Where Will the Next Generation of Travel Agents Come From?

February 12, 2019 OBI CREATIVE

That’s a question we asked ourselves several years ago.  

As a global travel management company with an unwavering commitment to enhancing the travel experience for corporate travelers, we must be able to ensure we can continue to evolve with the travel ecosystem even as we innovate within it. Key to that ability is adding a steady supply of highly trained travel advisors to our ranks.

Retirees Open the Door for New Travel Advisors to Make Their Mark

As is the case with many other industries, we have a number of highly skilled travel advisors preparing for retirement.

As is the case with many other industries, we have a number of highly skilled travel advisors preparing for retirement.

We realized the need to get talented people into the funnel so they could fill those spots,” says Karen Skinner, Vice President and Officer, Operations for Travel and Transport. “Travel and Transport is such a great company to work for plus we promote from within so the opportunity to attract new travel advisors is a win for us and a win for professionals who love customer service and are looking for a promising and fulfilling career path.”

Virtual Office Allows New Travel Advisors to Work From Anywhere

One of the benefits of modern VoIP technology is that people with a passion for travel can provide excellent service from anywhere.

“Technology has allowed us to hire experienced travel advisors no matter where an individual sits because of the virtual environment,” says Skinner. “When a group of highly trained travel professionals found themselves suddenly back on the market in Boise, Idaho we went into quick action to host a job fair in Boise. The job fair was a whirlwind with four Travel and Transport leaders conducting non-stop interviews for four solid hours,” says Skinner. “I was convinced that ten new hires from the job fair would have been a success, but we walked away hiring 24 people who fit our corporate culture and have the skills to perform at an incredibly high level in the travel ecosystem. It was truly a huge gift at the end of the year to discover such rich talent.” 

Travel Academy Launches with New Format in 2018

People from all ages and walks of life who thrive in an environment of constant change, adapt well and who are excellent communicators are ideal candidates for open positions in the travel industry, which is likely to comprise a number of the 36 million jobs that a Georgetown study predicts will be available through 2020 for professionals with high school or associates degrees.

Travel and Transport sought to capitalize on the building momentum by developing a training class designed to bring new talent into the company.   The Travel Academy was launched in 2013 and resulted in 63 graduates from 14 classes. Travel and Transport hired 46 of the 63 graduates and has a 74% retention rate. In September 2018, we changed the program into a paid training position, which employees are in a classroom environment 5 days a week for 12 weeks.   We had 12 individuals complete the fall 2018 program and are well on their way to a successful career as a travel advisor.  The second 12 week training program started in January 2019.   

“Upon exploring the profession for the first time, some individuals are surprised to find that we aren’t looking for order takers,” says Skinner. “We’re filling our Travel Academy classes with people who can think outside the box to take proactive measures to enhance the travel experience.” 

With a near three percent bump in worldwide economic growth predicted for 2019 and a travel ecosystem that shows no signs of slowing, the need for qualified travel professionals has never been greater.

The Next Generation of Travel Advisors Are All Around Us

It turns out that the answer to the question perplexing workforce specialists across the travel ecosystem is closer than we think. At Travel and Transport, we’re seeing people come to us from other parts of the hospitality sector and from outside of it altogether.

Mostly though, we’re seeing people approach us on the referral of a friend, neighbor, acquaintance or family member that works for us.

Increasingly, as a new generation of workers look for promising career paths that fit their skills and interest and which don’t require a college degree, they’re discovering that the travel industry could provide the adventure they’ve been seeking.

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