Travelers love Hawaii, reporting a satisfaction rating of 98% or higher with their vacations, according to the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB). It may seem as though sharp sales skills aren’t much needed when you’re selling paradise, but there’s always room to learn more and draw more clients to the Islands, according to the bureau, which recently unveiled an expanded and revamped travel agent online resource center.
“Knowing that being a trusted resource of accurate information is a must for today’s travel professionals in order to serve their clients, our goal is to ensure they have the most updated and relevant training available at their fingertips,” said Robyn Basso, the HVCB’s senior director of travel industry partnerships. “Our new Hawaii Destination Specialist Program, paired with the robust tools offered by the resource center, will help agents become successful Hawaii sellers and grow their business.”
The bureau’s revamped travel agent online resource center features a new official Hawaii Destination Specialist Program; a Hawaii Cultural Toolkit; a Hawaiian language audio dictionary, a media center with a video and image library; an activities and attractions directory; a festival and events directory; an interactive travel guide; marketing tools; agent newsletters; and wholesaler listings.
For the first time, the specialist program is available for access on tablets and smartphones.
The program consists of two certification modules, Introduction to Hawaii and Selling the Hawaiian Islands. Taken together, agents earn the Hawaii Destination Specialist designation and have access to benefits, including webinars.
The second phase of the program, expected to launch shortly, will feature four separate certifications covering Oahu, Maui Nui, Kauai, and the Big Island of Hawaii. Agents earn individual Island Specialist designations upon completion. Graduates of all six courses will be designated a Hawaii Destination Expert and qualify for more benefits, including self-guided familiarization trips.
Basso, in an email interview with Travel Weekly’s Home-Based e-letter, said the new program is designed with the needs of today’s agents and technology in mind.
“As the Hawaii Destination Specialist Program was developed more than 10 years ago, we wanted to address the needs of today’s travel professional and upgrade the content, experience and technology of the program.”
She added: “The new curriculum provides a richer, more extensive understanding of Hawaii as a whole and the six individual islands that make our state the most culturally diverse place in the U.S. We have enhanced previous website tools and added new resources to help travel professionals sell in todayʻs competitive environment.”
Basso said the new technology should enable agents to complete the coursework more easily.
“HVCB’s new resource center and Hawaii Destination Specialist Program are designed with the busy travel professional in mind and provides unparalleled resources 24/7. Content is now delivered in a more user-friendly, mobile-optimized platform incorporating beautiful visuals, audio narration, videos and, most importantly, has been segmented to save valuable time. An example of this is our new webinar library, which enables home-based agents to learn whenever it is most convenient to them.”