Thousands of travel agents will soon be seeing stars – five stars, that is. Celebrity Cruises’ Five-Star Academy’s fifth of five phases launched late last week, and the nearly 10,000 agents who are currently enrolled in the training program have the opportunity to earn five stars by completing it.
The multi-tiered program offers five stages of training, the first of which was launched in September of last year. Each stage is named with the number of stars earned by successfully completing it. Each level focuses on a specific area of knowledge about Celebrity Cruises’ offerings, from destinations to onboard entertainment and more.
As travel agent partners have successfully completed each level – by scoring over 80% on the tests at the end of each tier – they have had the opportunity to print a certificate noting their designation as a Celebrity One-Star, Two-Star, Three-Star, or Four-Star Agent. Those travel agents who go on to complete the fifth level will be designated a “Celebrity Five-Star Agent.” Agents who successfully complete all five levels within the program will receive a “Celebrity Five-Star Academy Agent” pin, a certificate recognizing their accomplishment, a booklet of coupons for onboard discounts and some tools that will help them grow their business. Some of these tools include a “Celebrity Five-Star Academy Agent” logo to place on their business card and the opportunity to earn as many as 15 Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) credits per year. Additionally, all agents who successfully “graduate” from the Celebrity Five-Star Academy will be entered into a monthly drawing for a cruise, co-op funds, and training.
Travel agents who have participated in the program have been impressed by its ability to present a great deal of information in a simple format that makes information retention easy. Lynne Current, with Cruise Vacations and Tours, said, “I was impressed by the easy-to-understand format. The courses are a useful tool for both novice and seasoned agents. Even with many years in the business, the Academy has helped refresh and increase my basic knowledge of the Celebrity product, and has made me more adept at using Cruisingpower.com. In the end, the Academy makes the client the real winner.”
Several travel agencies have asked all of their travel agents to participate in the Celebrity Five-Star Academy. Travel agencies with any agent who successfully completes all five levels will be designated a “Celebrity Five-Star Academy Agency.”
Says Gail Bradley, who operates an independent affiliate of America’s Vacation Center, “Participating in Celebrity’s Five-Star Academy has enabled my independent agency to be even more qualified to assist customers when booking Celebrity Cruises vacations. This program assisted in solidifying additional bookings for my business and ensuring an increase in repeat and referral customers.”
Travel agents can enroll at any time, and complete the five levels at their own pace. Celebrity plans to continuously refresh the program with new content, including elective courses. These electives would offer additional training opportunities beyond the required five levels and their corresponding tests.