What would you study on the BTEC National Diploma?
There are various different topics (called units) that make up a BTEC courses we offer here at OSFC, and these have been chosen to give a very broad education about the industry. Some of them are the kind of topic you would find on a Business course - for instance, marketing, customer service, and business structures - whilst the others are very specific to Travel and Tourism - such as tourism destinations, visitor attractions, overseas representatives and travel agency practice. Each unit has its own individual content, so although you would be spending a lot of time studying Travel and Tourism, the units are different from each other in many ways. You will study six units on the BTEC Subsidiary Diploma, thirteen units on the BTEC Diploma and twenty units on the BTEC Extended Diploma. The units you would study are selected from the following:
- Investigating the Travel & Tourism Sector
- The Business of Travel & Tourism
- The UK as a Destination
- Customer Service in Travel & Tourism
- Marketing Travel & Tourism Products & Services
- Preparing for Employment in Travel & Tourism
- European Destinations
- Long Haul Travel Destinations
- Retail Travel Operations
- Investigating the Cruise Industry
- Responsible Tourism
- Tour Operations
- Specialist Tourism
- Working as a Holiday Representative
- UK Visitor Attractions
- Hospitality Operations in Travel & Tourism
- Entertainment for Holiday Makers
- Work Experience in the Travel and Tourism Sector
- Researching Current Issues in Travel and Tourism
- Organising a Travel and Tourism Study Visit
How does it work?
You study half the topics for the course you have chosen in the first year and the other half in the second year, which isn't unusual. However, you will never take an external exam because there are no exams on the BTEC qualifications we offer - every topic is assessed through a series of coursework tasks. So, although you have to be prepared for a lot of hard work, you never have to cope with exam stress!
Your coursework tasks can take many different forms, so you won’t spend two years writing hundreds of essays! You will write business reports, travel itineraries, speeches to be delivered at conferences, booklets, brochures, posters, fact sheets – even a cash flow forecast! But … you will also be assessed through oral presentations, role plays, simulated activities such as selling a holiday or giving a resort welcome meeting, and even through your performance when staging a public event.
You needn’t worry that you will have the same teacher all the time either. You will be taught by different teachers, because all the teaching staff have different specialist knowledge and so will teach different units.
Investigating Travel & Tourism - Back to top
The Travel and Tourism industry is one of the most vibrant industries in the world. It is a high profile industry, regularly in the media spotlight both in the news and within a wide variety of programmes and documentaries featuring airlines and airports, holiday representatives and cruise ships. The appeal of these programmes crosses all ages and all social backgrounds and inspires many to dream of working in the industry.
This unit gives you the opportunity to investigate the development of the Travel and Tourism industry, its structure and the organisations within it, their roles and responsibilities and the products and services they provide.
You are given the opportunity to explore recent developments in the industry which will let you see how consumer demand, Travel and Tourism products and retail operations have all developed over the years. You will look at the significant factors and trends that have or are likely to affect Travel and Tourism, exploring these pressures and influences.
The Business of Travel & Tourism - Back to top
Anyone joining a Travel and Tourism organisation should understand its features and how it gains competitive advantage over other businesses. The management of cash flow is fundamental to an organisation’s success.
This unit allows you to investigate the features of organisations in different sectors and compare and contrast information about them. You will also learn how to complete a cash flow forecast, and will have the opportunity to plan an activity taking into consideration financial constraints.
The unit will enable you to make recommendations to solve a business’s cash flow problems, and will give you the knowledge and understanding to interpret a cash flow forecast. It will equip you with the relevant skills to plan a project in the workplace, recognising how to adapt the project to financial constraints whilst meeting objectives. You will also be able to identify the features of organisations from different sectors and understand how they compete with each other in the market place.
The UK as a Destination - Back to top
Knowledge of the UK as a destination is crucial for success in many Travel and Tourism organisations, and this unit will allow you to gain skills in using reference materials to accurately locate key destinations, gateways and geographical features throughout the UK.
This unit introduces you to the two essential categories of tourist: incoming tourists and domestic tourists. It will enable you to identify the needs and expectations of both these categories of tourist, highlighting both the similarities and the differences.
