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The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) is launching a new travel agent website and training program in January 2015. According to an HVCB spokesperson, the goal is to double the number of participating agents while keeping the website and program relevant. The bureau has been working on the refreshed website and training program for more than one year.
HVCB first introduced its travel agent website in 2000 and upgraded it in 2006. While its newest version will maintain the same Web address, it promises refreshed design, content, webinars and marketing tools.
The travel agent training program began in 2002. The upgraded online program, composed of six courses, will begin with an introduction to Hawaii and followed by a course on selling the Hawaiian Islands.
Online training will continue with separate chapters covering Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island and the distinctive personalities of each destination. Each island will also have its own Master Specialist certification. For the first time, agents will be able to download the program and access it on a tablet or smartphone. New to the program is an audio segment on pronouncing key Hawaiian words.
Agents can attend live training sessions during the two or three blitzes held each year in major Hawaii feeder markets. Agents will be able to apply participation in a live training session toward program certification. Once agents are certified, they can go to Hawaii for the onsite master program, which is being tweaked and improved as well.
Agents who are already certified will not have to retake the entire training program. HVCB is currently working on establishing recurring training.