Travel Trends: What’s Expected for 2017

With 2016 nearly behind us, we take a look at how travel trends have shifted in the last year and what to expect from your customers and the industry next year.

Travelers in the U.S. are expected to continue to spend and take more trips than ever before. A 2.8 percent rise in U.S. travel expenditures is forecast for 2017, along with 29 million more domestic person-trips, according to the U.S. Travel Association. If travelers are spending more, they’ll likely be more interested in protecting their trip costs by purchasing travel insurance.

The U.S. Commerce Department predicts that 2016 will end with about 700,000 fewer international visitors than the year before, but 2017 is looking up, with an expected 2.4% increase year over year. For a longer look at expectations for where international visitors will be originating from, five countries—Mexico, China, Canada, India and South Korea—are projected to account for 64% of visitor growth between now and 2021.

An AARP survey shows that 99% of Baby Boomers plan to travel for leisure in 2017 and about half plan to travel internationally, with an average of five or more trips expected throughout the year. The same report indicates that Millennials plan to take more trips than Generation X or the Baby Boomers.

The importance of travel to Millenials is clear, and though online travel purchasing is on the rise, they aren’t shying away from travel professionals. According to the 2016 Portrait of American Travelers by MMGY Global, 34% of that generation used a travel agent in the last year and 39% expect to use one over the next two years. That’s a good sign for the future of travel professionals, considering the overall use of a travel agent was pegged at 19%.

Travel Insurance

Over the last year, current events have shaped the travel insurance landscape. Here is a brief summary.

  • Illness: The U.S. Travel Insurance Association (UStiA) issued a press release explaining the relationship between the Zika outbreak and travel insurance. As the press release indicates, travelers must do their homework to determine if their travel insurance would provide coverage for a trip cancelled due to the Zika outbreak. We suggest that travelers call CSA with coverage questions of this type.
  • Extreme Weather: Although weather events can range from a winter storm to flooding, Hurricane Matthew was an extreme weather phenomenon that affected travelers in 2016. Weather.com recapped Hurricane Matthew’s destruction toll. Travelers who bought travel insurance well in advance of Hurricane Matthew could have been covered, but those who purchased policies after the storm had been named probably were not.
  • Current Events and Acts of Terrorism: From Brexit to the New York City bombing, there were numerous world events, bombings, shootings, attacks, and acts of terrorism both domestic and abroad in 2016. Frommers.com reported that Brexit meant temporary lower costs for American travelers, which may have encouraged travel to Britain. Travel insurance policies vary in coverages for these types of events. If deemed an “Act of Terrorism,” then an event could be covered. Fear of traveling to an area affected by an event may not ensure travel insurance coverage.

“The outcome is that travelers want to know more about travel insurance and what it covers in situations like these. Travel professionals and travel insurance companies are doing more to educate consumers to help them not only feel better protected while they travel, but better understand the protection they have in place,” said Bob Chambers, vice president of operations at CSA Travel Protection. “This growing awareness may be one reason why travel insurance companies are seeing an uptick in policies sold.”

In 2016, CSA Travel Protection reported an increase in travel insurance bookings up nine percent year over year.

Air

Flight fares are projected to increase 3.7% in North America next year, but only 2.5% worldwide, according to the Global Business Travel Association.

The Advito 2017 Industry Forecast highlights the fact that the number of flights from Canada to the U.S. jumped 10% in the last year and the number of available seats rose 20%. This follows a global trend of “more routes, more frequencies and bigger aircraft.”

Concerning what your customers might experience in 2017, the Advito report says “airlines are expected to test the market with fare hikes to see what customers will accept, and they’ll become less generous with ‘waivers and favors.’”

Consumer complaints to the U.S. Department of Transportation about airlines rose 38% percent year over year, according to the Airline Quality Rating 2016 report. Of the 15,260 complaints, 73% were for flight problems, baggage problems, reservation, ticketing and boarding issues, or customer service problems.

“These results clearly show that the air traveling public is not happy,” report co-researcher Brent Bowen said. “Passengers are reaching out and letting us know exactly that, based on the number of complaints filed with the Department of Transportation. The human element of air travel is obviously deteriorating, and passengers are fed up.”

While that doesn’t sound great, the report goes on to say that the rate of complaints is most likely rising because more people are flying—a good sign for most travel businesses.

In fact, other key airline statistics in the report indicate a better traveler experience. The rate of mishandled baggage saw a 17% drop and on-time performance for flights was about 80 percent, compared to 76 percent the year before.

