Knowledge is power and power turns into hard earned dollars in the sales industry. So when it comes to selling travel, continuing to educate yourself about destinations and products will only help your pitches, help you plan the perfect getaways for your clients and increase your repeat business.
With an economy firmly rooted in the travel and tourism industry, Hawaii’s islands and partners understand this all too well. If you haven’t completed most of these already, the following online education platforms are a good place to start when looking to boost your Hawaii sales:
The Hawaii Destination Specialist Program (HVCB)
It’s new and improved and it’s the best place to start (or end) on the agent quest for more tangible knowledge about the islands of Hawaii and how sell and package them best (agents.gohawaii.com). Known previously as the Ke Kula o Hawaii online certification course, this just-launched version is comprised of two separate certifications: Introduction to Hawaii and Selling the Hawaiian Islands. These certifications are further broken down into distinct modules that offer sought-after insider tips as well as enhanced technology such as tablet and smartphone access, audio narration and a resume tool. Complete these two programs and not only will you earn your Destination Specialist designation, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of exclusive benefits. And that’s not all. Coming soon Travelweek will be partnering with HVCB to offer Canadian agents a chance to access the Hawaii Destinations Specialist program through Travelweek’s Learning Centre. Stay tuned for more info on how to access and featured prizing.
The Outrigger Expert Agent Program
Outrigger offers a points-based incentive program exclusive to travel agents. Outrigger’s Expert Agent Program provides agents 24/7 access to online education courses highlighting all Outrigger properties, up-to-date property maps and information. After completing the Outrigger Expert Certification course and with every qualified booking agents will earn rewards and recognition. Rewards for you include Expert Reward Points, which are redeemable for cash and gift certificates as well as access to Hawaii FAM trips and special promotions. Rewards for your clients include complimentary welcome amenities delivered in your name on bookings of three or more nights. Visit OutriggerAgent.com.
Aqua Travel Agent
Aqua Hospitality’s website for travel agents, AquaTravelAgent.com, is part of the company’s recent rebranding and utilizes leading-edge capabilities to help travel agents navigate through Aqua’s diverse collection of properties. Aqua’s new ‘QU’, an innovative travel agent certification course, is a key component of the site. Q University is an online course that allows agents to learn about the company’s three hotel brands, key selling points, target markets and Hawaii destination information. All agents who pass the course are certified as an Aqua Agent A and entered in a quarterly drawing to win hotel stays. Travel agents can also access exclusive promotions, such as Booking Bonuses and Q Rewards, a loyalty program formerly known as the Lifestyle Specialist program that enables agents to earn free hotel stays for their bookings. The site features hotel and destination information, as well as a complete library of travel agent resources.
Starwood’s ProLearning and Hawaii Aloha Amenity program
Chances are you’re already familiar with Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ SPG Pro loyalty program, especially if you’re selling Starwood even outside of the Hawaii market. As a member of SPG Pro you’ll have access to ProLearning’s online learning modules, which include a Destination Immersion module on Hawaii (among others). Here you’ll be able to learn about each Hawaiian island where Starwood has a presence as well as specific Starwood Hawaii resort details. You can also gain access to a resource section with collateral material to help sell Starwood Hawaii resorts. Beyond the benefit of familiarizing yourself with Starwood Hawaii’s breadth of product so you can book more of it, there are great incentives for agent bookings as well. STARPRO rates will give you access to special agent accommodation rates to experience Starwood Hawaii properties. And with Starwood’s Aloha Amenity your clients will receive a special welcome gift (free of charge) when you book their stay at any Sheraton, Westin, The Luxury Collection or St. Regis Resort (valid on all new bookings). Visit spgpro.com.
Watch this space. Why? At the beginning of the month Aston took down its STARs Online program as it transitions to a new online education program. In the meantime Aston has launched a killer incentive program that we thought was still worth mentioning because Aston is such a big player in the market. The Aston Stars new incentive program provides agents with the opportunity to earn up to $250 cash per booking at Aston Hotels & Resorts properties throughout Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Hawaii Island, Lake Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Orlando and the Poconos (AstonHotels.com/travelagent).