Two trends are driving the travel industry right now, and they represent a great opportunity for travel insurance brands. One, more people are travelling more often, and two, more travellers are considering trip protection.
NB This is a viewpoint by Beth Godlin, president, Aon Affinity Travel Practice.
When it comes to the number of travellers, Europe is the world’s largest region for international tourism demand. According to the latest UNWTO Barometer, arrivals to Europe (including all sub-regions) have grown by 4.2%year-to-date in 2016 – which marks the sixth consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by 4% or more every year since the post-crisis year of 2010.
But at the same time as travel is increasing, so are concerns among travellers, and that shows in the numbers for trip insurance. Natural disasters, job uncertainty, terrorism concerns and revised roles of care all play a role in what travellers consider when making their plans and as they weigh the chances of some issue impacting their ability to travel and travel smoothly.
Nearly half of Americans (48%) surveyed by the UStiA in 2015 said they are more concerned than in the past about travelling, in light of recent world developments. Of those, nearly half (45%) said they were more likely to purchase travel insurance.
In fact, the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (UStiA) Travel Insurance Market Survey found, more than 152 million Americans were covered by travel protection in 2014, whether through travel-related protection and emergency service products, credit cards or affinity groups. This represented $2.2billion spent on all types of travel protection in 2014, 17.5% more than in 2012.
What does all this mean for travel companies?
It offers them an opportunity to leverage ancillary products and services, such as travel protection, to enhance their brand. This way, brands can provide travelers with one-stop shopping to help protect their trips with convenient, customized solutions that are also easy to select and affordable.
Here are five tips for travel companies to make the most out of this opportunity:
- Customize a travel protection program around your customer demographics
Every travel brand has a unique value proposition – all your ancillary benefits and services should align, support and enhance them. This ensures you meet your customers’ expectations with your offerings.
- Diversify your offerings, so you can cast a broad net to capture your customers’ varied interests
Your company’s ancillary products are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Travel protection programs can include multiple plans that are customized to your different travel offerings such as: international travel vs. domestic; a three-day Bahamas cruise vs. an around-the-world adventure; a guided bus sightseeing tour vs. an immersive voluntourism offering; or travel designed for millennials vs. baby boomers.
Markets change, customers' needs change, and your business has to respond to all of the changes pertinent to your company’s core travel offerings. Select partners who can help you innovate and lead your travel brand as it evolves.
- Offer superior diversity in products
Select ancillary product partners who are leaders in their niche, yet who can provide multiple offerings, products and choice.
- Partner with providers who have proven that they treat customers exactly how your brand does
Customer experience can go beyond the travel experience. If your travel brand is heavily invested in providing a particular customer experience, you cannot afford a partner who may tarnish your brand’s reputation.
The bottom line: travel brands must put customers first. Understanding what travellers really want and need can help companies craft the best travel protection offerings that deliver a consistent experience, so they will support their offering and positioning, not detract from it.
NB This is a viewpoint by Beth Godlin, President, Aon Affinity Travel Practice. It appears here as part of Tnooz's sponsored content initiative.