Protravel launches training program for luxury travel sellers

From left, Protravel COO Michele Capaccio, president Becky Powell, director of talent development Deanna Fjelsted and vice president of operations Laura D'Angelo at the Journeys launch. Photo Credit: Jamie Biesiada

NEW YORK -- Protravel International on Monday launched The Journeys, a training and development program for luxury travel advisors.

Protravel president Becky Powell introduced the program during a media event at the Chatwal here. The hotel is one of the program's supplier partners.

"We're now focused on how do we get new entrants into this business," Powell said. "How do we take our agents and make sure they're very successful? What do we need to do and take ownership of this? Because as you know, the whole industry is struggling to get new entrants in and get them up to speed very quickly. How do we help our advisors take their business to the next level?"

Journeys, a three-part program with offerings for advisors, suppliers and travelers, will provide answers to those questions, Powell said.

For advisors, the program offers professional development, business coaching and mentoring, lead generation and exclusive events. 

Supplier partners will have access to the advisors enrolled in the Journeys program so they can provide them with educational opportunities, dedicated marketing materials and exclusive deals; Powell said suppliers can use the opportunity to build the advisors' loyalty to their brands.

Travelers will be able to get exclusive offers if their agent is enrolled in the Journeys program.

For agents, Journeys is broken up into three distinct levels of professional development: Professional Advisor, the first stepping stone; Executive Advisor, reached at around 6 months in their career; and Concierge Advisor, the final level that takes about a year and a half to achieve.

"It's really very extensive," Powell said. "It's not something you can get through very quickly."

Protravel's Deanna Fjelsted, director of talent development, is heading Journeys. Advisors who participate in it will have access to an online learning management system, which will house much of what they will need, though the program will also include offline components. Fifteen agents are currently enrolled, Fjelsted said.

Protravel is owned by Travel Leaders Group, which runs its own agent development program, Travel Leaders of Tomorrow (TLOT). Powell said new-to-the-industry agents interested in Protravel will still be encouraged to go through TLOT first, because it provides them with a base knowledge of the industry, then come into the Journeys program.

In addition to new advisors, Journeys is also aimed at existing agents with a few years' experience who are hoping to further develop their business, Powell said.

Protravel is close to announcing several supplier partners, including two luxury cruise lines and a handful of luxury hotels.

Fjelsted said the program is $1,095, or $1,295 if it's bundled with TLOT. 

On Monday, Powell also unveiled a new Protravel logo and branding, which has been under development for over a year. The logo features updated fonts, and branding materials will use new colors. 

While Protravel previously employed red and black, now it will use black, gold, a little silver and a little vermilion, Powell said. The new branding was developed after analyzing other luxury brands' branding, like Prada, Waldorf Astoria, Versaci, Fendi and Chanel.

"It really conveys confidence, and the name is the brand," Powell said.

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