Breaking Travel News investigates: Why now is the time for the industry to invest in upskilling | Focus

Fi Morrison-Arnthal, founder of the recently launched Progressive Travel Training, here tells Breaking Travel News why now is the time for the travel industry to invest in upskilling as Covid-19 fades into the past

One of the dominant conversations in our sector at the moment concerns what’s needed from the UK government to get travel back on its feet.

Whatever your political stance, it’s pretty universally accepted that to get travel into a position where it is thriving again will take a great deal of financial investment and support to stimulate a post-Covid-19 recovery.

Just like the wider industry, the individuals working in travel also need investing in to ensure the success of businesses in the ‘new normal’.

Deloitte, the largest professional services network in the world, created a ‘Post Covid-19 Recovery Workbook,’ which details the three stages that all resilient leaders must navigate. They are: 

  • Respond: deal with the present situation and manage continuity.
  • Recover: learn and emerge stronger.
  • Thrive: prepare for and shape the new normal.

It’s clear that as the new dawn emerges surviving and, ultimately, thriving is possible for those who have thoroughly prepared and are adapting. 

Having lost $1 trillion dollars and a 100 million jobs to Covid-19, the travel and tourism industry is more competitive than ever.

The pressure is now on for travel marketers, who must acquire web visits and enquiries; for product teams, who must negotiate amazing rates; and for travel consultants, who must convert leads into sales.

Everyone needs to be at the top of their game.

If marketing and product do their jobs well, travel salespeople will be under a lot of pressure.

The last year has seen agents mostly reassuring concerned customers and dealing with rebookings and refunds.

That has meant using very few sales techniques as new enquiries and bookings dried up, but now, with things beginning to reopen, agents need to shift gears, dust off their old skill sets and out-perform the competition like never before, to convert leads into revenue.

The best possibility for success and a swift post-Covid-19 rebound will come from upskilling and a knowledge refresh. 

Of course, this is going to need a degree of investment, which is a challenge at a time when both individuals and businesses have had to tighten their belts.

It was to address this precise issue that I founded Progressive Travel Training (PTT) during lockdown.

PTT is an online, e-learning library of bite-sized soft skill training courses, written by travel industry experts.

I am passionate that upskilling should be available to everyone in our industry, so we have created bespoke, affordable and totally flexible training, so that those working at any level in travel have an equal opportunity to learn – and to do so where they like, at the time that suits them, and on any device.

We created our training in this way to ensure that travel professionals who might now be responsible for their own learning costs – perhaps after being made redundant or going self-employed during the pandemic – are still able to pursue their career development, and that employers who want to invest in their teams but have faced tough trading conditions over the last 12 months can still do so.

In general, our training costs 90 per cent less than typical one-day training courses, and we are offering three of our e-learning modules completely for free.

E-learning also requires 40-60 per cent less time than classroom learning, meaning that it is easier to accommodate around work and domestic commitments.

The return on investment from empowering yourself or your team with new and refreshed skills will go well beyond fiscal and reputational benefits for the immediate business – it will help our whole beloved sector to rebound from Covid-19, and ensure that we come back better than ever before.

More Information

Access Progressive Travel Training’s full suite of e-learning courses, custom-designed for the travel industry, here.

Paid courses start from £30 and there are a number of free training modules, including stress management in travel, migrating to remote travel home working, and blog writing to boost travel business.

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