Canada’s leading host agency earns this year’s nod.
FRAMINGHAM, MA – 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 TRIPKIT, 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.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.