Travel safety has always been a priority — then the pandemic made it the first priority. What can tour operators, travel designers and travel companies do to boost client safety? Here are 10 suggestions from Global Rescue experts and Safe Travel partners.
1. Provide a Travel Bubble for Clients
You already create one-of-a-kind trips designed to a client’s needs, interests and dreams. Use your industry knowledge to provide a “travel bubble” by recommending a low-risk coronavirus destination, travel corridor, transportation provider, hotel, restaurants and/or activities.
2. Reformat Trips to Meet Safety Concerns
Tailor trips for maximum safety, such as opting for vans with a “middle seat empty” standard and providing tickets in advance for fewer points of contact. Offer small group options or private tours with a personal guide and/or driver. Exclusivity lends itself well to coronavirus social distancing protocols.
3. Vet All Vendors
Vet transportation providers, lodging and rentals, guides, restaurants and sight-seeing venues for security standards, cleaning schedules, coronavirus protocols and no-touch check in options. Work with businesses that have adapted operations, modified employee practices and redesigned public spaces to lessen the risk of contagion.
CLIENT SAFETY TIP “Not only does Sandals Resorts offer a Platinum Protocol of Cleanliness, a set of industry-leading safety measures to provide peace of mind, we also offer all guests complimentary, on-resort COVID-19 tests prior to departure in order to meet new travel requirements with ease,” said Adam Stewart, executive chairman, Sandals & Beaches Resorts.
4. Share Coronavirus Testing Requirements
You already help with passport and visa logistics. In this evolving world of travel, clients may also look to you for additional services, such as trip timelines for coronavirus testing and documentation requirements for destinations.
CLIENT SAFETY TIP “Tell clients what to expect in the destination — COVID-19 protocols, how to get COVID testing done before return to United States, availability of outside dining, percent occupancy at hotels/restaurants, etc.,” said Mimi Lichtenstein, founder of Truvay Travel. “If you have recent reports from your travels or colleagues’ on travel in general or specific to that destination, share those details.”
5. Provide Coronavirus Services
Some travel companies include coronavirus precautions in the travel package, such as sending a medical professional to meet clients at the airport with test capabilities, arranging for testing throughout the world or providing a place to quarantine, if needed.
CLIENT SAFETY TIP “A Global Rescue travel protection membership can help manage this process with advisory services to find the nearest and most appropriate health care facility, assist with case management or advisory services or handle the logistics of getting a member home safely,” said Jeff Weinstein, medical operations supervisor at Global Rescue.
6. Research Destinations for Clients
You already have the information on the security process at the airport, the best restaurant in the area and if the hotel pool is open to guests. Add safety and health information to your knowledge database with Global Rescue’s destination reports for 215 countries and principalities worldwide. This up-to-the-minute medical, security and intelligence research is valuable travel safety information for all stages of travel.
7. Offer Travel Insurance
You can’t guarantee an issue-free vacation, but you can prepare clients by offering travel insurance. Travel insurance offers protection against trip cancellations, interruptions and delays as well as baggage loss and delays.
CLIENT SAFETY TIP “I tell clients to look at the gaps between what is covered and what the cancellation policy for the trip is. It is those ‘gaps’ we either need to fill, or at least have the knowledge about, up front, so there aren’t any surprises,” said Kimberly Franke of Kanna Travel Services.
8. Provide Travel Protection Services
An additional step beyond travel insurance is providing travel protection services like having a personal assistant available for your client’s health and safety needs. A Global Rescue membership is there for the small asks — such as expediting replacement of a lost passport to finding the nearest health care facility — as well as the big asks like field rescue, medical evacuation and hospital-to-hospital transport.
9. Assistance during Emergencies
You are known for your responsiveness, but what do you do when a client’s vacation destination is hit by a natural disaster or civil unrest? With Global Rescue as part of your response team, you’ll be able to add one more layer of assurance to any trip.
10. Remind Clients to Stay Safe
Gently reinforce the need to maintain healthy travel practices post arrival. Wearing a mask and following physical distancing guidelines will not only keep them safe but also respect the health and well-being of local citizens and those in the travel industry.