You will examine the popularity and appeal of the UK to both incoming and domestic tourists. You will also investigate the different organisations involved in incoming and domestic tourism in the UK and the role that they play, including marketing, public relations, health safety and security, and conservation.
The Travel and Tourism industry is volatile, affected by worldwide events. You will have the chance to explore recent trends in UK domestic and inbound tourism and investigate the influences behind these trends.
Customer Service in Travel & Tourism - Back to top
This unit introduces you to the principles of customer service, and its benefits to the organisation, to employees and to customers. Many Travel and Tourism organisations offer similar products and services, and 21st century customers have become more aware of their rights as consumers and now demand exceptional customer service. Providing quality customer service is therefore vital to maintaining customer loyalty and attracting new customers.
You will study the general principles of customer service, and will then investigate the customer service provision of two different organisations, using appropriate methodology and quality criteria. The organizations you will study are Manchester Airport and Alton Towers.
Meeting the needs of a variety of customers is essential to the success of an organisation. You will research the methods Travel and Tourism companies employ to satisfy and exceed customer needs.
The skills needed by an employee in Travel and Tourism are explored in this unit. Aspects such as appearance, problem solving and communication skills are all important in providing excellent service, and you will have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate these skills. Part of the assessment for this unit will take the form of role plays and simulations which enable you to demonstrate your people skills.
Marketing Travel & Tourism Products & Services - Back to top
This unit introduces you to marketing in the context of the Travel and Tourism industry. You will examine the distinctive nature of the Travel and Tourism industry and the constraints and issues that may affect the application of the principles of marketing. You will consider the definition and functions of marketing, customer needs and wants and marketing segmentation.
You will examine different methods of market research (considering their purpose) and how they are used by the Travel and Tourism industry. You will conduct a market research activity for which you will have to prepare a plan, design appropriate market research documentation and then use it to collect specific information from a sample in order to achieve your objectives.
You will also consider how the marketing mix could be applied to a Travel and Tourism organisation. You will plan a promotional campaign for a Travel and Tourism organisation, by selecting a suitable promotional technique and designing appropriate promotional material to meet the objectives of the campaign.
Preparing for Employment in the Travel & Tourism Industry - Back to top
With a wide variety of jobs on offer, the Travel and Tourism industry is well placed for providing interesting and challenging career opportunities. In this unit you will investigate the range of opportunities in the industry, considering different entry routes, opportunities for progression, training and continuing education. You will become aware of the different processes involved in recruitment and selection.
Competition for jobs can be fierce and you will need to be well prepared to create a positive impact during the different stages of recruitment. The unit will introduce you to the typical recruitment and selection process, examining the different stages from the perspective of both employer and applicant. Personal skills will be developed enabling you to project yourself positively from the early stages of making job applications through to demonstrating effective interview techniques.
You will also examine working practices to help you appreciate the factors that motivate employees and contribute to an effective workplace, and the importance of a positive working environment. Part of the assessment of this unit is practical, and is based on telephone and face-to-face mock interviews.
European Destinations - Back to top
Knowledge of the ever-changing European travel market is essential for those planning a career in the Travel and Tourism industry. Many sectors such as tour operations, retail travel and aviation require a sound awareness of locational geography, as well as a broad understanding of travel opportunities in Europe. This includes key destinations, developing markets and declining markets.
As many employers now test this as part of their recruitment process, studying this unit will enhance your employability by helping you develop the skills and knowledge required.
You will locate countries, gateways and key destinations in Europe, considering the factors that contribute to the appeal of destinations. You will learn about the diversity of the European travel product, which includes summer sun resorts, fashionable cities, relaxing islands and also winter sports resorts.
Long-Haul Travel Destinations - Back to top
There has been a dramatic increase in the popularity of long-haul destinations in recent years. Long-haul destinations offer many contrasts, from vibrant cities such as Sydney to tropical islands with stunning beaches like the Seychelles; from areas with unique landscapes like the Grand Canyon to destinations rich in culture and traditions such as Beijing. In addition, there are destinations like Orlando offering a wide range of activities and attractions to suit many types of visitors.
