Italian students want study-holiday programs with excursions: interview to Giorgio Piergianni, Today International

Giorgio Piergianni, Sales Manager for Today International, talks about his work and the history of his agency in this interview with Alessandra Martinelli, ETN Focus’s Head of International Relations.

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Good morning Giorgio and thanks for this interview. Would you like to say something about Today International?

Hi Alessandra, it’s a pleasure to speak with you of our agency. This year we are celebrating 25 years of activity. Today International deals with study trips and in particular extra-curricular study trips; we have agents in every region here in Italy and this helps us to work efficiently throughout the territory. Our work covers a medium-high range, I refer to the facilities and services we offer to our customers. Every year we re-check the standards of the structures with which we work in order to guarantee the best to our customers.

Does working as an agent have its positive sides?

Absolutely, it is a job that allows you to be in contact with many people and then we have the added value that lies in the fact that ours is a company born thanks to the strength of our family; Today International was born as a family-run company and we are keen to show this aspect and keep it alive also in our relationships with our customers and partners. This is where our strength come s from because it allows us to be even more appreciated.
Our customers of today are the children of our customers of 20 years ago: stories of family that are intertwined.

It makes me proud to know that 70% of the kids who started with Today International choose us the following year and ask us to go through a growth process.

What about the difficulties instead?

The main difficulty is to make families understand the difference  between extra-curricular study trips abroad and school study trips abroad. Often for a parent these two types of travel are similar but it’s not like that.
99% of the teachers who accompany the students and students leaving for a study trip abroad with us, are fully satisfied and content. This is often difficult to explain, it is a message that it is not always easy to transmit to those who have their first experience with us.

Which is the age group you work with the most?

We work mainly with middle school children up to the second or third year of high school. When children get older they want to travel alone and for this reason we provide slightly more “complicated” destinations such as the USA and Australia and we create packages designed specifically for kids who already have had previous jobs or study experiences abroad.

Which are your customers’ favorite destinations?

Definitely English-speaking countries like Scotland, UK and Ireland even though we work with schools around the world as long as they are selected and have a well-established organization.

Do you think there has been, in recent years, a growing trend among students?

I think it’s the same market that is pushing more and more towards the travel component. I mean, this year, for example, we are working a lot with study-holiday programs that include many excursions. Today’s kids like the idea of ​​going abroad to “travel” and then maybe alternate a full-immersion language course day with a full day excursion or tour.
Moreover, they are more and more interested in college accommodations or in well organized structures than in the family or in structures with shared bathrooms..

Generally, do you participate in international fairs with Today International?

Not so much, because we have a very rich network thanks to the many years of experience in this sector, even though every year we tend to expand it and select truly qualified structures by going on site. When we take part in fairs we do it to know the prices of the schools and to have contacts with new institutions and even to schedule appointments in order to get to know the structure personally.

I found the ETN Focus interesting for its versatility in this sense because it guarantees space and freedom to socialize with people: if there were more it would be even better.

I would also like the schools, in addition to the really interesting information material, to provide us with the prices of their offers in order to include them in our catalog for the following year.

Very well, very interesting. It was a pleasure to talk to you.

Thanks to you, Alessandra. It makes me always so proud to be given the chance to talk about Today International!

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