A Silver Certification is for CTEs who meet our standards but may not have a long track record of successful trips. Because a Silver Certification is for a travel expert just starting their business, we bundle it with our Travel Expert Training Program in an Essentials Bundle to make sure they are set up to succeed. In the future we may offer the Silver Certification as a separate service, but for now we have found that starting travel planners appreciate the coaching and training they receive in the Essentials Bundle.
Every CTE must pass a series of assessments that determine whether their travel planning business satisfies the three cornerstone requirements:
Expertise CTEs know their locale like a local.
Custom trips CTEs tailor every trip to fit.
No hidden fees. CTEs do not sell travel services based on commission and their pricing is transparent.
Implementation Assessment: Is the business set up to provide custom trips for travelers, with a transparent fee model? Is their marketing consistent with the business? Do they use best practices contracts, trip policies, on-trip support, itinerary creation, and data handling?
Expertise Assessment: Are they experts in their destination? Have they traveled there extensively, with enough local knowledge to create detailed itineraries of activities custom-tailored to their customers? This is represented by far more than one or two trips to the location – typically our experts have lived there for years.
Business Practices Assessment: Do they run their business in a way that matches current “best practices” for reliable, trustworthy and safe businesses.
What does this mean to travelers?
When travelers see a Travel Beyond the Obvious certification badge next to a travel expert’s name anywhere on the web, it really says something about the Certified Travel Expert:
CTEs are real people. Our Silver and Gold assessments include over three hours of face-to-face videoconferencing. We’ve met every one of our CTEs personally. They are in our community and contribute and participate in events every month.
CTEs are legit. We take a close look at how they do business, reviewing their business practices, web site and customer data handling. Before we certify anyone we ask ourselves Would we refer business to them? Will they deliver fantastic custom trips to travelers?
CTEs are experts. We’re talking months or years spent living in a destination, traveling, exploring, finding the best out-of-the-way sites as well as smart ways to do the big tourist items.
CTEs use their expertise for every client. They craft a trip that fits the needs of each client, from solo wanderers to multi-generational reunions. They choose from a wide range of activities based on whether it fits.
CTEs do not sell travel services on commission. Many travelers have never taken a trip that was not priced based on commissions. CTEs charge fees typically by day or by traveler, and send their clients to the perfect places for them, rather than to the places that pay higher commissions back down the supply chain. Which means CTEs can create the perfect trip for each client without any conflict.