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The Travel Agent Next Door honored with 2023 Educational Excellence Award by The Travel Institute

News Release: TTAND honored by The Travel Institute with 2023 Educational Excellence Award

Canada’s leading host agency earns this year’s nod


FRAMINGHAM, MA, November 9, 2023 – The Travel Institute announces The Travel Agent Next Door, TTAND, as the 2023 recipient of its annual Educational Excellence Award for the travel industry. Established in 2022, the award from the non-profit education leader recognizes those organizations and individuals that demonstrate a significant, ongoing commitment to quality education for travel advisors and make a substantial, meaningful investment to ensure its delivery.


“Congratulations to Rhonda and the entire training team at The Travel Agent Next Door; they have developed a winning program that supports their business, agents, suppliers, and very importantly, travelers,” shared Diane Petras, CTIE, president of The Travel Institute, strategic travel education partner to TTAND. “I applaud TTAND’s emphasis on ensuring qualified advisors to meet the ever-evolving needs of our industry; it’s truly a privilege to recognize and celebrate their success,” Petras remarked, citing TTAND’s comprehensive approach for agent education at various career stages, measurable objectives, holistic focus on business needs, and agent well-being as key factors in recognizing the agency’s 2022 education efforts.


The award was presented to Rhonda Stanley, CTA, vice president, talent development for TTAND, during TTAND’s annual VIP Supplier Event in Toronto November 9. Stanley has long been vocal about the value of agent education and credits it as a key factor in TTAND’s impressive growth since launching in 2014. “Everything we do ties to our mission, which is to provide MORE™ programs, MORE™ systems, and MORE™ support to ensure our ICs’ have limitless opportunities to grow their businesses. It’s an honor to receive this award from The Travel Institute and affirmation of the critical role agent education truly plays in the success of our ICs,” Stanley said.


A member of the Travel Leaders Network since November, 2021, TTAND is Canada’s leading host agency, growing significantly year-over-year from just $7MCAN sales at the end of its first year to $255MCAN at year-end 2022. Emphasizing educated agents are a “win-win” for the industry and travelers, TTAND invests more than $600KCAN annually in training in addition to a robust training staff, which includes full-time instructors and support staff. Peer-to-peer training creates additional expertise throughout the organization. 


With internal, proprietary training comprising 70% of their efforts, TTAND also utilizes TRIPKITSM, The Travel Institute’s award-winning new agent training. In addition, TTAND’s experienced agents are encouraged to earn their Certified Travel Associate, CTA®, or Certified Travel Industry Executive, CTIE®, partially subsidized by TTAND. “Whether an agent has been in the industry for one year or thirty years, seeing them complete their certification is inspiring. It takes commitment, dedication, and discipline and that is exhilarating for all of us,” Stanley reflected, noting nearly 150 TTAND ICs have earned certification in the past 5+ years.


The Travel Institute’s Guida Botelho, CTIE, senior director of education, collaborates with Stanley and team on their education plan annually. “The Travel Agent Next Door is passionate about education and they are undoubtedly more successful because of that,” she asserted, reiterating The Travel Institute’s 2023 Changing Face of Travel Agents survey also links agent education and success. 


On hand as Stanley received the award, TTAND’s founder Flemming Friisdahl emphasized many factors impact TTAND’s growth and success. “It takes a village to create the relationships, programs and success we’ve achieved. Our team acknowledges our many strategic partners—including The Travel Institute for education; supplier partners for amazing products; of course, our agent partners, who believe in our business model; and last but not least, our TTAND employees—they all play a role in our shared success,” he remarked. 


The Travel Institute’s Educational Excellence Award represents the critical, and positive impact of education ongoing for the travel industry community, including for front-line travel advisors, management, and executive leaders, while also aspiring to further professionalism for individual organizations and the industry alike. One organization or individual in North America is selected annually through a process that includes external judges and excludes identifying information for nominees. Calls for nominations take place starting each January. Last year’s inaugural award winner was ACE, the largest group of AAA Clubs. 


About The Travel Institute

A collaborative industry effort created in 1964, The Travel Institute has continuously evolved to maintain its role as the global leader in travel industry education and certification while staying true to its mission: dedicated solely to advancing the professionalism of both agents and industry leaders in support of individual and industry success. A non-profit, independent organization, The Travel Institute works with leaders throughout the industry to create and deliver relevant, meaningful and rigorous coursework. Using exclusive proctored, closed-book testing to ensure its graduates earn credentials that demonstrate the highest standards of expertise and service, The Travel Institute has more than 30,000 Certified Travel Associate (CTA®), Certified Travel Counselor (CTC®), and Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE®) graduates and also administers the Travel Agent Proficiency, or TAP®, exam to confirm students new to the industry demonstrate a mastery of travel industry basics. Countless individuals, agency owners and managers, and educational institutions utilize The Travel Institute’s award-winning TRIPKITSM introductory program as their training tool of choice. A trusted partner to industry suppliers and educational institutions, The Travel Institute has trained hundreds of thousands more through additional courses, webinars, and in its online Premium Access content. Throughout North America, many successful agents and high-profile leaders credit their success to coursework from The Travel Institute. Learn more at The Travel Institute.


About Travel Agent Next Door

The Travel Agent Next Door was created to fully support the retail travel industry, specializing in the home-based travel agent, supporting medium to small size agencies, and agencies that would like to start their own home-based business. Through an affiliation with Travel Leaders Network, The Travel Agent Next Door has access to a broad range of programs, in addition to its own unique features. The company has a head office in downtown Toronto and a branch office in Vancouver, with BCCP, ACTA, TICO, CLIA and IATA designations. Learn more at The Travel Agent Next Door.