Cruise

The Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook report highlights trends that agents have noticed and expect to see in the near future.

A continuing trend—river cruising is expected to show the most growth among cruise types, with 64% of travel agents saying they expect to sell more river cruise packages.

“In an uncertain world, cruisers seem to be looking for destinations that are closer to home,” the report stated, backed up by statistics that show Alaska as the top growth destination, with 62% of agents anticipating growth there, and California and the Pacific Coast making the top five destinations.

“The trend is also for them to come already informed with what they want, and securing the space more than nine months out,” as an agent that responded to the CLIA survey was quoted.

Tours

The popularity of “in-destination” travel experiences is growing and travelers want more than ever to get a taste of local life at their destination. With the majority of tour and activity operators being small and local businesses, they are perfectly positioned to gain from this trend.

The National Park Service Centennial celebration this year led to more park visits, and TravelAgeWest suggests that factor combined with concern over international terrorism will lead to more domestic tour bookings and road trips in 2017.

Stephen Joyce, a travel and tourism technology consultant, points out that the tourism industry is poised to jump from the manual inefficiencies of paper and pencils that predominate the market to better integrate technology in their reservation, marketing and management systems and flourish as a result.

“Fortunately, times are changing. With new tools and technologies, these predominantly small businesses are increasingly able to take advantage of global distribution through larger firms…” Joyce wrote.

While it’s difficult to foresee the complete travel insurance landscape for the next few years, CSA Travel Protection expects continued interest from consumers and travel industry professionals, and predicts that travel insurance will remain in high demand.

One thing is certain: as long as people travel by air, land or sea and seek the ultimate vacation destinations, they are making a trip investment. Travelers are becoming increasingly aware of unexpected circumstances that can arise during their trip. As a result, you might see more of your customers asking about travel insurance and we encourage you to educate about how a CSA plan could help them on their trip.

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 0821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as CSA Travel Protection and Insurance Services.  Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions.  Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply.

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.

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Travel Insurance Trends: A Year in Review and 2017 Predictions

Get your travel insurance quote from CSA

As 2016 comes to a close, it’s important to reflect on this year’s milestones and accomplishments. CSA Travel Protection, dedicated for 25 years to providing full-service travel insurance solutions, has identified key travel insurance industry trends this past year and predicted what lies ahead.

Travel insurance protects travelers from unexpected events including illness, bad weather and acts of terrorism. Over the last year, current events have shaped the travel insurance landscape. Here is a brief summary.

  • Illness: The U.S. Travel Insurance Association (UStiA) issued a press release explaining the relationship between the Zika outbreak and travel insurance. As the press release indicates, travelers must do their homework to determine if their travel insurance would provide coverage for a trip cancelled due to the Zika outbreak.
  • Extreme Weather: Although weather events can range from a winter storm to flooding, Hurricane Matthew was an extreme weather phenomenon that affected travelers in 2016. Weather.com recapped Hurricane Matthew’s destruction toll. Travelers who bought travel insurance well in advance of Hurricane Matthew could have been covered, but those who purchased policies after the storm had been named probably were not.
  • Current Events and Acts of Terrorism: From Brexit to the New York City bombing, there were numerous world events, bombings, shootings, attacks, and acts of terrorism both domestic and abroad in 2016. Frommers.com reported that Brexit meant temporary lower costs for American travelers, which may have encouraged travel to Britain. Travel insurance policies vary in coverages for these types of events. If deemed an “Act of Terrorism,” then an event could be covered. Fear of traveling to an area affected by an event may not ensure travel insurance coverage.

“The outcome is that travelers want to know more about travel insurance and what it covers in situations like these. Travel professionals and travel insurance companies are doing more to educate consumers to help them not only feel better protected while they travel, but better understand the protection they have in place,” said Bob Chambers, vice president of operations at CSA Travel Protection. “This growing awareness may be one reason why travel insurance companies are seeing an uptick in policies sold.”

In 2016, CSA Travel Protection reported an increase in travel insurance bookings up nine percent year over year.

2017 and Beyond: Travel Insurance Industry Predictions

While it’s difficult to foresee the complete travel insurance landscape for the next few years, CSA Travel Protection expects continued interest from consumers and travel industry professionals, and predicts that travel insurance will remain in high demand.

