In 2020 we have really been through a lot of things that blindsided most of the world, and practically crippled the travel and hospitality industry. What is going to be the new normal, we still don’t know. However, people are starting to travel again.
In my past experience, only about 25% of my clients added travel insurance. As much as I explain the penalties and cancelations, and how really important it is to be insured, majority opted to decline insurance. Obviously after everything we have been through since March 2020, insurance policies have changed drastically. Usually, pandemic is not covered under most insurance policies. Also, practically overnight insurance companies put out so many new policies, some of them issuing future travel credit, or even only 50% of the cost. Sometimes, people are also completely unaware that non-refundable fare means that exactly. Any kind of travel insurance you can get: cash-back policy with cancel for any reason, will still not cover a nonrefundable rate for a hotel or an airline. We also have airline rates that are contracted or published, and only contracted or negotiated rates will be refundable 100%. Traditionally, published airfare is only 75% refundable after filing a claim, providing you have cancel for any reason policy or a reason where the coverage would automatically kick in. Some airlines only sell published airfare.
- So far in our industry, we had a fraction of our usual clients traveling, but the ones who did, nine times out of 10 gave us the feedback that they actually felt safer traveling than staying at home. The hotels are taking huge precautions to keep their staff and guests safe and healthy. Right now the hotels are only booking 30% of their capacity. Mexico is faring the best, they are about to enter phase B of their reopening, which means the hotels will open up more space. Hawaii will be removing quarantine requirements as of October 15 with a PSR viral Covid test. Destination weddings are starting to get back on track as well, but definitely with smaller guests lists.
Airlines are starting to do flights to nowhere, for people who just need to get on the plane and feel like they are traveling, and obviously to recoup some of their losses. Quantas had a seven hour flight to nowhere from Sydney that’s sold out in exactly 11 minutes! Would you take a flight to nowhere?
We are hoping the 2021 gets much better, we are already booking 2022, as people are anxious to go on vacation somewhere. In conclusion, the importance of a travel agent has proven to be greater than ever. We were able to get refunds to our clients even without insurance in some cases, and the clients didn’t have to get on the phone for 5-7 hours on hold just to be disconnected, as they were with Costco Travel and Expedia, just to name a few. I am always just a phone call away and I love to talk about travel.
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