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Travel Institute Survey Reveals Certified People Get Higher Pay

The Travel Institute has unveiled additional findings from its 2023 survey, "The Changing Face of Travel Agents,"

Travel Institute’s Survey Reveals Certified People Get Higher Pay

The Travel Institute has unveiled additional findings from its 2023 survey, “The Changing Face of Travel Agents,” shedding light on the continuing link between quality education and success within the industry.

This survey, the third of its kind by the leading education authority in the travel sector, not only benchmarks various aspects of the agent role but also compares responses to surveys conducted in 2008 and 2018, offering a comprehensive look at evolving influences. Here are the key additional findings:

Certification Leads to Higher Earnings:

  • Travel professionals certified by The Travel Institute earn significantly more, with an annual income that is 24.3% higher than uncertified travel agents and 12.5% higher than those holding a different industry certification.
  • They also achieve 26.5% more in annual sales than uncertified counterparts and 10.5% more than agents with a different industry certification.

Destination and Lifestyle Specialists Earn More:

  • Travel professionals who earn their Destination Specialist or Lifestyle Specialist designation from The Travel Institute also enjoy higher earnings. They earn, on average, 17.8% more in annual income than uncertified agents and 6% more than agents with a different industry certification.

These findings align with previous surveys conducted in 2008 and 2018, underscoring the importance of education for travel professionals. Diane Petras, CTIE, president of The Travel Institute, emphasized, “The benefits of certification through The Travel Institute remain clear.” She also highlighted that quality agent education not only benefits agents but also has a positive impact on suppliers, as well-educated advisors effectively represent and sell their products.

Moreover, consumers increasingly prefer experienced and educated travel advisors over self-booking options. “As an industry, we’ve re-earned travelers’ trust in recent years, and we need to continue to support quality agent education to ensure we keep it,” Petras asserted.

Additional Agent Insights:

  • Many agents plan further training through 2024, focusing on topics such as destination knowledge (70%) and supplier products (63%).
  • 87% rely on supplier communications for information.
  • 66% use trade media for industry news and updates.
  • 65% utilize social media for various purposes, including news, marketing/selling travel, networking, and peer-to-peer learning.
  • Facebook is the most widely used platform at 96%, followed by Instagram (61%), YouTube (34%), LinkedIn (30%), TikTok (18%), and “Other” (3%).

Petras also noted that 80% of respondents with credentials from The Travel Institute reported being initially referred by an industry colleague, highlighting the value of word-of-mouth recommendations. Awareness of the importance of agent education continues to grow, as evidenced by the success of The Travel Institute’s July 2023 Promote Your Professionalism scholarship event, which attracted a record number of applicants, nearly 50% more than the previous record set in 2020.

In line with its non-profit mission, The Travel Institute offers both free and for-purchase educational options for agents at all stages of their careers. These opportunities include new agent training, certification, specialization and destination courses, free webinars, and an unlimited, continued learning program through its Premium Access online library.

The initial findings from “The Changing Face of Travel Agents 2023,” including insights into part-time employment, the potential “aging out” of experienced agents, and agent job satisfaction rates, were released earlier this summer.

Methodology: The results of “The Changing Face of Travel Agents 2023” are based on responses from over 2,300 North American-based travel professionals who participated in an online survey conducted in Fall 2022 by Equation Research, an independent market research organization. Respondents included owners/managers, frontline retail agents, and corporate/meeting/incentive agents, with responses solicited through various public channels accessible to all travel industry agents.