Amadeus is to offer sales training sessions, on top of lessons in how to use the Microsoft Office suite of tools, to all its clients, as its UK boss warned that agents who are purely ‘reactive order takers’ will not exist in the future.

Speaking at an AWTE event last week, the GDS and technology provider’s UK & Ireland managing director Diana Bouzebiba (pictured), said: “The travelling customer, whether leisure or business, is willing to pay for expertise, so agents need to show it.

“If they are merely reactive order takers in leisure agencies or the managed business area, there are automated tools that will replace that job, so we have to change order takers into proper sales consultants.

“We have already started offering our agent customers classes in Microsoft, etc. and this morning, we had a gentleman in our office who specialises in pure sales training, selling skills to help our clients and so we will now be offering that in our training portfolio.”

Bouzebiba said Amadeus was the only GDS to offer such a level of training and explained it would be available at any of its four centres in Gatwick, Edinburgh, Chester and Dublin or as virtual courses.

Bouzebiba said training and development was crucial to every business and said at Amadeus she had implemented 220 training days in 2012 which had risen to 400 last year.

“It’s about making sure that everybody in your team is at the top of their game,” she explained. “Training is extremely important. It’s one of our strategic drivers.”

The Microsoft Office courses teach agents how to use Word, Excel and Powerpoint and are aimed at three levels of profficiency. They can be taken either in the classroom or over the internet.

Amadeus’s ‘soft skills’ training called Generating Your Sales is offered as an off-the-shelf generic course or can be tailored to the requirements of the individual business.

Michael Short, Amadeus operations director, said: “As we move through the year, we will be adding more courses to the soft skills section around topics such as Effective Networking.

“The aim is of for us to always put an industry spin on the training, making it more relevant to the travel industry than an off the shelf training course.”