Technology will continue to be a major focus for the travel insurance industry. CSA Travel Protection is dedicated to finding new ways to make it easier for consumers and travel professionals to connect with CSA when they need to ask questions about their travel insurance plans while on their trip, file a claim and more. With more than half of all web traffic now occurring in mobile app e-commerce, CSA Travel Protection foresees that mobile technology will definitely expand in the next year or two.

Another area where technology—especially mobile technology—will continue evolving to improve the customer journey is in providing proactive travel assistance. Right now if travelers need help during a trip, they may often be required to notify their insurance company. Technology such as geo smart apps can help insurance companies identify when a traveler is in an area that has been affected by an event or catastrophe and proactively reach out to see if they need help. It can also be used to remind travelers before they depart on their trips about the services available with their travel insurance plans.

Travel insurance and assistance providers can leverage geo smart mobile technology to help travelers when there isn’t a crisis as well. For instance, travelers could benefit from a platform that can suggest and make it easy to perform tasks. These could include reserving and possibly insuring additional travel arrangements, purchasing tickets to special events and theme parks and assisting with last-minute itinerary changes like a previously unplanned pit stop while en route from one destination to another.

This is an exciting time for travel insurance companies as they continue finding and developing new and innovative ways to help travelers. And one thing is certain: as long as people travel by air, land or sea and seek the ultimate vacation destinations, they are making a trip investment. Travelers are becoming increasingly aware of unexpected circumstances that can arise during their trip. As a result, they should consider travel insurance from reputable travel insurance providers, such as CSA Travel Protection, to help protect their trip investment.

About CSA Travel Protection

CSA Travel Protection is dedicated to providing valuable travel insurance and emergency assistance services to protect travelers’ vacation investments and provide the peace of mind one deserves while traveling. For 25 years CSA has developed a reputation for standing behind its customers and by offering products and services to meet their needs. Through award-winning customer service, extensive experience and industry-leading innovation, CSA is with its clients every step of the way, whenever and wherever they are needed.

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as CSA Travel Protection and Insurance Services.  Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions. Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply. Travel Retailers may not be licensed to sell insurance, in all states, and are not authorized to answer technical questions about the benefits, exclusions, and conditions of this insurance and cannot evaluate the adequacy of your existing insurance.  This plan provides insurance coverage for your trip that applies only during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home and automobile policies. The purchase of this plan is not required in order to purchase any other travel product or service offered to you by your travel retailers. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer, insurance agent or broker.  This notice provides general information on CSA’s products and services only. The information contained herein is not part of an insurance policy and may not be used to modify any insurance policy that might be issued. In the event the actual policy forms are inconsistent with any information provided herein, the language of the policy forms shall govern. 

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.

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Majority of Travelers Have Experienced Winter Delays

Learn more about partnering with CSA

A majority of travelers have direct experience of winter weather throwing a wrench in their travel plans, which sets them up as ideal candidates for purchasing travel insurance. 56 percent of travelers reported experiencing a trip delay or cancellation due to inclement winter weather, according to “Winter Travel Fast Facts” released by TripAdvisor.

When offering travel insurance to clients we suggest using anecdotes to express what could happen to disrupt a trip and how a CSA Travel Protection plan can help in those situations. But, with a majority of winter travelers having experienced a delay or cancellation of their trip first-hand, they’re probably already well aware of the potential impact of unexpected winter weather on their vacation.

What could happen?

Winter is flu and cold season: Guests or their family members could become sick or injured and they could be unable to make the trip or must return home early.

Adverse Weather: A guest’s flight is canceled or roads are closed due to adverse weather such as a snowstorm.
See more real-life scenarios

How can a Guest Protect plan help?

Trip Cancellation coverage can provide reimbursement for unused, non-refundable, pre-paid trip costs if guests are prevented from taking their trip due to a covered reason.

Trip Interruption coverage can provide reimbursement for unused, non-refundable, pre-paid trip costs if a trip is interrupted due to a covered event. Also provides reimbursement for the additional transportation cost to return home or rejoin a group.

Travel Delay coverage can provide reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred such as accommodations, meals and local transportation if travelers are delayed 12 hours or more during their trip due to a covered reason.
See more plan coverages

 

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as CSA Travel Protection and Insurance Services.  Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions. Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply. Travel Retailers may not be licensed to sell insurance, in all states, and are not authorized to answer technical questions about the benefits, exclusions, and conditions of this insurance and cannot evaluate the adequacy of your existing insurance.  This plan provides insurance coverage for your trip that applies only during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home and automobile policies. The purchase of this plan is not required in order to purchase any other travel product or service offered to you by your travel retailers. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer, insurance agent or broker.  This notice provides general information on CSA’s products and services only. The information contained herein is not part of an insurance policy and may not be used to modify any insurance policy that might be issued. In the event the actual policy forms are inconsistent with any information provided herein, the language of the policy forms shall govern. 

