SmartDepart Agent Certifications – The next level in safe travel planning

Safety and advocacy have always been pillars of the AAA brand, but now with heightened sensitivity and constant changes in the travel and tourism industry, travelers need a simple and central resource to keep them informed. AAA Travel responded with SmartDepart, a one-stop safety hub, and the opportunity to connect with a travel professional who has been educated on the many diverse sources of information.

The SmartDepart Agent Certification program, which launched earlier this summer for all AAA Northeast Travel advisors, is a formal learning program customized by the Learning & Development professionals at AAA Northeast. The program compiled insights into the safety, cleaning, policy and amenity changes taking place with travel’s top brands, as well as the latest information around border closures, mandatory quarantines and destination preparation. This designation positions AAA’s professional travel agents with the tools, training and resources needed to guide their clients.

As we enter the dog days of summer, the multi-level training program is in full swing, with AAA travel agents completing various tiers of the certification program.

“Our travelers have many questions about the changing landscape of travel and how these changes will impact them and their plans. They are looking for information about boarding procedures on airlines, health check requirements for cruise travel, or mask regulations,” says Allison Villasenor, Managing Director of Product, Partnerships and Innovation for AAA Northeast. “And we’re poised to set up our travel agents with answers to these questions and more, so we can continue our commitment to member safety.”

Newly certified, AAA Agents have the knowledge to help AAA members navigate the world around us. Completion of the certification program prepares Travel Agents to advise and counsel members and clients on what to expect in the travel ecosystem , both now and post- COVID-19 . The driving message is to keep members and traveling companions healthy and safe.

The program requires AAA Travel Agents to pass skill assessments on the following:

  • Air Travel Safety and Regulations
  • Cruise industry protocols and new best practices
  • Dining in a COVID landscape
  • Understanding ground transportation sanitation
  • Lodging accommodations and partner response to pandemic
  • Safe and healthy theme park opportunities

In addition to the training, agents must complete a skill assessment where their new knowledge is applied to simulated travel scenarios that require them to apply their new knowledge. Each agent is then asked to maintain certification by attending regular vendor learning sessions, as well as attending SmartDepart Travel Series broadcasts.

AAA Travel knows that there is great uncertainty in the world right now, and the brand has the responsibility to step forward and ensure travelers have clear and accurate information to make the best decisions for themselves, their travel companions, and their health. Your SmartDepart Certified trusted travel agent will help you navigate through the multitude of changing resources, allowing you to travel with confidence.

If you have questions, please speak to a travel agent by calling 1-800-222-7448.