Updated Information Could Calm Travel Fears, USTOA Reports

A recent study reveals that communication and information may play a part in the cancellation of travel plans By: Emma Weissmann
Agents play a major role in calming anxious clients, according to a new study. // © 2016 Todor Tsvetkov
Agents play a major role in calming anxious clients, according to a new study. // © 2016 Todor Tsvetkov

The Details

United States Tour Operators Association

A recent study by the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) indicates that up-to-date information and steady communication may prevent travelers from canceling their travel plans following world events such as disease outbreaks, terror attacks or natural disasters.

Why It Matters:
“Receptive cancelers” — travelers who are less likely to cancel plans after receiving reassuring information from a trusted party — identified travel agents as an important source. Although transparency and fluid communication between an agent and his or her client has always served as the basis for a strong relationship, it is even more critical when addressing anxieties brought upon by global crises. Advisors would do well to remain current on international happenings and provide swift communication and guidance for clients who may be considering traveling to affected regions.

Fast Facts:
- Of the respondents who self-identified as “cancelers,” about 33 percent revealed that they would continue traveling if they received clear information from a reliable source.

- In addition to travel advisors, other credible sources for information include the U.S. State Department, tour operators, news media, travel review sites and social media (specifically, Facebook)

- The study was a part of USTOA’s Innovation Lab, in cooperation with the Masters of Business Administration students at Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.

What They Are Saying:
“While roughly two-thirds are ‘committed travelers’ who intend to travel despite a disruptive event, it’s encouraging that one-third of those who are risk averse might also decide to continue to travel if given information from what they consider a reliable source,” USTOA president and CEO Terry Dale said. “It’s interesting, although not surprising, that travel agents, with whom our members work so closely, ranked high among travelers and it reconfirms the value travel agent partners bring to our members.”