FRAMINGHAM, MA – The Travel Institute’s 8th Annual Promote Your Professionalism, or PYP, campaign kicked off on June 28, and again runs through July as the annual opportunity for agents to utilize scholarship funds while strengthening both their business skills and travel industry knowledge.
Delivering the travel industry’s education gold standard for more than 55 years, the non-profit has supported more than 3100 students in endowed scholarships to date across its flagship, 3-tier certification programs since PYP’s inception in 2014. To apply for a scholarship, individuals must complete The Travel Institute’s scholarship form, available now through the end of July, selecting from the Certified Travel Associate, CTA, Certified Travel Counselor, CTC, or Certified Travel Industry Executive, CTIE, programs, each of which are designed for a particular stage in an agent’s career. Scholarship value is as high as $275 depending on certification level.
“Not all agents are equal,” explained Diane Petras, CTIE, president of The Travel Institute, the recognized global leader in travel industry education. “Truly professional travel agents do so much more than check availability and book tickets - they are successful industry experts able to navigate complex protocols, policies and fees, provide counsel on the fine print and much more,” she asserted.
Certification students experience a unique combination of online, flexible learning along with access to peer groups and one-on-one advice from trainers for additional support, enabling them to consistently demonstrate the personal skills, professional knowledge, and business aptitude to navigate the travel industry successfully:
- “This was a great learning experience. I learned a lot about the travel industry and I am now prepared to increase my business and take better care of my clients.” -Toncie Roberson, CTA, ExpediaCruises
- I was really impressed with the depth of information. It’s clear that every module was carefully built. And, the support from the Travel Institute was amazing; the team is always available and eager to help while the Facebook support group was a fantastic way to stay informed, connected and motivated throughout the process!” -Glorycell Melendez, CTA, V. Suarez & Company, Inc.
Along with enhanced capabilities, certified graduates also benefit from online marketing tools such as digital credentials, which enable quick and easy confirmation of an agent’s certification through The Travel Institute as a third-party source, as well as inclusion in The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Agent Directory, a consumer-facing, free-to-the-public directory now available via the non-profit’s homepage for travelers to identify and contact credentialed agents. Agent inclusion in the directory is focused on educational achievement and based solely on successful completion of either a CTA, CTC, or CTIE program along with annual continuing education as required through The Travel Institute or another TTI-approved organization to stay current.
Auto Club Enterprises, the largest AAA club in North America, is one of many organizations that place high value on its partnership with The Travel Institute for agent continuing education. “We believe the CTA program is a critical step for agents in further developing their knowledge and skills, standing out amongst their peers, and providing our travelers the legendary service for which we are known,” explained Pamela Shepherd, vice president, Auto Club Enterprises, adding that she considers certification and specialization as a strong indicator of an agent’s commitment to personal development and to the travel industry.
Industry veteran Anita Pagliasso, CTIE, wishes she had earned her certification sooner. “After 23 years in the industry, I couldn’t be more proud. I realized quickly after completing the program how much it has broadened my industry knowledge. I’ve now become a prime example of ‘it’s never too late.’ I’ve already started to utilize my certification to pay it back and to pay it forward as I coach and mentor each and every day,” shared Pagliasso, vice president, industry relations, KHM Travel Group, and a board member with The Travel Institute.
Supplementing the certification scholarships during the month-long promotion are free and powerful webinars, focused on developing and promoting agent professionalism, including:
- July 12, 2 pm EDT: How to Harness Your Grit and Tenacity in the Age of COVID; Linda Kaplan Thaler, CEO & President of Kaplan Thaler Productions, best-selling author and advertising expert
- July 21, 2 pm EDT: Turning Your Credentials into Cashflow; Anne Smith, CTIE, ECC, Owner, Travel and Events Extraordinaire
- July 28, 3 pm EDT: Increasing Your Circle of Influence; Kim Specht, CTIE, industry consultant
“Anyone can hang out a shingle as a travel agent today but saying ‘I’m a travel agent’ is very different from achieving and maintaining the level of education and experience needed to do the job well,” Petras asserted. “Our goal is to create better agents and to help consumers find them. This serves travelers, travel agents, and the travel industry all very well.”