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Tourism Ambassador Institute vs. Tourism Academy: Ambassador Training & Certification Compared

Considering a Tourism Ambassador Training program for your destination? We're here to help. Even though we specialize in online tourism ambassador training, our goal is for you to walk away satisfied, and part of how we achieve that is by providing information on all types of tourism ambassador training, not just the ones we offer. 

Tourism Ambassador Certificate ScreensThere's a lot to consider when you're looking to align your stakeholders, provide better visitor experiences and reinforce tourism relevance within your community. Tourism Ambassador and brand advocate training matter to your stakeholders. 92% of individuals trust word-of-mouth recommendations, making it one of the most trust-rich forms of advertising.

You need tourism ambassadors to help maximize your marketing ROI as well. On average, brands generate a 650% ROI for every dollar invested in influencer, ambassador and advocacy marketing. 

We want you to be able to choose the tourism ambassador training provider and format that is best for your destination marketing organization (DMO) or convention & visitors bureau (CVB). Let's talk about how the two providers compare in these areas:

  • Cost/Value

  • Ease of Use

  • Implementation Speed

  • Cost to Maintain

  • Instructional Design

  • Accessibility

  • Course Availability

  • Reporting & Analytics

  • Advanced Features

  • Customer Support

  • and more

 

 

The Tourism Academy

Tourism Ambassador Institute (TAI) aka CTA Network & The Experience Institute

Cost/Value

Fixed Pricing

Variable Pricing

Ease of Use

Intuitive

Train the Trainer Required

Implementation Speed

8-12 week build out

12-16 week build PLUS 2-3 week onboarding

Cost to License

Fixed Annual Fee

Annual Fee PLUS Per Ambassador Fee

Staff Time To Maintain

1-2 Hours Per Quarter

6-16 Hours Per Month

Instructional Design

Crafted by PhD, MEd and Business Psychologists

Written by Marketing Consultant(s)

Technology - Learning Management System

State of the Art Learning Management System (LMS)

n/a

In Person Instruction

Optional but not required

Required

Accessibility

Meets Requirements of Multiple Learning Styles

Built for those who learn by reading and face-to-face instruction

Course Availability

24/7

Scheduled Sessions

Reporting & Analytics

Comprehensive Real Time Dashboard

Periodic Survey and Research Project Results

Customer Support

24/7 for both ambassadors and instructors

Mon-Fri Business Hours

Accreditation or Certification

Verified Online

Manually Issued

Is online or in person tourism ambassador training better for me?

In person tourism ambassador training typically costs about $5,000 less than online training upfront. However, in person training will require as many as 30 hours of staff time per quarter to maintain. Online tourism ambassador training is much more flexible, requires less maintenance, and provides more consistent learning experiences. 

Comparison of The Tourism Academy and Tourism Ambassador Institute, also operating as The Experience Institute and CTA Network

1. Cost/Value

Let's face it, cost is a top issue for destination marketing organizations. Even when we hear service is what drove the initial call, if the cost is not there, many times training managers will accept lower completion numbers. 

With that in mind, when online tourism ambassador training is an option, it's typically better than 80% savings on labor and more than double the number of certified ambassadors

2. Ease Of Use

The Tourism Academy with online ambassador training is the clear winner in the ease of use category. Typical onboarding for DMO or CVB administrators takes as little as 10-15 minutes, giving each a clear understanding of how to navigate and utilize the dashboard functions. For those familiar with Google Docs and/or dropbox, course updates can be made in 5 minutes or less. Tourism Ambassador Institute (also operating as The Experience Institute and CTA network) requires up to 20 hours of  training per DMO or CVB staff member who will be responsible for administering your program. 

3. Implementation Speed

The Tourism Academy will have your full tourism ambassador training up and running, ready to accept new ambassador students, within 90 days. This includes three key stages - discovery, build and testing. 

The Tourism Ambassador Institute (TAI), which also operates under the names CTA Network and The Experience Institute, assures clients that their training will be up and running in 6 months, leaving four months for discovery, build and up to 60 days more to train your staff to administer the program. 

4. Cost to Maintain

The Tourism Academy charges a flat annual fee to host, administer and verify your ambassador certification training. This fee includes an unlimited number of enrollments and your instructor logins. Destination marketing organizations have the ability to update and modify courses themselves or can contract The Tourism Academy's instructional designers to add new modules for a modest one-time fee. 

