Marriott International, Inc. launched a new, interactive, online format for its Hotel Excellence! (HE) travel agent training program. This self-paced training program, which was first introduced in 1999, was developed to maximize travel agents' success in selling hotels for individual travel.

The new online training format comes with audio, photography, interactive exercises, printable "take-away" information, and a resource library with information and web links. The training modules provide general information and questions and answers about selling lodging needs, as well as the benefits and diversity of Marriott International's 10 lodging brands.

After agents complete the modules and perform related activities, they take five 10-question, multiple-choice tests on the interactive site. All of the module test results are provided instantly. Along with the new training, additional enhancements are available on the "My HE! Home" page, where agents can review their past and current exam status, update their profile information, review their eligibility for Marriott's "Fam-Tastic" rate program and their agency's status under Marriott Preferred Travel Agency program, access a resource library (including Marriott's global contact information), and review past "Reserved for You" email newsletters sent to HE! graduates.

Marriott's HE! program currently has more than 113,000 graduates in 129 countries. Passing the program is the first step toward becoming a Preferred Travel Agency (PTA). Marriott's PTA program offers a preferred commission status and special benefits for participating travel agencies. In addition to passing HE!, the agency's owner or manager must sign an agreement to sell Marriott brands equally with those of other hotel companies. Once a PTA, an agency receives 10 percent commission on commissionable transient reservations and 12 percent commission on the sale of Marriott's Incentive Certificates.

A travel agent who achieves a score of at least 70 percent on each of the five modules is designated a hotel sales specialist certified by Marriott International. Benefits include a certificate of completion; exclusive access to "Fam-Tastic" rates, which start at $49; invitations to recognition functions at industry events; special contests via Marriott International's travel agency website; and 20 Continuing Education units toward maintaining Institute of Certified Travel Agents (ICTA), CTC or CTA status in the U.S. Current HE! graduates are not required to re-take the program. However they are encouraged to review the new, updated information and interactive features and encourage their colleagues to become graduates.

Current graduates choosing to complete the new online version will retain their original exam scores. Individual agent requirements and benefits will not change. Travel agents who are currently using the workbook to complete their HE! training and testing will be permitted to continue their current program through June 2007. The new HE! online program features are available in multiple languages.

Related Link: Marriott's Hotel Excellence! Training Program