As 2017 comes to a close, it’s always good to know where you’ll be headed in the New Year. It might be to Flight Centre’s new Diploma, or maybe you just want to know where you can upskill or focus on to make sure you stay as relevant as ever.
Travel Weekly spoke exclusively to Jennifer Duncan, who looks after Industry Partnerships for Flight Centre Travel Academy, to get the inside scoop.
TW: With the launch of the new Diploma, what are some of the biggest changes to how agents are educated and prepared for work in the industry?
JD: The new Diploma provides students with a combination of practical industry skills and theoretical knowledge to support their learning and ongoing development. Subjects have been included that educate students on more than the here and now.
For example, the Travel Trends & Insights subject provides students with an understanding of future trends and forecasts that are impacting how, where, when and why people are travelling. Trends such as Professional Nomads, Millennial-centric hotels and Bleisure Travel are explored.
Throughout the Travel System Essentials, students learn about technological advancements and innovations like Robotics, Virtual Assistants and Big Data. They explore what these are and the impact they are causing in the industry.
The subjects have been designed to ensure students are educated and prepared for a successful career in travel and tourism.
TW: What are the biggest skills these days agents need to have in order to be prepared for future disruptions?
JD: Self-reliance! It’s challenging to stay on top of everything there is to know in this industry and the next two to five years will see significant disruptions, especially with the rapid rise of technological developments.
It’s imperative that agents continue to learn about these advancements and trends to remain relevant.
TW: What skills aren’t as relevant that once were essential to an agent’s toolkit?
JD: Gone are the days of fares & ticketing knowledge and the extensive reservation systems training.
These days, systems are smart enough to build itineraries within a few mouse clicks, fare aggregator sites enable customers to recognise great deals as much as an agent can however to survive and prosper into the future, personalisation is key.
Using systems together with personalised service will win the customer for retail agents.