The Tourism Ambassador Institute (TAI), which also operates under the names CTA Network and The Experience Institute, charges a steep set up fee, an annual licensing fee, and a fee for each ambassador enrolled in the program. In addition to these costs, the destination absorbs the cost to staff and administer monthly workshops, ranging from 6-16 hours per month. 

5. Instructional Design

Instructional designers specialize in building educational programs that achieve training goals. They're trained as educators, business psychologists, and technology experts so that the courses and trainings they create are engaging, accessible and transformative. They design curriculum and craft lessons to maximize learning, retention and smart use of the students' time. The Tourism Academy engages more than 70 of these instructional designers to ensure that each of its programs provides a meaningful, effective and efficient educational experience. 

The Tourism Ambassador Institute (TAI), which also operates under the names CTA Network and The Experience Institute, is entirely run by and their programs are administered by marketing consultants. According to their websites, they neither engage nor consult with instructional designers or educators in the development of their trainings.

6. Technology & Learning Management System

The Tourism Academy and its site, tourismacademy.org, are built around technology, proprietary learning management and content management systems. This learning management system (LMS) makes it possible to deliver courses 24/7 to students anywhere in the world. Technology allows for realtime analytics, sync with common DMO software applications and program management with ease. 

Programs offered by The Tourism Ambassador Institute (TAI), which also operates under the names CTA Network and The Experience Institute, are 100% manual. Potential ambassadors are presented with up to 200 pages of printed material to study, live training on a limited schedule and reporting that is completely dependent on antiquated spreadsheets, manual counts and subjective observation.

7. In-person Instruction

Both organizations offer in-person training. Because The Tourism Academy's trainings are available online and on demand, in person training is an option, not a requirement.

The Tourism Ambassador Institute (TAI), which also operates under the names CTA Network and The Experience Institute, relies upon scheduled and in-person instruction as its only means of training. 

8. Accessibility

Learning Styles

The instructional designers engaged by The Tourism Academy integrate lesson material and activities so that content is easily absorbed by students with various learning styles - text, video, audio, quiz, matching, take home activities, conversation, prompts, etc. 

The Tourism Ambassador Institute (TAI), which also operates under the names CTA Network and The Experience Institute, favors scheduled lectures, forced reading and group projects.

9. Course Availability to Your Entire Community

Anyone from anywhere within your community can participate in tourism ambassador training when it is delivered online through The Tourism Academy. The course is available anytime the new ambassador is ready to learn and anywhere they may be so long as they have internet access on a computer, tablet or phone. 

Training by The Tourism Ambassador Institute (TAI), which also operates under the names CTA Network and The Experience Institute, is only available in certain locations, at certain times and on certain days, making it difficult (nearly impossible) for those on varying schedules, in remote parts of your community, or without access to transportation to participate. 

10. Reporting and Analytics

The Tourism Academy offers real time data and analytics including progress, quiz scores, enrollment, completion, user demographics and much more, right from the Instructor Dashboard.

The Tourism Ambassador Institute (TAI), which also operates under the names CTA Network and The Experience Institute, relies entirely on the DMO to deliver and keep track of all user and course data. 

11. Customer Support

The Tourism Academy features live telephone, email and chat support Monday-Friday from 7am-6pm EST. Its knowledge base is accessible to both destination marketers and ambassadors 24/7 with additional support provided by artificial intelligence "smart bot" chat around the clock, 365 days a year. 

The Tourism Ambassador Institute (TAI), which also operates under the names CTA Network and The Experience Institute, provides support to destinations during their regular business hours. 

12. Accreditation And Certification

The American National Standards Institute oversees standards and conformity assessment activities in the United States. Standards are in place to ensure the academic quality of certification programs across all industries. Both The Tourism Academy and The Tourism Ambassador Institute (TAI), which also operates under the names CTA Network and The Experience Institute, provide training that is focused on developing certain skills and knowledge, not adherence to a strict academic learning track. These skills and knowledge do not rise to the stringent academic standards that would necessitate ANSI accreditation and qualification.

The Tourism Academy, by using technology to independently verify completion, offers a Certificate of Completion to each student who successfully passes their tourism ambassador training course. The Tourism Ambassador Institute (TAI), which also operates under the names CTA Network and The Experience Institute, also offers a certificate of completion but fails to meet the standards for providing an accredited certification program. 

 

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