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The Travel Institute’s Diane Petras “Leader-to-Leader” on Industry Longevity

An open letter: The Travel Institute's Diane Petras "leader-to-leader" on industry longevity

A Message from Diane Petras, CTIE, President, The Travel Institute


Sixty years in business is no small feat. There’s truly something special about achieving such a milestone. So, I’ve been pondering, how has The Travel Institute survived and thrived in our fast-paced, ever-evolving industry for six decades? Sifting through our vast archives and history, and listening to the reflections of industry leaders and long-time supporters, I’ve come to attribute our longevity as travel’s non-profit, independent and global education leader to two basic principles: 1) our singular, enduring mission to advance agent professionalism through high-quality education; and 2) our constant adaptability of educational best practices in support of that mission. 


“Successful people, in all callings, never stop acquiring specialized knowledge, related to their major purpose, business, or profession.”  —

Napoleon Hill, best-selling, self-help author


Late last year, I urged travel agents to consider the knowledge and skills they need for longevity in our ever-evolving industry. Today, I want to share my thoughts leader-to-leader about how education for travel professionals also ensures longevity for you and your organization. While some organizations clearly get agent education right, some do not—promoting programs that “check the box” for education without providing real substance or value. Many programs casually insert descriptors like “industry standard” and “certification” to describe educational programs that simply provide neither. Unfortunately, these programs miss the mark with incomplete advice that can lead to significant, costly agent errors as well as unsatisfied travelers who may never use an agent again. Over time, these programs do more harm than good. 


The point? It takes significant and sustained effort to provide agents with the educational tools they need to ensure adaptability and longevity throughout their careers as they evolve into true professionals. Their ongoing specialized learning needs are no less significant than the needs of other professionals in other industries. As a leader genuinely committed to travel industry success, you recognize there are no shortcuts to sustainable success and that quality education for yourself and your travel professionals is a necessary investment. You also recognize the need for a recruitment and evaluation process that confirms the passion and commitment of the agents who represent your business. In other words:


For yourself: Lead by example and join our 30,000+ certified graduates through our CTC, CTIE, or virtual executive institute programs. If you’re already certified, give back by: 


  • Joining The Travel Institute’s volunteer program to share your specific expertise and skills
  • Donating to The Travel Institute’s non-profit mission focused on affordable, quality education 
  • Sponsoring scholarships, course development, and other programming from The Travel Institute


For your team and organization: Understand the specific training front-line agents and other travel professionals need at various career stages. Partner with an education expert to ensure comprehensive, relevant and timely curriculum; best-practice educational techniques for learning and retention; and measured student outcomes. 


As the industry’s gold standard for education, The Travel Institute’s goal is to partner for the greater good of our industry and the longevity of your agents and organizations. I invite you to start a conversation with me about doing that! Together we’ll continue to ensure we advance the professionalism of travel agents and your organization, adapting along the way to ensure continued traveler satisfaction and our industry’s collective success, for many more decades to come.