From September 2008 until mid December I had the privilege of studying with 8 other enthusiastic students in the Blackhawk College Travel, Tourism and Hospitality program. Classes were held 4 hours per day Monday through Thursday for 14 weeks. Although I had some previous specialty travel training from various vendors in the industry, this program looked appealing because it covered all aspects of the industry in great detail.
Here were the main areas of study:
- Global Distribution Systems and Computer Reservation Systems Software. The primary system studied was “Apollo”. The skills covered include creating PNRs, maintaining PNRs, air space, quoting fares and pricing itineraries, car rentals and hotel accommodations. I went on to study “Sabre” after completing “Apollo”. We spent approximately 4 hours per week in the computer lab working with the reservation systems.
- Travel Career Development instruction provides comprehensive and critical information on a broad range of travel services, products, and issues, and on skills needed to begin a productive and rewarding career in the travel industry. Additionally, travel-industry specializations, the Internet and other emerging technology, ticket less travel, part-time travel careers, and the increase in home-based professional were covered.
- Travel Geography and Destination Geography. This was my favorite. We covered basic geography as it relates to selling travel, including time zones and climates. The study of each particular travel destination around the world was particularly interesting. We learned about what makes a destination a desirable travel destination, the customs and traditions of a destination, how to get there and the sights to see when you get there.
- Professional Development. Topics covered were how to prepare for a career in the tourism industry, ethics and professionalism.
- The Hospitality Industry in general. Focus was placed on the hotel industry, the tour industry, cruiselines, railroads, ground transportation and much more.
I found this program to be extremely informative and challenging. We informally gave our class the nickname of “overachievers” because each student was very willing to participate in class and they all worked very hard to keep up with the curriculum. Many of us went beyond the required GDS training and advanced into the optional courses. We all received a certificate of completion in an informal ceremony on December 15 prior to heading off to new careers. Congratulations “Class of ’08”!