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A recent survey by consumer spending website ValuePenguin paints a broad picture of how coronavirus has impacted travelers, from paid time off (PTO) policies to average losses due to cancellation fees.
The report finds that about 48% of Americans have canceled their summer plans due to coronavirus concerns and about 46% lost money on nonrefundable deposits and cancellation fees — averaging $854.30 per person. The majority of those losses came from airline tickets (59%) and hotel rooms (44%). Also contributing to the losses are deposits for tours and cruises.
More than a third of Americans do not think they will use all their PTO this year, and many said their employers have already changed those policies. Some employers are allowing rollover of unused PTO into 2021 while other companies are taking away vacation hours.
These losses have created uncertainty in the travel industry, with 43% of those surveyed saying they are feeling more negative. Cruise lines may be especially impacted by this, with 55% of those surveyed saying they are less likely to take a cruise once the pandemic is over.
Brett Holzhauer, travel and credit card rewards expert at ValuePenguin, says this change in mood is related to a bigger shift in how the travel industry is viewed.
“We’ve all been in the position where airlines haven’t been the best to work with, whether that be their customer service or their policies about cancellations,” he said. “And now with this large pandemic going on, people are revolting, saying we aren’t going to tolerate these ridiculous policies that some of the airlines have.”
We’ve all been in the position where airlines haven’t been the best to work with, whether that be their customer service or their policies about cancellations. And now with this large pandemic going on, people are revolting, saying we aren’t going to tolerate these ridiculous policies that some of the airlines have.
This is where travel advisors come in. Thanks to their cultivated relationships with airlines, tour operators and other partners, advisors are a valuable asset for clients dealing with these losses and navigating tough travel choices.
Many agents have also seen success getting money back for clients during this time for canceled trips, flights and tours, while consumers who booked with an OTA have spent hours on hold with questions left unanswered.
Read more from TravelAge West about the COVID-19 outbreak.