FRAMINGHAM, MA – The Travel Institute has released the 10th edition of its Certified Travel Associate, or CTA, program, the industry’s “gold standard” in higher learning for agents in the U.S. and Canada.
Updated throughout, the CTA 10th Edition features two all-new sections: Marketing and Promoting Your Business, a 5-lesson, in-depth module including key marketing principles as well as expert guidance on successful marketing strategies and tactics, and Accepting and Processing Payments, a 3-lesson module focused on financial terminology, a “how to” on payment processing best practices, and security protocols recommended for all transactions, as well as cover-to-cover updates throughout all 15 learning modules.
“The travel industry is changing before our eyes and the agent role is more challenging than ever. With new processes, protocols and rules across geographies, suppliers and more daily, agents need greater knowledge AND an upgraded arsenal of practical and professional skills to keep up and to get ahead,” said Guida Botelho, CTIE, director of training, The Travel Institute. “For agents looking to attract more clients, grow sales, enhance value, communicate better, improve efficiency, become more marketable and, of course, earn more, the CTA 10th Edition helps accomplish these goals and more,” Botelho asserted.
The new edition was recently previewed by several key partners of The Travel Institute. Rhonda Stanley, CTA, CTC, vice president talent development for Toronto-based Travel Agent Next Door, said the new edition is “simply fabulous” and continued, “Success doesn’t just happen. Agents who apply the knowledge and step-by-step advice from the new CTA program will absolutely have greater success.”
Lisa Sheldon, CTIE, president of the Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association, agreed. “The new payments module is critical to every agent’s everyday success,” Sheldon said, explaining that “protecting client payment information is imperative” and that “understanding agency and vendor payment procedures is key.”
While expectations for agent capabilities have increased, so has consumer appreciation, leading to additional sales opportunities for those agents poised to meet consumer needs, according to Diane Petras, CTIE, president, The Travel Institute. “Along with saving time and money, travelers gain peace of mind, expertise, and more working with a travel pro; the last 2+ years has truly illuminated the undeniable value educated agents bring to the table,” explained Petras, citing an 83% increase in 2021 visits to the non-profit education leader’s Certified Travel Agent DirectorySM, a no-cost, consumer-facing directory for consumers seeking out credentialed agents.
Content changes in the CTA 10th Edition also include significant updates to Business Ethics with legal guidance on travel sellers law, E&O insurance, a new agent code of ethics and more; new tips in Customer-focused Selling; a comprehensive update to Touring the World’s Canada, China, South Pacific, and Africa geographies; new marketing ideas and initiatives for Selling All-Inclusive Resorts and Selling Special Interest Travel; and an important “what to do/not do” section on Travel Insurance, including US and Canada-specific advice. Two previous sections, Teamwork and Preventing Credit Card Fraud, are now “retired” with key learnings incorporated into other modules.
The CTA program was initially launched by The Travel Institute more than five decades ago and today is the first level of The Travel Institute’s 3-tier certification program that boasts more than 27,000 graduates, including more than 5,000 CTA graduates in the past five years.
The CTA’s industry-leading content is regularly revised based on marketplace demands, agent trends, expert input from within and outside the industry, best-practice research, and user feedback. In 2019, the CTA was migrated to a best-practice, interactive, e-Learning platform with an interactive user interface and dynamic learning tools to further increase comprehension and retention.
CTA students today choose from online and/or print options for curriculum, utilizing flexible scheduling and a self-study format. Course content is further augmented with learning strategies including:
- Peer Support: An online, invitation-only support group
- Coaching: Virtual group sessions with study and testing tips
- Practice Scenarios: Real-world application exercises and knowledge checks
- Expert Tips: Video insights from industry executives