covid-19 should change the way we book travel forever
5 things you should think about when you book travel after COVID-19
Photo by Del Sol Photography
The COVID-19 pandemic brought about unprecedented and massive changes to global travel. One thing is for sure, the next time we plan a trip, we are going to think differently about the way we book. While we don’t really know how travel and flights prices are going to be in the future, inventory is at record levels, and there are lots of hotels would love to have your business. Competition is very high! The most beautiful message is that we think the time to start thinking about travel is now.
Here are our top tips for how to book your travel post pandemic.
#1 – Travel Insurance
While travel insurance is ALWAYS recommended, now it is more important than ever to really read and understand the coverage you are purchasing. You may not be aware that most policies specifically exclude coverage for pandemics, rendering them ineffective in this COVID 19 situation. Speak to your professional travel advisor about “CFAR” coverage – CANCEL FOR ANY REASON – and take the time to understand your coverage options.
#2 Use a Professional Travel Advisor for all of your trip planning
Did you know that OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) in many cases use “ghost rooms” to confirm a reservation? What does this mean and why should you care?! Well, it means that unlike the suppliers used by most professional travel advisors, an OTA does not have contracted rooms booked with the resort. A full review of your OTAs terms and conditions will very likely contain small print that states you can be bumped at any time up until arrival at the airport in a resort that they feel is of equivalent quality. Resort changes happen more than people realize as it is well hidden in their long list of terms and conditions. You may very well end up in a different location, as well as in a totally different resort brand! Wedding groups should take extra care. If someone is trying to save a buck over the group rates for a destination wedding and they get bumped to another resort, they’ll incur fees to get on property as well as have to pay for transportation.
# 3 Who you gonna call?
Companies like Costco that sell travel use a call center of hourly employees to make travel arrangements for clients. These call takers are neither professionally trained and certified in destinations nor are they generally conversant and knowledgeable about specific destinations/resorts/cruise lines. Compare this to a true travel advisor, who will take the time to understand your priorities and ask questions to determine what destination/travel option/resort best fits your needs, and many of whom have invested in firsthand destination knowledge.
#4 Watch out for Gotchas
The fees to cancel and change airline tickets and even resort bookings have become quite complex. There are many “gotchas” that the average consumer is not aware of. Now more than ever, it is really important to do your research or better yet, work with a professional who does this on a daily basis and can guide you in the right direction. And when you purchase flights through an OTA, don’t expect to have someone available to advocate on your behalf when you need it the most.
#5 Destination Weddings and Events are Different
Do yourself a favor: for important events, work with a professional. You only have one chance to do it right, there are no do-overs with a destination wedding, retirement or special b-day celebration! Hiring a professional does not even cost you money, so why not? You don’t have to deal with each and every guest’s special requests, changes, transfers, etc. If something goes wrong, do you want each guest calling you to complain? Let us handle that, it’s what we do best as we have knowledge and expertise. We will assist you in taking the first step from finding the perfect location & venue, until you return home. Make it a stress-free event!!