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.

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How to Decide if You Need Travel Insurance for Your Holiday Travels

Get your travel insurance quote from CSA

The busy holiday season is almost upon us, and travelers face tough decisions when planning their vacations. These can include how much to spend, how long to stay and, of course, how to celebrate and who to celebrate with.

While Thanksgiving and the holidays are an excellent excuse to travel and have fun, there is one thing that is often overlooked. Common travel mishaps like lost luggage and delayed flights are just a few examples that can affect travel plans unexpectedly, but travel insurance can help. How do travelers know when they need it? CSA Travel Protection has been dedicated for 25 years to providing full-service travel insurance solutions. Its Vice President of Operations, Bob Chambers, asks travelers to consider the following tips before deciding to purchase or pass on travel insurance.

“A good rule of thumb is if you can’t afford to lose the amount you’ve invested in your vacation, then you should buy a travel insurance policy,” Chambers said. “If you have questions about which plan has the benefits you need, be sure to check with your travel insurance provider.”

Check your health insurance to see what’s already covered. Some health insurance plans may cover some in-network medical costs, but a travel insurance policy can be a good way to supplement, especially if the traveler is outside of their medical network.

One of the most valuable coverages for travelers is Emergency Assistance and Transportation. This can cost a traveler tens of thousands of dollars. Generally, U.S. health insurance companies won’t help arrange a medical transport, such as an air ambulance.

According to AAA, driving is the most popular mode of travel for Thanksgiving. While a lot of holiday travel remains domestic, if travelers’ destinations are international, then Emergency Assistance and Transportation coverage can be valuable.

Additionally, medical treatment can be difficult to arrange, and a reputable travel insurance company such as CSA Travel Protection offers services that can assist in finding a doctor and providing 24-hour emergency assistance. This can help when in another country and not fluent in the native language.

Many people think their credit card will cover them, which is oftentimes incorrect. Benefits offered through credit cards may be limited, and travelers shouldn’t assume they’re covered without checking with their credit card provider. For example, very few offer Trip Cancellation coverage, and the ones that do usually only cover for purchases made with the card, and oftentimes it caps at a certain dollar amount.

Timing is everything, especially when it comes to purchasing a travel insurance plan. Travelers should buy travel insurance as soon as they book their vacations. Insurance is designed to cover certain unforeseen events, so it’s best to have the travel insurance in advance. If travelers need to postpone or cancel for a covered reason, they may be eligible for benefits.

If a certain event, such as blizzard or other weather phenomenon is foreseeable, then travel insurance may not cover it. Events, weather related or even terrorist acts, are perils that could cause travel plans to change. Be sure to read the fine print and know exactly what a travel insurance policy covers.

For those who are vacationing over the holidays, a travel insurance plan could be a wise choice. Travel insurance may be a small part of the big picture when it comes to making holiday vacation plans, but travelers may be glad they made such a trip investment should an unexpected event arise.

About CSA Travel Protection

CSA Travel Protection is dedicated to providing valuable travel insurance and emergency assistance services to protect travelers’ vacation investments and provide the peace of mind one deserves while traveling. For 25 years CSA has developed a reputation for standing behind its customers and by offering products and services to meet their needs. Through award-winning customer service, extensive experience and industry-leading innovation, CSA is with its clients every step of the way, whenever and wherever they are needed.

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as CSA Travel Protection and Insurance Services.  Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions. Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply. Travel Retailers may not be licensed to sell insurance, in all states, and are not authorized to answer technical questions about the benefits, exclusions, and conditions of this insurance and cannot evaluate the adequacy of your existing insurance.  This plan provides insurance coverage for your trip that applies only during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home and automobile policies. The purchase of this plan is not required in order to purchase any other travel product or service offered to you by your travel retailers. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer, insurance agent or broker.  This notice provides general information on CSA’s products and services only. The information contained herein is not part of an insurance policy and may not be used to modify any insurance policy that might be issued. In the event the actual policy forms are inconsistent with any information provided herein, the language of the policy forms shall govern. 

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.

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