Judging by everything we’re hearing on CNN and gleaning from the
daily newspapers, American troops may go to war in Iraq any
I don’t know about your agency, but I’m seeing some impact among
my clients in Austin, Texas: some cancellations, some delayed
bookings, and lots of “What do you think we should do, Nancy?”
On one hand, I want my clients to keep traveling that’s how we
make our living. On the other hand, travel agents don’t want their
customers to be put in harm’s way.
Here’s some advice that we’ve gathered from the Association of
Retail Travel Agents:
" Stay completely updated on the official announcements. Track
U.S. State Department warnings and advisories daily. To protect
yourself against any future claims, you should definitely give your
clients a printed copy of the State Department advisory, if they
choose to travel to one of these nations.
" Find out now before any war starts what your preferred travel
insurance company says about covering war and terrorism incidents.
Many insurers updated their exclusions for war and terrorism after
9/11. Pull out your sales materials, or call your sales rep, and
find out what your travel insurance does and does not cover. You
might go the extra mile and print these exclusions in a separate
stuffer or flyer, which you can give to clients who purchase travel
insurance from you.
" Stay updated, too, on what major airlines and other suppliers
are saying about “cancel for any reason” waivers. In the past two
weeks, several airlines and cruise lines have eased their
cancellation policies in an effort to ease passengers’ concerns
about war and terrorism threats.
" Make sure your professional liability/errors and omissions
insurance is paid up. Now is not the time to go without it.
" Plan ahead right now and decide what types of travel you will
promote in the event of war. Many travelers who put off vacations
after 9/11 may still want to hit the road even if we go to war with
Iraq. Families will still consider going someplace for summer
vacations. And business travel (the essential trips, that is) will
go on. Figure out this week if you want to focus on “homeland”
cruises, U.S. FIT fly/drive trips, weekend getaways, or other types
of travel that may appeal to clients concerned about flying