Providing a Safety Net

If this issue's cover story sounds especially timely given some of the recent manmade and natural disasters in the headlines lately, it's just a coincidence. By: Kenneth Shapiro
Kenneth Shapiro
Kenneth Shapiro

If this issue's cover story, "The Perfect Storm," which takes an in-depth look at travel insurance, sounds especially timely given some of the recent manmade and natural disasters in the headlines lately, it's just a coincidence.

While I would love to take credit for my journalistic instincts and powers of prediction in crafting a story that's a quick response to current events, the truth is that we had been planning on running this feature for quite some time. Also true is the fact that, no matter when this story ran, it would seem timely -- these days, there is no end to the worldwide circumstances that can disrupt travel.

The only certainty is uncertainty, which is exactly the reason why travel insurance has become so crucial. This uncertainty is also one reason why working with an experienced travel agent, as well as established travel companies, has become so important too. When everything goes wrong, your clients are never going to forget that, because they used a capable travel professional, they were able to turn to someone for help. And, really, could there be a better selling point?

I was talking about this recently with Marc Kazlauskas, president of tour operator Insight Vacations (and, by the way, the moderator of our ExecConnect live event that you can read about in the next issue).

Kazlauskas said that, during Egypt's recent revolution, Insight, like several tour operators, made sure that it contacted every one of its customers in Egypt and got them out of the country if they chose to leave.

"I guarantee you," he said, "we made a few customers for life that day. If you were traveling in Egypt without a tour operator during this time, you were definitely wondering how you made the mistake of going it alone."

I'm sure travel agents made a few customers for life in this way as well, because by coming through in a crisis there's an opportunity to show your clients another aspect of the value you provide to them. And, in today's uncertainty, you can be certain that some traveler, somewhere, is going to need help any day now.
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