featured sponsor, Explora Journeys, is a driving force behind the enhancements in the updated course. “Knowledge is key in the luxury market. As a luxury travel advisor, you need to be prepared to understand your clients’ needs, wants and passion points and have the ability to service those. This course elevates your knowledge and provides guidance for a successful luxury travel business,” shared Chris Austin, chief sales officer for Explora.
Along with the luxury market’s anticipated growth, agents specializing in luxury travel also benefit from an established customer mindset with 85% of luxury travelers already confident that working with a travel agent provides them the best travel experience, according to a 2022 Flywire survey.2 Still, Botelho cautions, even buoyed by repeat and referral business, the luxury travel market is not for the agent simply looking to quickly book and move on. “The greater the effort, the greater the reward,” she explained. “Luxury agents need the right service model and mindset for an extended planning and sales cycle. They also need high standards, attention to detail, patience and passion about supporting travelers before, during and after a trip. If that sounds like you, this course can help you become a true luxury advisor with long-term, high-value relationships that are professionally and financially rewarding.”
A super-sized, “master class” of sorts, the self-study luxury travel course incorporates expertise from several industry-leading, expert luxury travel advisors, as well as insight from industry suppliers, to provide practical advice and tangible tips throughout, further enhancing the learning experience for both aspiring agents and seasoned advisors. In addition, several sponsors also contributed their expertise to the curriculum while supporting course development financially. Along with Explora Journeys, sponsors include: IHG Hotels & Resorts; IC Bellagio; Star Jets International; and Micato Safaris.
Students who successfully complete the Luxury Travel Specialist course, pass their online exam and submit the experiential checklist earn standing as a Certified Luxury Travel Specialist and, as applicable, continuing education units, or CEUs, toward maintaining certification from The Travel Institute. Both designations are used by agents to further market their experience and expertise as a travel professional.
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