Tourism Cares and ASTA launched a new agent mentoring program at the 2015 ASTA Global Conference, as the first phase of the Travel Talent for Tomorrow program.
The mentoring program brought selected Millennial travel agents to AGC and paired them with senior agents, managers and owners attending the convention to build connections, share insights and get inspired.
Kim Osmer of Travel Future ran the pilot program for Tourism Cares, and reports on 5 opportunities discussed at a mentor program roundtable (Let us know your thoughts!) --
1. Develop succession planning models to hand-off of books of business from retiring senior agents
Provide a few financial and contractual models that create both a smooth customer experience, reward the senior agent for mentoring and support and provide the Millennial agent with a significant head start to building their business
2. Design a clear plan and career path actions to reach and maintain specialist certification
Provide the roadmap for travel agents to build their knowledge, providing certification testing at key levels of achievement towards specialist status and providing ongoing bi-annual certification.
3. Share technology opportunities that improve and simplify the customer experience
Take the best in class learnings of the variety of travel agency distribution models as well as of personal service excellence by select senior agents to set models for high standards to raise the service bar across the industry and inform agents how to improve their business.
4. New business model options for newer agents wanting to launch their own business
Define and house new business models at industry level, including those that leverage new media and technologies for new small business entrepreneurs to use to launch new businesses.
5. Building tailored service and fee model for the Millennial traveler
Recognizing that Millennial travelers value service and are willing to pay for time and knowledge, design services and fee models representing what these travelers value, that differ from generic service fees.
Thanks to our phenomenal mentees and mentors representing many consortia for their active and inspired participation in our breakout sessions. We are using their feedback as well as other industry leaders to chart the course for further mentor program development.
Let us know your thoughts – which ideas do you think should be developed at an industry level? We welcome your comments and thoughts.