Continuous learning leads to continuous success. That’s why in April 2018, the Family Travel Association launched “FTA Academy,” a 23-module video certification program open to all FTA Travel Advisor members. The Academy offers insightful and thought-provoking content for agents at every stage of their career.
FTA Academy was created by Sally Black, FTA Director of Travel Agent Initiatives. Sally brings over 20 years of experience and agent training from her travel agency Vacationkids, and has the unique perspective of an author and former pediatric nurse. After agents have completed the informative and entertaining training videos, they must pass a 50-question comprehensive online test to receive their certification.
“Family travel is one of the largest, most lucrative segments of the travel industry and the most difficult to master,” said Black. “Family travel means dealing with multiple generations. Agents need to be able to properly qualify different family members, during different life stages, with different needs and wishes. This can get rather complicated with today’s modern family relationships.”
Recently, the Academy celebrated its four latest certified agents, Maria Anderson – Escape with Us Vacations, St. Paul, Minnesota; Lauren Conn – Footsteps Travel, Bentonville, Arkansas; Heather Kim – TravelStore, Camarillo, California; and Renata Kimble – MaRZ Travel Services, Shreveport, Louisiana. Today, there are 21 FTA certified agents, and the organization will be launching a campaign soon to remind its 100 agent members about this valuable benefit.
The FTA Academy steps agents through the travel needs and life stages of family travelers. Additional attention and detail are given to proper travel documentation for divorced, single parent, blended, adoptive and LGBT families. The program also looks at special needs and working with families who deal with autism, mobility issues, allergies and more.
When agents receive their certification badge, they should display it proudly in their email signature, business cards, offices, websites and social media, Black said. “In addition, send a press release to area media outlets celebrating your expertise. Network with local schools, sports teams, daycare centers so that your neighbors know family travel is your specialty,” she recommended.
And Black urges agent members to become an active participant of the organization through FTA’s social media and events. “Often fellow FTA media members are looking to connect with agents on story ideas and quotes which is a great way to boost your business too,” she said. “Take advantage of all the FTA has to offer to enhance your business.”
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