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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CSA Travel Protection Wins Bronze Stevie® Award In 2016 Stevie Awards For Sales & Customer Service

Bronze Stevie Winner 2016CSA Travel Protection, dedicated for more than 20 years to providing travel insurance and emergency assistance services, was presented this week with a Bronze Stevie® Award in the tenth annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. CSA Travel Protection was honored for working with business partner HomeAway to create a fully automated online eClaims solution for HomeAway, VRBO and VacationRental.com customers that streamlines the claims process for Property Damage Protection.

“As a company that provides quality travel protection and emergency services, we’re always looking to provide the best customer service possible,” said Bob Chambers, Vice President of Operations. “The claims process can sometimes be complex and our team simplified that process while providing better visibility on the claim status.”

The result of this project is an end-to-end online tool that allows users to file a claim, upload supporting documentation, check statuses, and communicate with their dedicated claim representative. With the success of eClaims automation, CSA plans to leverage this technology with other customer channels in the future.

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service are the world’s top sales awards, business development awards, contact center awards, and customer service awards.  The Stevie Awards organizes several of the world’s leading business awards shows including the prestigious American Business Awards and International Business Awards.

The awards were presented to honorees during a gala banquet on Friday, March 4 at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. More than 500 executives from the U.S.A. and several other nations attended.

More than 2,100 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were evaluated in this year’s competition, an increase of 11% over 2015. Finalists were determined by the average scores of 115 professionals worldwide, acting as preliminary judges. Entries were considered in 59 categories for customer service and contact center achievements, including Contact Center of the Year, Award for Innovation in Customer Service, and Consulting Practice of the Year; more than 50 categories for sales and business development achievements, ranging from Senior Sales Executive of the Year to Business Development Achievement of the Year; and categories to recognize new products and services and solution providers.

More than 60 members of several specialized judging committees determined the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award placements from among the Finalists during final judging earlier this month.

“Entries to the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service continue to grow every year, further validating the essential roles that business development, customer service, and sales play in business success,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards.  “The widespread support of this program made the 2016 competition that much more intense among finalists. The judges were deeply impressed by the winner’s accomplishments and we congratulate all of the winners on their commitment to excellence and innovation.”

Details about the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service and the list of Stevie winners in all categories are available at www.StevieAwards.com/sales.

About CSA Travel Protection
CSA Travel Protection, a Europ Assistance company, is dedicated to providing travel insurance and emergency assistance services to protect travelers’ valuable travel investments and provide the peace of mind one deserves while traveling. For 20 years CSA has developed a reputation for standing behind its customers and by offering products and services to meet their needs. Through superior customer service, extensive experience and industry-leading innovation, CSA is with its clients every step of the way, whenever and wherever they are needed. Learn more at www.csatravelprotection.com.

About The Stevie Awards
The Stevie Awards are conferred in six programs: The American Business Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, and the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards. A seventh program, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, will debut in April 2016.  Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at http://www.StevieAwards.com, and follow the Stevie Awards on Twitter @TheStevieAwards.

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.

Popular Spring Break Destinations That Might Surprise You

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Sunset in Treasure Beach, JamaicaA record breaking 1.2 billion tourists travelled abroad in 2015, and 191 million of them arrived in the Americas. That’s about a 5% increase year over year according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in its latest World Tourism Barometer.

With more travelers come longer airport lines and more tourists, making it increasingly difficult to find peace and solitude while on vacation. It can be even more challenging to find a quiet vacation destination when traveling during a holiday.

Spring Break for students typically occurs the first two weeks in March and some traditional destinations include Cancun, South Beach and Lake Havasu. For travelers looking to vacation during the popular Spring Break timeframe but want to avoid crowds, there are alternatives. Here are a few suggestions.

Destin – In lieu of Panama City, South Beach or Ft. Lauderdale, try Destin located in Florida’s Panhandle. With its white sand beaches and emerald green waters, Destin offers plenty of activities (golf, water parks, fishing, shopping and dining) to keep vacationers entertained, but in a more remote setting.

Tulum – Looking for a Mexican destination that’s not Cancun or Cabo San Lucas? Try Tulum situated an hour drive south of Playa del Carmen and about a half an hour south of Akumal. White sandy beaches, jungles and Mayan ruins are a few of the attractions this quiet, serene setting offers vacationers.

Treasure Beach – Located on Jamaica’s South Coast, Treasure Beach is six miles long and provides a mix of private coves, coral or black sand beaches and rocky shores. In addition to beach activities (swimming, snorkeling and relaxing), it’s also common to see local fisherman displaying their catch of the day.

Tips Spring Breakers Should Know About Travel Insurance

While some travelers seek alternative destinations, there are still many who will gravitate toward popular Spring Break hot spots. This includes college students looking to experience Spring Break at its fullest.

“For many college-age students, this may be the first time they’ve traveled to a destination without their parents,” said Bob Chambers, travel insurance expert and vice president of operations at CSA Travel Protection. “It’s natural for parents to worry about their kids, and having travel insurance can give valuable peace of mind to both the students and their parents.”

So why buy travel insurance? Chambers added that, “Unfortunate things can happen to anyone while traveling, and even people in their 20s could become injured or ill, lose their passport or luggage, or face travel disruptions from weather events, flight delays, or other unforeseeable events.”

When asked about what travel insurance does and doesn’t cover, Chambers advised, “Policies vary in the coverages and benefits they offer, and the specific events or ‘perils’ covered. Typically, policies cover sickness and injury, weather disruptions, aircraft mechanical problems and terrorist events, to name a few. Also, most policies exclude losses due to drug or alcohol use, and many plans could exclude claims due to high-risk activities such as parasailing, bungee jumping, etc. It’s important to read the policy carefully and understand what is and is not covered.”

“In addition to the valuable insurance coverages, all travel insurance policies include 24-hour assistance services. These services can be invaluable for any traveler, but especially for students traveling on their own. Assistance services can provide help with situations such as making alternate travel arrangements, finding a local doctor, or replacing a lost passport,” Chambers concluded.

Whether college students, families or individuals are traveling during the popular Spring Break time frame, they should not only consider travel insurance from a reputable source, such as CSA Travel Protection, but also prepare for a busier travel experience. The UNWTO predicts worldwide travel will continue to grow in 2016 with Asia, the Pacific and the Americas leading the way. Planning for these scenarios before departing can reduce stress and make for a much more relaxing vacation.

With winter a fleeting memory and the mercury beginning to rise above freezing, March is a beautiful time of year to enjoy the outdoors. For vacationers who are lucky enough to have weeks or a few precious days off, Spring Break is the perfect time to pause, celebrate and refresh.

 

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.

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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