Everything you need to start your own travel planning business
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Founder FAQ

Getting Started

Our two bundles are designed to help companies that are either starting out or already have an established travel planning business:

Founder Essentials Bundle – gives new travel planners everything they need to start their own travel planning business, including the 8-lesson video training, Silver Certification, membership in the Travel Expert community, and a profile and membership in the Travel Expert Network.

Builder Essentials Bundle – designed to help established travel planners quickly build up and improve their existing travel planning business, including membership in the Travel Expert community, and a profile and membership in the Travel Expert Network.

Our Founder Essentials Bundle gives new travel planners comprehensive training in the skills you’ll need when you are starting out. You’ll also receive a Silver Certification, membership in the Travel Expert Network to help drive early sales, and ongoing support from an active network of travel experts who are happy to help and support a new travel planner.

There are three requirements to be considered for a Travel Beyond the Obvious silver or gold certification:

Expertise CTEs need to be expert in travel in your designated regions. We don’t train you to be an expert but we help you build a business where you can use your expertise.

Custom trips CTEs offer true custom trips, not packages, each one crafted to match their clients’ interests and needs.

No hidden fees CTEs offer fee transparency so that travelers know in advance exactly what the trip charges and fees will be. Usually you do this by avoiding the travel agent commission-based model and instead charging per day/per traveler fees rather than getting a percentage of the traveler’s paid expenses.

You also need to show you have a business set up where you can provide high quality travel planning services. For Gold you will additionally need to show a history of successful trips planned over a period of time.

All of our meetings are designed for multiple travel experts to participate. There are no formal one-on-one events on a regular basis. We’ve discussed doing this and may implement “office hours” at some point but we haven’t yet. That said, if you really get stuck and need some help you can always ask! Sometimes other Travel Experts can actually answer questions better than we can. And you can always post on Facebook about a specific topic.
Certification Assessment:
You will receive feedback during your certification assessment where we look at all aspects of your business, to both assess whether you are qualified for our certification and also to offer suggestions for improvement. This has proven to be very helpful for people getting started as they get ready to launch.
In our events we always give time for each participant, both for the topic we are covering and also, given time, for general questions. Usually if one person has a question about a topic, it is useful for others to hear our response and then we look to them to offer their own feedback. Certainly in our Accountability calls we have every month you will get personal feedback about how to accomplish the goal you commit to, and also about how it went afterwards.
Finally, the amount of feedback you may get during a meeting also depends on how many show up. While it is now rare that only one person shows up, often there will only be two or three people so there is usually plenty of time to bring up questions.


You’re not alone. Some of our Certified Travel Experts built their travel planning business while they kept another job to pay the bills until their travel business took off. You can set your own schedule and pace. We offer individual lessons, so you can start by doing the first few lessons, identify your customers, plan your services and pricing, and even plan your web site. When you are ready to do more you can do it at your own pace. As an added bonus, you’ll receive a credit for 80% of the price of individual lessons against the price of the Founder Essentials Bundle. We want to make it easy as possible for people to start their travel planning business.

We have organized the lessons in the recommended order for someone just starting out. Step 1 covers who you are selling to, what you’re selling, and what you should charge, the cornerstone of any new business. Step 2 covers customer acquisition methods and Step 3 covers sales, how to close a customer. And so on. You can do them in whatever order you like, though, and if you already have a clear idea on some of the topics feel free to pick and choose your own path!

Absolutely. Individual lessons cost $299 apiece, and if you then go on to buy the bundle you will get a $250 credit against the bundle price for every lesson you have already purchased.


You’ll get everything you need to succeed with your travel planning business.

  • Certification badge to display on your web site and in marketing materials
  • You will be given the title Certified Travel Expert™
  • Listing in the Travel Expert Directory with your own profile page
  • Access to referrals from the Travel Expert Network
  • Monthly Mastermind calls where you get your questions answered
  • Bi-monthly Working Sessions where we roll up our sleeves and get to work

It really depends on you. Some people go through the assessments quickly, and do it in less than a month. Others take longer.

Silver Certification: You need to pass three assessments:

Implementation Assessment: Are you able to plan and deliver fantastic custom trips to your destination for travelers?

Expertise Assessment: Are you a “boots-on-the-ground” expert on your locale, able to create the perfect itineraries custom-tailored to each traveler?

Business Practices Assessment: Are you legit? Are you easy to work with, ready to go the extra mile, all “i’s” dotted and “t’s” crossed?

Gold Certification: You need to pass the same three assessments as for Silver plus an additional assessment about your past trips:

Engagement Assessment: We look at some of your trips, review your itineraries, process, and customer feedback. Typically, if you’ve done more than ten trips or been in business over a year you will pass with flying colors.


We have Travel Experts at every level, from people just starting out to others who have been in business over ten years. It’s an incredibly supportive community and everyone is there to learn and to help others succeed. New members can bring a fresh approach and everyone benefits!

Yes, if you purchase the Travel Expert Community Membership. If you’d prefer to wait, people who purchase lessons can see all past Mastermind Call videos as well as the bi-monthly Working Sessions. Also, when you get certified you get a free 1-year Community Membership.

They are all scheduled as a one hour Zoom calls, with advance signups. Once everyone is there we start.

We go around and get responses to the monthly topic, then open it up to questions. 

We have two calls for a week-long Working Session, on Monday and then on Friday of the same week. On the first call we go through a presentation and discuss the goals for the week. For the second call we go around and have everyone present their work.

If you have an active Travel Expert Community Membership you can attend both the Monthly Mastermind calls and the bi-monthly Working Sessions. Certified Travel Experts get a one year Community Membership free with each certification. So if you first got your Silver Certification, that would give you one year of Community Membership, and if you then went on later that year to get Gold, you would get another year of Community Membership.

Our goal for the Working Sessions is to give participants an achievable, useful task for the week. Whether it’s to come up with an elevator pitch or creating a blogging calendar we try to make it useful, something where doing it in the group will help. We look for topics everywhere, from questions that come up on Mastermind calls, Facebook, or just things we find that we think could be useful.


Any Travel Expert with a current Travel Expert Network Membership can be listed in the Travel Expert Directory, and also receive referrals. You need to be certified to get a Network Membership – when you get either a Silver or Gold Certification you’ll get a one year free Network Membership.

When we first formed Travel Beyond the Obvious we were worried about competition among our Travel Experts but it turns out to be just the opposite. First, there are plenty of travelers to go around, and second, other CTEs in your region actually help your business do better with support and referrals when they get too busy!

We look at the request and then review our current CTEs for that area for a fit, both in terms of where specifically the traveler is going, the style of travel they want, and also some of the other features like on-trip support or personal guides.

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