Travelers Booking Shorter, Affordable Trips on Shorter Notice

July 13, 2009

InsureMyTrip Sales Data:

The online travel insurance aggregator InsureMyTrip.com announced results of its sales data analysis of consumer travelers showing a more cautious, cost-conscious market for 2009 vacations.  InsureMyTrip found the following results in examining its 1st Quarter 2009 sales data versus the same 1st Quarter of 2008.

  • Extended vacations of two to four weeks saw the largest decline at nearly 15%.
  • Trips costing more than $2,000 fell by 25%. Overall, average trip costs decreased 12%.
  • Travel insurance customers are now buying closer to scheduled departure. Insurance is now purchased 62 days before departure, a decrease of 11%.
  • Surveyed consumers said they were insuring 68% of trips lasting eight days or more, but only 30% of week-long trips and 18% of weekend trips. Insurance take-up rises dramatically with the length of the trip.

Jim Grace, the President and CEO of InsureMyTrip.com gave his analysis of the survey.  “Money is tight for a lot of people right now and job security is a concern for some,” said Grace.  “Taking less costly, shorter vacations, holding out for super-saver deals, and making sure that any travels are protected with travel insurance, are practical strategies for dealing with the new ‘normal’ of travel today. We are encouraged to see that people are in fact getting back to traveling and that travel insurance is now a ‘must have’.”


Challenge & Opportunity – Flu Outbreak Puts Consumer Focus on Travel Insurance

May 15, 2009

One visible effect of the recent H1N1 flu outbreak was the raised awareness of the traveling public about the importance of travel insurance. In addition to seeing daily news coverage of the outbreak itself, travelers with either existing bookings or plans to make them saw daily news stories about travel insurance. Our Travel Insured International customer care department did an outstanding job of answering questions from thousands of customers calling about their Worldwide Trip Protector plans and how their coverage would apply in the face of the H1N1 flu risk.

Everyone at Travel Insured is indebted to our travel industry partners who demonstrate their true professionalism when a sales challenge like the flu outbreak occurs. You were able to answer many clients’ travel insurance questions or, if not, were involved in getting the answers from your TII Regional Sales Manager or one of our Customer Care Representatives. Without your level of commitment, we truly would not be able to do our jobs helping your clients.

Your clients should be more aware than ever, and you should now be more willing to remind them, that travel insurance is a necessary part of any travel booking they make in the future! Here are some key points about the flu outbreak, and its coverage in our Worldwide Trip Protector family of insurance plans:

  •  If covered travelers contract H1N1 flu before or during travel, including in Mexico, coverage will be provided them for sickness medical expense as specified in the terms of their plan.
  • If covered travelers have purchased optional Cancel for Any Reason coverage, they may cancel their trip anytime up to two days before departure and receive up to 75% reimbursement of their prepaid trip cost.
  • Fear of contracting flu while traveling is unfortunately not a specific covered reason under Trip Cancellation for canceling a trip. However, customers who wish to have Trip Cancellation protection against a flu outbreak in future should purchase the Cancel for Any Reason option as the way to obtain that coverage.
  • If covered travelers are quarantined before or during travel due to an illness, coverage may be included under Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption or Trip Delay provided the person is restricted to their home or a medical facility, not restricted from one country or destination.
  • Many travel suppliers, including cruise lines, have changed itineraries to avoid a flu outbreak. Insured travelers may be covered for Missed Port of Call coverage if their original itinerary is changed and, as a result, they forfeit their prepayment of non-refundable activities. Additionally, travel dates can be adjusted on a customer’s Worldwide Trip Protector plan if they have not filed a claim and have not yet departed on the trip.
  • Travel Insured’s Worldwide Emergency Travel Assistance is a service included with every plan we sell. Your clients can contact this service, with a free call from anywhere, whenever they need emergency medical assistance during their trip!

Industry News – Interactive Travel Assoc. Says Flu Not Proving Fatal to Travel

May 12, 2009

The Washington D.C.-based Interactive Travel Services Association (ITSA) said that the American traveling public is following President Obama’s advice to “use prudence, not panic” in planning travel in the wake of the H1N1 flu outbreak in Mexico. ITSA’s Executive Director Art Sackler issued reassuring news on May 5, following an informal poll of his online agent membership, which includes companies like Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz. Sackler reported that “according to Global Distribution System and Online Travel Company members of the Interactive Travel Services Association, business and leisure travel continues, despite a decline to Mexico as travelers proceed with caution. Our members are seeing very few cancellations outside of Mexico.”

Sackler said many ITSA members were waiving change and cancellation fees in order to rebook clients to new travel destinations. “There are no advisories concerning travel to or throughout the US, to Europe, the Caribbean and a host of other destinations,” Sackler’s ITSA announcement added. “Travelers can take advantage of extraordinary savings and value now for business and leisure trips in many locations outside of Mexico. By exercising caution and some common sense, and guided by the advice of WHO [World Health Organization] and CDC [Center for Disease Control], travelers can still go ahead with their plans without undue concern throughout much of the world.”


Research Says Happy Vacations Can Help Cure Recession Blues

February 17, 2009

Travel Research

A research study by Dr. Ryan Howell, a psychology professor at San Francisco State Univ., has determined that experiences, especially vacations, bring consumers greater happiness than buying material objects. The study of 154 people from age 19 to 50 showed that people “feel more alive,” “feel invigorated or inspired” and “are left with positive memories, a return on their investment” with experiences compared to material purchases, according to Howell in a Los Angeles Times report of the study.

“You’re happy with a new television set, but you’re thrilled with a vacation,” the psychologist reported from his study. He added that, “whether you spend a little or a lot on a life experience, you still have the same level of happiness.”

Travel agents, who might want to share this information with their clients and prospects, can find a complete report on the Howell study from the L.A. Times at:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2009/02/money-doesnt-ma.html