Summer Travel Trends and the Zika Effect

Travelers are in the midst of making decisions about their summer plans, and there are many factors—including security—that play into their choices. Traveling overseas on the U.S. Dollar is cheaper than it has been in a while, but concern about the Zika virus is affecting international bookings and could boost domestic travel. How could this affect leisure travel this summer?

Domestic Travel

“With the increase of security threats happening abroad, I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2016 we begin to see more U.S. travelers booking trips to domestic hotspots like Hawaii, Alaska and San Diego,” said Cassie McNab, marketing manager at CSA Travel Protection.
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Travelers in the U.S. are spending more this year, and more this summer— at least that was the forecast in December. A 3.4 percent rise in U.S. travel expenditures was forecast for 2016, according to the U.S. Travel Association, and signs show domestic travel may even get a boost from fear about overseas terrorism and the Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Andrew Saunders, president of the real estate company Saunders & Associates, recently told U.S. News and World Report that security concerns are causing an increase in the number of travelers choosing to stay close to home rather than renting overseas this year.

The Center for Disease Control reports more than 190 travel-associated Zika virus cases have been documented and the CDC warns that pregnant women should consider delaying travel to areas with Zika. The virus has been linked to Microcephaly, a serious birth defect.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll from February showed that 41 percent of Americans aware of the Zika virus say they are less likely to take a trip to affected areas.

Luckily, no cases of Zika are reported to have been acquired in the United States. However, it’s still a sound idea to keep an eye out. The types of mosquitoes that are able to transmit the virus have historically been found across the US, from East to West coasts, and some estimates show that up to 200 million Americans live in areas where the disease could potentially spread during the summer.

On a lighter note — road trips are likely to be a popular summer getaway. With gas prices at decade lows and the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service, featuring centennial celebration events throughout the nation in August, the roads are sure to be packed.

The AARP reports that 95 percent of Baby Boomers plan to travel domestically in 2016, with Florida, Las Vegas, California, New York and Hawaii as the most mentioned destinations. Summer Vacations, Multi-Generational trips, and Weekend Getaways are cited as the most popular reasons for Boomer travel, which are also some of the peak situations for choosing to stay at a vacation rental.

Learn more about partnering with CSA

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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Trip Insurance 101 for Cruise Travel: Why It Matters During Wave Season

The travel industry is over halfway into this year’s wave season─the timeframe from January through March when cruise lines are offering some of their most widely advertised discounts and sales events. As you work to maintain your wave season booking momentum this winter and beyond, don’t forget to make key travel protection considerations for your 2016 cruise clients.

Health and Safety

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cruise ship travel poses potential health hazards and staying informed and prepared for those dangers can help travelers fully enjoy their vacations. Cruisers might encounter viral illnesses or seasickness, and respiratory illnesses are reportedly common aboard cruise ships. Chronic conditions could also unexpectedly worsen as a result of cruise-related stressors such as changes in diet or climate variations.*

Travel insurance can offer a unique global solution if your client’s health insurance provider doesn’t extend coverage outside of the United States. Note that Medicare, in particular, may not provide coverage internationally. If an insured experiences a sickness or injury on their trip they can utilize their travel insurance plan to seek reimbursement for otherwise potentially burdensome medical expenses.

Many travel protection plans can also help prepare your clients in the event of a medical emergency. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical evacuations by air ambulance can cost $50,000-$100,000 and must be paid in advance by travelers who don’t have insurance.* Offering a travel protection plan that includes Emergency Assistance Services and Emergency Medical Transportation could help them feel more comfortable with their booking. Such protection plans provide travelers with access to a 24/7 international emergency hotline and coverage for emergency medical evacuations.

The Cruise Connection

Cruises differ from self-directed travel in terms of itinerary. If a self-directed traveler encounters a flight delay at the start of their vacation, they could suffer inconvenience and financial loss but they won’t, quite literally, be missing their boat. Delays due to inclement weather or other unforeseen events can result in amplified problems for cruisers, such as forfeited prepaid trip arrangements, additional transportation expenses, and the necessary purchase of clothing or other personal items while delayed. Many travel protection plans include coverages that can reimburse for such expenses. Review a plan’s Description of Coverage or Policy for a complete schedule of benefits and full details on coverages like Trip Interruption, Travel Delay, Missed Connection, and Baggage Delay.

A carefully planned trip should be carefree. Travel insurance can ease otherwise unpleasant conversations with unlucky cruise clients and protection plans from CSA Travel Protection frequently include the above-mentioned services and coverages. Contact your dedicated Account Manager or call our award winning Customer Service Department to learn more about your agency’s plan offerings.

