Industry events and supplier training play a key role as apprentices boost their knowledge and build towards their final assessment. Robin Searle catches up with our three Travel Weekly Apprentice Rising Stars

Kimberley Steer of Skybreak at Gatwick airport, attended the inaugural Association of Touring & Adventure Suppliers Conference in Birmingham as part of her prize. Here’s how she found it:
I really enjoyed the Atas Conference. It was great to meet tour operators and travel agents and experience the wider travel industry and not just the sector you know about; it really opened my eyes. I took lots of pictures and notes in the business sessions, and we made sure we saw all 30 suppliers in the trade show so I was able to take lots of information back and share it with the relevant people at work.

We look after Kuoni and do a bit for Shearings Holidays, while our sister company Teleticket works with Omega Holidays, so it was also good to meet the people that work for them. And it was great to finish off with the gala dinner and awards.

This is the second industry show I’ve been to as I went to World Travel Market last year. I find them really useful as you get a better idea of what certain products or destinations are like. I find that they help me to grow as a person and help towards my apprenticeship as they give me the experience and knowledge of different products.

I’d certainly recommend them to other people to gain a better knowledge of the travel industry as a whole, and I’m looking forward to going to other events like this in the future.

natalieNatalie Economides of Flight Centre in Richmond, also attended the Atas Conference. She said…

Events and training days really help to expand your knowledge base and make you feel more comfortable when you then talk to your customers.

At work we’d had a training day which focused on touring, so attending the Atas Conference allowed me to develop my understanding of the touring and adventure sector even more

I really enjoyed the conference. I found the ‘Mock the Myths’ business session very useful, as the speakers articulated their points well and gave me ideas about how I can respond to customers who come in with preconceptions about the sector.

It’s so insightful to listen to people who are passionate about their products and their brands, as you know that is likely to be reflected in how their companies treat their customers. That then helps you talk to your own potential customers in a way that excites them.

The interactive trade show was very useful too. It helps to experience what companies offer – you learn about their products and also the demographics they suit and what sets them apart.

All of these experiences help me with my apprenticeship as they develop my understanding of products and the wider industry.

joelmatthewmanJoel Matthewman of Thomas Cook in Wombwell, was unable to attend the Atas Conference but said in-house and supplier training was playing a key role in his development

I’ve been on three internal courses so far through the Thomas Cook Academy. The first taught me about the apprenticeship programme, and the second and third were focused on customer service. In addition, we’ve also had visits from a number of cruise line representatives, which has really helped me sell.

In the customer service courses, we learn together as a group, but also break off into teams to do role plays and test out what we’ve learned about how to deal with customers and make sure we’re giving the best service. It’s definitely helped in my job and it’s great to be able to come back into store with new ways of thinking about how to approach sales.

The training I’ve received from cruise lines has also really helped me sell, as I didn’t know anything about cruise before I started. We’ve had visits from lines including Carnival and Royal Caribbean, and I’ve become much more confident in selling. We had a couple looking for a Dubai and Abu Dhabi cruise, and I was able to find a great option with MSC. I also booked a top-end suite with Princess Cruises for a Mexican Riviera cruise. It was a high-value booking, but when I showed the customer the value of what they were getting, they were happy to book.

About Travel Weekly’s Apprentice Rising Stars

apprenticeships-in-focusTravel Weekly’s Apprentice Rising Stars initiative forms part of our 2017 Apprenticeships in Focus series, run in association with headline sponsor Virgin Holidays.

The series has featured advice for companies taking on apprentices and those paying the apprenticeship levy introduced in April, and also included a special Travel Weekly Business Breakfast, where industry leaders discussed the changes and how they would be implemented.

The Rising Stars initiative will allow us to find out more about how apprenticeships work in practice by hearing from our three frontline winners.

In addition to appearing in Travel Weekly, our winners will also receive:

• Two economy-class flights on Virgin Atlantic, courtesy of Virgin Holidays.
• A pair of tickets to Travel Weekly’s premier agent events, including the Travel Weekly Northern Ball in Manchester, the Travel Weekly Agent Achievement Awards in London and last month’s Atas Conference

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