USA Discovery Program to be tested in UK,
Ireland markets before hitting Australia.
A new online agent training program aimed at equipping agents in the UK and Ireland with the knowledge and tools to sell the USA was launched at this year’s International Pow Wow (IPW) in Las Vegas yesterday.
The USA Discovery Program is now available online to travel agents in the UK and Ireland, providing them with the opportunity to become ‘experts’ on both popular and lesser-known USA destinations, Brand USA president and chief executive Chris Thompson said.
According to Mr Thompson, the program will take a “holistic” approach to selling the USA, enabling agents to better cross-sell USA destinations and products.
“[The USA Discovery Program is] bringing rich content and in depth knowledge about all these brands and all these destinations and doing it in a very engaging, fun and productive way,” he said.
The program, which has launched with three specialist experience modules (Big City Buzz, The Great Outdoors and Winter Sports), will utilise social media and online forums to communicate with agents about events, updates and familiarisation trips such as the Brand USA Megafam.
Initially available to UK and Ireland agents only, Mr Thompson said Brand USA plans to “refine this program and use it as a best practices model” before taking it into other markets.
Australian agents will probably have to wait until the end of the year before the program hits our shores, but the very recently appointed (and past Flight Centre national marketing manager) Joe Ponte as Brand USA Australia strategic director assured e-Travel Blackboard there will be a strong focus on agent relationships and training from the get go.
In its first year of operation Brand USA launched into only three markets: the UK, Canada and Japan but intends to expand into another eight markets by year’s end, Australia amongst them.