Where long-haul destinations are located is extremely important. Knowing the location of major long-haul destinations is a useful skill in many organisations within the Travel and Tourism sector, including airlines, tour operators and travel agencies. The types of visitor and their characteristics can be linked closely to different long-haul destinations. The different motivating factors and holiday types are explored in this unit by considering a variety of long-haul travel destinations and investigating the reasons for their popularity with different types of visitor.
Travel to long-haul travel destinations is often influenced by external factors and learners will explore the impact of factors such as health restrictions, travelling times and international conflicts on the long-haul market. Learners will research one destination in depth, examining all of the features which make it appealing to visitors including accessibility, facilities and attractions. Tours are a popular way for visitors to experience variety and contrasts within long-haul countries and learners will construct an itinerary for a multi-centre long-haul tour.
Retail Travel Operations - Back to top
In this unit you will explore the operation of retail travel agents, highlighting the relationship between these and the other sectors of the Travel and Tourism industry. You will also look at the different types of retail frameworks in which they work.
You will investigate advances in technology which have had a major impact on the operation of agents, affecting all aspects of the operation of the agency and their relationships with customers and suppliers.
You will look at strategies that retail agents have adopted to enable them to retain and grow their market shares in such a competitive market place.
You will also develop practical skills in selecting products and producing itineraries to suit the needs of different customers, enabling you to gain knowledge of the range of products and services offered by retail agents.
Investigating the Cruise Industry - Back to top
This unit has been developed collaboratively with other Awarding Organisations. The unit gives learners the opportunity to investigate one of the fastest growing industries in the Travel and Tourism sector. It examines the cruise industry’s recent development and enables learners to examine the current structure and the wide range of ships operating in the cruise industry, from the smallest and most luxurious to the biggest cruise ships designed as floating hotels and resorts with a range of facilities to appeal to all types of cruise customers. This unit also gives learners the knowledge to appreciate the potential growth of the cruise industry in the future. The growth in the cruise industry has led to an increase in employment opportunities.
Learners will research job roles and responsibilities, entry requirements and the uniqueness of the working environment. Learners will examine the appeal of cruising for a range of different types of cruise customers in terms of itineraries, ships, on-board facilities and social aspects. Learners will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in selecting cruises to appeal to specific types of customers and meet their needs.
This unit will also investigate the main cruise areas of the world, including main gateway ports and ports of call, as well as enabling learners to identify the emerging cruising destinations. While investigating the different cruise areas of the world learners will examine the impacts of cruising on these areas. They will consider the economic, social and environmental impacts of the cruise industry, both positive and negative.
Responsible Tourism - Back to top
This unit seeks to give learners an understanding of the fragile nature of tourism and enables them to appreciate how important the planning and management of tourism is if it is to remain the world’s number one industry. Learners will have the opportunity to learn about the positive and negative impacts of tourism in a variety of situations and destinations. Where the impacts are positive, learners will be able to appreciate the importance and value that responsible development can bring. Learners will gain knowledge of those actively engaged in development and will have the opportunity to strengthen research skills by examining current or recent developments of their choice.
The roles and objectives of the different agents of tourism development are varied and learners will see how the private, public and voluntary sectors all play a different part in development in destinations. Learners will have the opportunity to examine strategies used to manage responsible tourism in a range of destinations, and will be able to use their knowledge and understanding to plan a holiday that embraces principles of responsible tourism. They will be able to consider the principles of responsible tourism and use this knowledge to select suitable holiday arrangements that meet the needs of a specific client group.
Tour Operations - Back to top
Every year millions of people turn to tour operators to provide them with holidays to all corners of the world. In this unit learners will explore how tour operators link with different types of Travel and Tourism organisations to provide a wide range of holiday experiences. They will see that tour operators must respond to legislation and external influences, and also face many challenges in the constantly changing Travel and Tourism sector. Learners will investigate these challenges and the ways in which tour operators respond to them.
Tour operators are at the forefront of the Travel and Tourism sector, constantly seeking out new destinations and holiday experiences to satisfy the ever-demanding and ever-changing needs of today’s holidaymakers. Different types of tour operators will be identified and learners will examine how they develop an extensive portfolio of products and services to meet differing customer needs. Whatever their size, tour operators must work through the same processes when planning, developing, selling and operating their holiday programmes.
