Royal Caribbean Updates University of WOW
by  and  rew Sheivachman

Royal Caribbean Refreshes University of WOW
Royal Caribbean has revamped its University of WOW online travel agent training and development program. First launched in 2006, the service is an extension of the company’s Loyal to You Always commitment.

New features include an updated look and revised list of graduate incentives, along with more up-to-date coursework for educating agents on Royal Caribbean’s fleet and destinations. In addition to 11 Expert Courses and 21 Expert Plus Courses, agents can now learn about the cruise line’s multi-ship renovation program with the new Ship Revitalization module. Agents who complete the module will earn a free University of WOW t-shirt, while supplies last.

“We recognize the crucial role travel agents play in helping to create memorable Royal Caribbean vacations for their customers, and the new features of University of WOW will help to provide them with the tools and resources necessary to excel in today’s vacation sales environment,” said Vicki Freed, senior vice president of Sales, Trade Support and Services, Royal Caribbean International.

“The University of WOW is an extension of our Loyal to You Always commitment to educating the travel agent community on our brand to help grow their business and increase their profits.”

Pacific Holidays Announces 2013 FAM trips
Pacific Holidays has detailed several 2013 FAM trips for travel agents to the Asia-Pacific region.

The Indonesia Explorer trip runs from May 6-15, 2013, taking agents from the country’s capital Jakarta to 26 cultural highlights across Indonesia. The trip starts at $2,299 per agent, with airfare and taxes included.

The Idyllic Islands of the Philippines voyage runs from April 10-18, 2013, featuring trips to Manila, the Chocolate Hills in Bohol and the Taal Volcano. The trip is priced at $2,195 per agent with airfare and taxes included.

The Classic New Zealand journey is a ten-day trip through the country’s north and south islands, including the cities of Auckland, Queenstown and Christchurch. The trip runs from April 16-25, 2013, and is priced at $1,999 per agent with airfare and taxes included.

The Vietnam Experience tour runs from March 4-13, 2013, and takes agents across Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Saigon. The journey is priced at $2,199 per agent with airfare and taxes included.

All Pacific Holidays FAM trips for 2013 are co-sponsored by China Airlines.

Special Needs Group Program Reaches Anniversary
The Special Needs Group Certified Accessible Travel Advocate program for travel agents has reached its one-year anniversary.

The free online program takes place over three modules, with the goal of familiarizing travel professionals with the special needs travel market and the rules of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The program also teaches agents about the equipment and services most frequently used by travelers with special needs.

“I take great pleasure and offer sincere thanks on behalf of the over 63 million Americans  with disabilities and scores of those with special needs to the 915 travel professionals who  have earned their Certification as Accessible Travel Advocates during the program’s year,” said Special Needs Group president and CEO Andrew Garnett.  

“Special recognition of our appreciation is extended to Cruise Planners/American Express and WMPH – We Make People Happy Vacations for their unwavering, steadfast commitment to this Certification program and the mission of Delivering an Accessible World. We are delighted to recognize both companies as the 2012 SNG Accessible Travel Advocate Power Partners”

Education Market Training
Ensemble launched a new specialist training program, Ensemble Learning Journeys. The curriculum is designed to enable agents to approach high school and college administrators and other small groups with hand-on “learning adventures,” according to Suzanne Hall, Ensemble’s senior director, marketing and development, land products.

“The certification program will equip members with the tools they need to reach clients they’ve never had access to, especially at the high school level,” Hall said, adding that the overnight group travel market of students under 25 exceeds $14 billion annually.

Serving the education market requires a totally new set of skills for travel counselors, according to Learning Journeys president Carol Dimopoulos, who designed the program.

“Educators have their own lingo, expectations and ways of doing things,” she said. “The training really focuses on how to capitalize on those hot buttons.”

PCMA Translates Online Course Into Spanish
The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) has released its Certified Association Sales Executive (CASE) Online Course in Spanish. The CASE Online Course, developed to help sales executives fill their association knowledge gaps, consists of 10 building block modules. The course concludes with participants building an account plan and presenting a consultative presentation to their chose association customer. Participants are awarded a certificate and 7 CEUs upon completing all ten modules.

“By translating the course into Spanish, PCMA has created a new opportunity for Spanish speaking professionals, involved in selling to the association marketplace, to increase their understanding of the association marketplace and hone their association selling skills”, said Deborah Sexton, PCMA President and CEO.

Maria Lenhart contributed to this report.

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