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American Marketing Group Survey Reveals Consensus on Importance of Training but Not on How to Develop New Advisor Talent.

American Marketing Group Survey Reveals Consensus on Importance of Training but Not on How to Develop New Advisor Talent.

Results Highlight Need for Comprehensive Advisor Curriculum Such as KORE


OYSTER BAY, NY (May 15, 2024): While a near-unanimous majority of travel advisors affiliated with American Marketing Group networks agree training new consultants is important, the current mix of approaches to do so may not empower recruits with the most critical skills.  


To alleviate the current advisor shortage, agencies are prioritizing the recruitment and onboarding of new consultants. A recent survey of TRAVELSAVERS and NEST advisors sheds light on the qualities agencies are looking for in recruits and how they train them.


Varied Training

An overwhelming number of advisors – 95 percent – say that training is essential or important for new entrants to the profession. However, agencies rely on diverse methods of developing their new consultants. Fifty-four percent offer a job shadow with colleagues and 53 percent use supplier training programs. Almost one-third employ industry webinars.


Programs that provide training in a range of crucial advisor skills are less common. Twenty-six percent say their agency offers a specialized program for new advisors. Twenty-three percent use an industry program such as The Travel Institute. Fifteen percent depend on KORE, American Marketing Group’s comprehensive advisor education curriculum.


“The industry has had a patchwork approach to training new advisors,” said AMG Chief Sales Officer Kathryn Mazza-Burney. “Many agencies are still using one-off webinars or very focused supplier programs. This is exactly why we invested in creating KORE. We wanted to attract new talent to the profession and provide them with the strong foundation that travel advisors need to succeed in today’s marketplace.”


Critical Skills


When asked about the most important elements advisor training should cover, 43 percent named booking travel. Forty-two percent said advisors should have a grounding in different supplier types such as air, hotels and cruise lines. Forty-one percent opted for customer service and one-third selected sales training.


Knowledge in demand for today’s advisors finished further down in the survey, including technology (27 percent), compliance and fraud protection (12 percent) and marketing (5 percent).


Advisor Traits


Training that covers a range of skills is essential, especially given that many agencies are looking for potential among prospects rather than advisor experience. Forty-four percent are seeking candidates with a travel industry background and 33 percent are looking for people with client service experience.


Other desirable qualities include a passion for travel (30 percent), detail orientation (29 percent) and communication skills (26 percent).


Career Benefits


Once recruits are on board, they will enjoy multiple benefits in their new profession. The survey found 52 percent of respondents treasure the flexibility to work as much as they like from wherever they like. Forty-one percent delight in making people’s travel dreams come true. One-third appreciate the choice of niches to fit their passions and interests. Thirty-one percent love travel discounts and perks.


“Travel advising is a wonderful career with so many advantages,” said Mazza-Burney. “We need fresh ways to get out the word, recruit promising new talent, and provide wide-ranging training that empowers them to be successful in their new field. We need to innovate now on all these fronts to ensure a healthy future for the travel advisor profession.”


Survey results are as follows:


Importance of training for new advisors

  • 83% essential
  • 12% important but not mandatory
  • 1% may or may not help
  • 1% not important


How agencies train new advisors

  • 54% job shadow with colleagues
  • 53% supplier programs
  • 31% industry webinars
  • 26% agency program
  • 23% industry program
  • 15% KORE


Most important training elements

  • 43% booking travel
  • 42% supplier types
  • 41% customer service
  • 34% sales
  • 27% technology


Top traits for new advisors

  • 44% travel industry experience
  • 33% client service experience
  • 30% personal passion for travel
  • 29% detail orientation
  • 26% communication skills


Top career benefits

  • 52% flexibility to work as much as you like from wherever you like
  • 41% help make people’s dreams come true
  • 33% specializations to fit your passions and interests
  • 31% travel discounts and perks
  • 27% own your own business/be your own boss


Advisors from TRAVELSAVERS, NEST and Affluent Traveler Collection affiliate agencies in the US and Canada took the survey from March 21 to April 14, 2024.