These different functions will be examined and time scales identified. Learners will find that tour operators compete in a commercially sensitive environment and they will identify how commercial considerations inform many of the business practices. Practical skills will be developed in the planning and costing of a tour operator’s package holiday, allowing learners to appreciate some of the commercial decisions to be made in this competitive industry.
Specialist Tourism - Back to top
Leisure tourism has changed since mass market holiday products were introduced in the 1970s. Industries within the Travel and Tourism sector need to reflect current trends and interests by changing products and services to meet the changing needs and expectations of customers, and remain profitable. Consequently the sector has responded to changing customer needs with the rapid growth of specialist tourism over the last decade.
UK holidaymakers seek out warmer climates because of the close proximity of sunny resorts in Europe and the ease of travel to world destinations. However, seeking a sun tan is no longer the sole motivation for taking a holiday. People are aware of the dangers of sunbathing and are more used to world travel as air travel has become quicker and cheaper. Many people take more holidays and short breaks rather than a two week annual sun holiday. Thus, holidays have to offer a different experience. The Travel and Tourism sector now provides a plethora of specialist tourism products, sometimes tailor-made for the individual customer.
This unit enables learners to explore this important growth market which combines hobbies and interests, social and cultural encounters, sport and adventure activities with tourism. Learners will find out about the different types of specialist tourism products on offer and who provides them. They will explore the factors that have led to the changes and growth in this market. Learners will have the opportunity to research one type of specialist tourism in depth and to assess its market and future growth potential. Finally, learners will apply their knowledge by selecting specialist tourism holidays to meet specific customer profiles.
Working as a Holiday Representatives - Back to top
Each year millions of holidaymakers head to tourist resorts around the world. For tour operators, the holiday representative plays an important role acting as the face of the company and looking after the needs of their customers.
In this unit you will investigate the various types of holiday reps who work overseas. It focuses on the different roles and responsibilities of different types of holiday rep, who have to deal with many situations from meeting and greeting customers at the airport, to dealing with problems such as overbooked or substandard accommodation. The unit explores how holiday reps deal with customers on a day to day basis.
You will also study the legal responsibilities of different categories of holiday rep and examine situations where holiday reps have to meet legal requirements. Reps must apply a wide range of skills to the many areas of their work, demonstrating customer service skills to deal with enquiries or complaints, selling skills to promote products and services in resort, and social skills to enhance the overall holiday experience.
This is a practical unit which gives you the chance to engage in activities to develop the skills needed by holiday reps.
UK Visitor Attractions - Back to top
Visitor attractions are an important component of the Travel and Tourism industry, and are often cited as the reason why mass tourism began in the UK. Today the UK has thousands of attractions offering a wealth of unique experiences for inbound and domestic visitors.
This unit gives you the opportunity to examine the range of products and services offered by visitor attractions, as well as the interpretation techniques used by visitor attractions for guiding and displays. The two attractions which you will study in detail are Daisy Nook Country Park and Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
You will see how attractions impact on the visitor, the local environment and the local and national economy, and will develop an appreciation of the variety of visitor attractions and the appeal that they have for different types of visitor. This will involve looking at features such as location, price and the products and services offered and considering ways to increase their appeal.
Hospitality Operations in Travel & Tourism - Back to top
Hospitality is an important element of Travel and Tourism. Tourism often involves an overnight stay, so provision of accommodation is an essential part of tourism. The provision of food and beverage by travel and tourism organizations has also become important as they seek to maximize profits, so many attractions and transport operators now have catering provision.
The hospitality products and services of a Travel and Tourism organization can be of equal importance to the customer as their core Travel and Tourism products and services. A customer may choose to fly with a certain airline because their in-flight catering is better than other airlines flying the same route. You will get to know the wide range of hospitality providers within the Travel and Tourism industry.
Entertainment for Holiday Makers - Back to top
This unit introduces you to the planning and managing of events within the hospitality industry, an important component of Travel and Tourism. You will explore a diverse range of events such as banquets, parties and receptions and a variety of themes.
