Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Aug 12, 2019
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Back to school with Travel Best Bets Academy


(Phto above: Travel Best Bets home-based agents stop for a photo while touring the Celebrity Eclipse cruise ship during the recent Travel Best Bets Conference Weekend on the last weekend of July.)

One of Canada’s top travel agencies has recently launched an online school for those seeking entry to the fast-moving travel retailing industry. The Travel Best Bets Academy is the brainchild of Claire Newell, well known in B.C. as a consumer travel consultant and creator/owner of the Travel Best Bets online travel agency, which employs almost 200 travel consultants.

“As a result of increased competition and access to information, travel has become accessible to everyone, which means that educated and professional travel advisors are in high demand,” says Newell.

She explains that the Travel Best Bets Academy was created in response to a gap in training options for travel agents. It provides an online, affordable, self-paced travel program that covers off all the training an agent needs prior to starting in the industry, she says. Plus, there are sections on marketing, customer service and sales skills, “which are elements missing from most in-class travel agent courses today.”

“As someone who has been in the business for 26 years, I’ve seen a lot of travel plans go sideways because of either bad advice or worse, and consumers going it alone without an agent,” says Newell.

Enrollments have so far exceeded expectations, with 75 students signing up the Academy since it debuted on June 3. A goal of 100 students had been set for the year, so Newell is “thrilled” with the rate of enrollments so far.

She describes the course as flexible in terms of pacing, and says some of the students have completed the courses in just under six weeks, after which they received a certificate.

“We have set it up so they will know all the basics to work at an in-office agency or be a home-based agent. Hands on learning will be necessary once they get started in their career, but that is really the same with any education program.”

At a cost of $999 ($750 USD), the Academy fee “is a fraction of what other travel schools cost,” she says. Students have the option to breaking payments into four monthly installments.

Subjects in the extensive curriculum are subdivided as Leisure Travel, Airfares, Fares, Hotels, Car Rentals, Rail, Cruising, Vacation Packages & Tours, Geography, Economics, Independent Work, Agency Work, Client Management & Invoicing and more.

Newell is hoping that other agency owners won’t see Travel Best Bets Academy as competition, given that she is also an agency owner herself.

“This is a stand-alone course designed to get people trained and working as professional travel agents in the most affordable, convenient way possible. Goodness knows we are desperate for them. Most agency owners I speak to say that the hardest part of their job is finding new staff.”

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