Your Travel Agency

How Successful People Navigate the World

Contributed By: The Travel Institute



This month, The Travel Institute is focusing on soft skills. Many of these skills are addressed in depth in many course offerings at The Travel Institute, including the Certified Travel Associate (CTA®), Certified Travel Counselor (CTC®), and Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE®) programs. Each provides a rigorous approach to the soft skills travel professionals need.


This educational tip is brought to you by Brian Robb, CTIE, chair of The Travel Institute. We thought you would find a lot of value in it. Here’s what Brian had to say.


How often have you seen intelligent people who are unable to leverage their high IQ or advanced technical skills into career success? I know I have. Those folks have the necessary knowledge and technical skills, but somehow, they fall short in their careers. Most often the cause lies in limitations of their so-called soft skills. Don’t let that happen to you.


Soft skills are traits and interpersonal skills that characterize one’s relationships with others. In the workplace, soft skills complement required hard skills. Examples of soft skills critical for travel professionals are:


  • Clarity of Communications
  • Collaborating with clients, suppliers, and colleagues
  • Active Listening as a fundamental communications skill
  • Adaptability to industry changes in technology, regulations, and travel trends
  • Conflict Resolution as various forces create issues for travelers
  • Critical Thinking and problem-solving
  • Teamwork to accomplish a common aim
  • Accountability for decisions and results


Much of the research on soft skills has been done from the perspective of employers and what they should look for in hiring. As the Stanford Research Institute and the Carnegie Mellon Foundation point out to recruiters, 75% of long-term job success depends on soft skills while only 25% on technical skills. How does that apply to you?


I believe that every time you interact with prospective customers or current clients, you are, in effect, interviewing for a job. They are seeking someone to be their travel advisor, and you want to work for them. You had better have effective soft skills!


Although some people naturally demonstrate these skills, researchers and business leaders agree that people can and should work to develop better soft skills. It requires a strong understanding of what it takes, a desire to improve, and a commitment to practicing those skills. If you’d like to look into it further,  you’ll find Drew Daly’s book, Selling Fun, a direct hit on using soft skills to effectively sell travel.


How do you stack up? Make it your mission to cultivate soft skills so you can build trust, grow relationships, and develop long-term clients. That would establish a great foundation for your career.


A collaborative industry effort created in 1964, The Travel Institute® has continuously evolved to maintain its role as the global leader in industry education and certification while staying true to its mission: dedicated solely to advancing the professionalism of both agents and industry leaders. A trusted partner to industry suppliers and educational institutions, The Travel Institute has educated hundreds of thousands of professionals through its programs. Throughout North America, many successful agents and high-profile leaders credit their success to coursework from The Travel Institute.