More than 60% of travel agents have sold a destination package off the back of taking an online training course, according to a new report released yesterday. Results from the ‘eLearning courses on tourism destinations: travel agents’ perceptions’ by the University of Lugano, Switzerland found that 67% of travel agents claim to have sold a holiday after online training and 53% feel confident about selling a destination after they have completed a course.
Further results, revealed to WTM delegates in a Travel Daily sponsored session yesterday, found that 81% of the 1, 004 agents surveyed (a third of which from the UK) said they undertook training to build their knowledge and 42% also stated they had taken the training to respond to their clients’ needs or requests.
Tourism Australia’s Aussie Specialist Programme was ranked as the top course, followed by Dubai, Caribbean, Mauritius and Malta. Activities, general information and top selling tips were prioritised as the type of content travel agents wanted to see, while only 30% were interested in finding out which tour operator sold that destination.
Nadzeya Kalbaska, co-author of the report and WTM speaker today, said e-learning awareness in the UK was high. “In the results of our survey – 77% of UK travel agents were aware of existence of eLearning courses for them,” she told Travel Daily. She expects the number of courses and participation to grow for both supply and demand.
Bruce Martin, operations director of Online Travel Training, who is also speaking at the e-learning session today and supported the research, said the results echoed the feedback it had received from global members. “E-learning has seen huge growth in the last few years with ever more agents engaging with online product courses. In 2011 alone, we have seen over 50,000 courses complete and nearly a quarter of a million individual training taken via Online Travel Training,” he added.
The report also showed that agents combine e-learning with offline platforms, the most popular being familiarisation trips (53%); reading books and magazines (45%); attending roadshows or conferences (35%) and following specialised blogs, websites or mailing lists (32%). Only 9% currently use social media to gather information.
Download the report and see more information at: www.elearning4tourism.com