You will produce a proposal for an event to meet a client brief. This will cover essential criteria, including a description of the event, numbers involved and costs that will need to be incurred.
Preparation for the event will enable you to develop your ability to plan and monitor the timescales of the project and also to practice contingency planning. As part of your planning, you will consider ways in which you will be able to evaluate the success of the event, for example by collecting feedback from customers and participants.
You will stage the event, and review how successful it has been. Many students find this a very exciting unit, as it brings together all the skills and knowledge gained on the BTEC National Certificate in a real situation.
Work Experience in the Travel and Tourism Sector - Back to top
This unit supports learners in preparing for, and undertaking, work experience within Travel and Tourism. They will find out which types of organisations are best suited to their skills and personalities and have the potential to make useful contacts for their future career. The placement also provides an opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge developed throughout their course and to collect evidence of real industry practice for both this unit and other units in the qualification.
Learners will prepare for their work experience by seeking out potential placements/employers from a variety of sources, sending letters of enquiry and application. They may have to attend an interview prior to the work experience. They will consider the necessary arrangements for attending the work experience placement and also determine a code of appropriate behaviour to follow while on work experience.
Learners will set objectives for the experience, including personal, career and curriculum objectives. While undertaking the placement, learners will find out information about the work experience organisation, its products and services and the roles of individuals working there. This information will be presented after the work experience is completed. They will also keep a log of their activities and will be expected to achieve positive feedback on their performance from employers and tutors. Following the placement, learners are required to evaluate their own performance and the benefits they have received through undertaking the work experience.
Researching Current Issues in Travel and Tourism - Back to top
This unit will develop research and self-management skills which are invaluable in employment and for those who wish to progress into higher education following their BTEC National programme. The Travel and Tourism sector is dynamic and constantly changing. It is both proactive, in that it can stimulate economic growth, and reactive, in that it is sensitive to ever-changing global markets. There are some factors, issues and events that cannot be anticipated and organisations must ensure they are flexible and responsive to deal with them effectively. People entering the sector at graduate level need to be able to understand the nature of the industry and the key issues that are affecting it. This unit will support learners who may wish to further their studies in higher education to gain a greater understanding of these issues.
This unit focuses on current issues: those issues that have arisen in the last five years and those that are likely to have an effect on the Travel and Tourism sector. Learners will gain an overview of a range of issues but will have the opportunity to study one of these in depth. Through the study learners will consider the effects of that issue on Travel and Tourism, both from an industry and society perspective. To gain an understanding of the issue and its effects on Travel and Tourism, learners will develop skills appropriate to undertaking sustained and planned research, similar to those adopted in academic research.
When working in the Travel and Tourism sector and assisting organisations in preparing responses to issues, it is essential that information and data used is wide ranging, current, accurate and relevant. Through this unit, learners will gain an understanding of different approaches to research and the relative merits of each of these. Learners will also discover how to analyse information and data and they will learn to question their findings in order to develop their understanding of the effects of current issues on Travel and Tourism.
Organising a Travel and Tourism Study Visit - Back to top
To achieve this unit learners must be involved in the planning processes and must participate in a study visit. The study visit presents learners with the opportunity to learn about Travel and Tourism outside the classroom in a real-life situation. Learners can experience the subject first hand and build on knowledge gained during delivery of other units. If the study visit is a residential, it can promote teambuilding and independent living. For some learners, this may be their first experience of travelling without their family or close friends.
Learners are required to establish the aims and objectives for the study visit, considering the purpose of the study programme, possible research, personal development and planned outcomes. Learners will deliver a proposal for an effective study visit, taking into account the considerations and constraints. Health, safety and security are critical to the success of all educational study visits and learners will be introduced to the reasons for, and the importance of, risk assessments. Learners will then have the opportunity to discuss a full risk assessment for the study visit.
Learners must also participate positively in the study visit, projecting the correct attitude and image, showing consideration towards others and exhibiting responsible behaviour. There will be opportunities for learners to gather information about aspects of the Travel and Tourism sector and to evaluate the success of the visit in terms of information gathered, knowledge gained and their own contribution.