The students at Algonquin’s on-campus travel agency won’t pay for the trip, but they won’t charge clients service fees.
The Campus Travel service, on the second-floor of the Student Commons, is a simulated working environment for second-year tourism and travel students. It is a unique service among colleges in Ontario.
“We are the only college in Ontario that has a simulated travel business operating in a college environment,” said program co-ordinator Martin Taller.
The students actually role play scenarios in which they will be appointed assistant manager, to simulate a true environment.
The other six students in the agency, as there is a seven student capacity, work as travel councillors.
“(Campus Travel) is where we try to engage the students and give them soft skills,” said Taller.
Some of these skills include booking packages, hotels, cars and airline seats, all using an operating system called Apollo, the airline’s global distribution system.
They also learn teamwork.
“It’s a social industry and it’s important to learn how to function in teams,” said Taller.
The students within the CT agency cannot physically complete the booking. They inform the clientele of packages and they complete the booking themselves.
The service doesn’t get a lot of feedback, roughly three out of 10 people give their opinions on the service.
“It’s usually a good return rate for the industry,” said Debbie Wright, the agency’s academic technologist. “We rarely heard back from clients unless there was a problem.”
The school’s travel agency is not limited to students or faculty within the college community. Anyone around the world can use the service.
People who have used the service range from world travellers to a group from the school’s Media and Design sector going to a design exchange in Toronto.
“It’s a good eye-opener for you if you want to be a travel agent or not,” said Mackenzie
Downing, a second-year tourism and travel student.
He thinks fondly of the Campus Travel agency.
The students who offer the service are trained to delve deep and give the best option.
“This is a learning facility and the students certainly learn,” said Wright.
“I always say to them I learn something new every day.”