With so many Americans embracing domestic travel over the past two years, the chance to see more of the U.S. and skip the hassle of flying internationally is sustaining the trend of closer-to-home trips. California stands out as a destination that offers the charms of far-flung destinations: Mediterranean weather, cities with world-renowned culture and cuisine, and breathtaking nature that encompasses mountains, forests, deserts, and ocean. With summer planning in full swing, now’s the time for U.S. travel advisors to brush up on all that the Golden State has to offer.
California STAR, a trade-focused platform, informs and educates on all things California to help advisors serve clients. Through training, interactive sales components, and marketing collateral such as royalty-free images, the STAR program transforms agents into expert brand ambassadors with everything they need to deliver unforgettable vacations. Discover a world of opportunities, from desert resorts, beaches, and skiing to Michelin-starred restaurants, nightlife adventures, and epic road trips—all the ways that California can fit any vacation vibe, from laid-back luxury to family fun.
Superpower your service and sales
STAR’s platform is divided into three sections. The first, “Essentials,” provides a strong foundation of knowledge about California’s demographics, gateways, and regions. Specialization modules dive deeper into specific travel themes such as road trips, culinary, health and wellness, family fun, sports, shopping, culture, and outdoor activities. Advisors can also delve into 19 California Partner mini-modules featuring some of the state’s most-visited cities and most-engaged visitor bureaus.
Once advisors complete the training modules, they can revisit the information in the “Retain” section, a go-to resource for expert knowledge that amps up your sales efforts. Pre-populated marketing materials in the Promote section are designed to help start the conversation with clients and prospects.
And finally, advisors can rely on the “Sell” section to answer client questions and close the deal.
In addition to the foundational training, the Visit California STAR Specialist Program acts as an everyday sales assistant and companion to help advisors retain control of the travel conversation—and sell more. One example is how advisors can easily share preselected content including videos, images, brochures, and itineraries on social channels or with clients. A product showcase and directory details hoteliers, tours, and attractions that match client preferences, and provides sales tools to empower better client conversations and convert more bookings, whenever and wherever the sales opportunity presents itself.
Introducing a new experience, from head-to-toe
The STAR program also benefits from a recent makeover. In September 2021, all 11 training chapters were redesigned with a fresh, evergreen feel that’s more reflective of the current travel environment. All chapters have new content, images, videos, and quiz questions.
STAR also improved the program’s training tool. The format of the training page now has a more intuitive layout, categorizing modules into essential and specialized, and incentivizes advisors with gold, silver, and bronze stars. Updates were also translated for nine international sites, and with the CA STAR App (available for iOS and Android), advisors can access information from any device, anywhere in the world.
In the past six years, CA STAR received 23,786 global registrations. Of those, more than 11,000 have graduated from the training program. Now, these agents can book extended California visits thanks to their fluency in California’s world-renowned museums and attractions, distinctive natural and architectural landmarks, trendsetting restaurants and shops, and buzzworthy hotels and resorts.
To book more and more memorable trips to the No. 1 destination in the U.S., a CA STAR certification is nothing less than indispensable.