*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Learn more and sign up to offer CSA's travel insurance plans to your clients

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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2016 Travel and Lodging Trends

Learn more about partnering with CSA

Forecasts suggest that the travel industry will continue to grow in 2016, with signs that the popularity of vacation rentals won’t slow down.

Spending more money on travel

A 3.4 percent rise in U.S. travel expenditures is forecast for 2016, according to the U.S. Travel Association’s U.S. Travel Forecast. If travelers are spending more, they’ll likely be more interested in protecting their trip costs by purchasing travel insurance. Partnering with CSA Travel Protection can make that easier for you and your guests.

Hotel issues that could benefit vacation rentals

  • Hotel room rates in North America are forecast to rise 4.3 percent in 2016, according to the 2016 Global Travel Price Outlook. Vacation rentals only become more attractive as the cost of staying at a hotel continues to rise. “As hotels continue looking to maximize ancillary fees, we’re seeing them begin testing different terms and price points for amenities such as WiFi,” according to the report. With amenities such as internet access often included with vacation rentals at no extra cost, this could be another reason travelers choose rentals over hotels. It also indicates that hotels “have begun to enforce more stringent cancellation policies,” which may bring them closer in line with common vacation rental cancellation policies. And, if your guests are ever worried about your cancellation policy, CSA’s travel insurance with coverage for Trip Cancellation might ease their worries.
  • The American Express Global Business Travel Forecast 2016 suggests that while hotels are in the process of boosting their inventory, “limited increases in inventory fail to keep pace with the growing global appetite for travel.”
  • Vacation rentals are a growing sector of the lodging industry and continue to take more market share, according to EY’s Global Hospitality Insights 2015 report on the hotel industry. “In a year, Airbnb, a company that enables people to rent out lodging, added more listings to its existing inventory than the largest hotel companies introduced as new units combined over the same period.” That same report referred to the growing competition from vacation rentals: “Customers are increasingly seeking unique, authentic experiences anchored in the destination they are visiting. Part of the appeal of the shared economy concepts has been their ability to cater to those specific needs.” Vacation rentals should continue to capitalize on providing authentic local experiences that differentiate them from hotel lodging.

CSA Travel Protection can help you cater to your guests’ needs—you can offer them Vacation Rental Damage Protection and travel insurance. And, you can earn commission for plans your guests purchase, which can become an additional revenue stream for your business.

Learn more about partnering with CSA

 

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 Agents: Where do your clients want to vacation in 2016? Should they consider travel insurance?

As 2015 comes to a close, travel agents might be noticing a few new trends taking shape for the New Year. “With the increase of recent security threats happening abroad, I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2016 we begin to see more U.S. travelers booking trips to domestic hotspots like Hawaii, Alaska and San Diego,” said Cassie McNab, marketing manager at CSA Travel Protection.

“Believe it or not, this is the time of year when travelers start booking spring break vacations, so Miami and Las Vegas could be other popular destinations,” McNab added.

However, there are always customers who have their hearts set on traveling to places on their bucket lists as well, no matter the political climate.

As a leading provider of full-service travel protection solutions to U.S. travelers for more than 20 years, CSA Travel Protection recommends educating customers about their travel insurance options. “Here’s a good rule of thumb for knowing when to purchase travel insurance. Ask yourself, ‘Can I afford to recoup the costs of my trip?’ If the answer is no, then you should consider travel protection. Look for policies that meet your specific needs. There are many different kinds of travel protection plans available and, most importantly, you want to purchase from a reputable source,” noted McNab.

According to CSA, a small percentage of its customers require medical evacuations or find themselves in dire emergency medical situations. In fact, the most common reasons for making travel insurance claims in 2015 are the following:

  1. Trip Cancellation
  2. Trip Interruption
  3. Medical and Dental

When looking to make your next travel protection purchase or recommending travel insurance to a customer, be sure to take these top reasons into consideration. You may want to look at the plan coverages to be sure that they include these elements.

Consumers should always review a sample insurance policy or description of coverage before purchasing a plan (e.g. CSA Custom Luxe Plan). “If one isn’t available prior to purchase, then we do not recommend buying that plan as it’s always wise to research up front and know what is covered before departing on a trip,” McNab said. “Travelers can download and save or print and carry their policies with them on their covered trips for easy reference.”

Travel agents, travel protection companies and credible online sources can be valuable resources for becoming more knowledgeable about travel insurance. “The more travel agents know about travel insurance and emergency services, the more they can educate their customers. Education is empowerment,” McNab said.

Learn more and sign up to offer CSA's travel insurance plans to your clients