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How many of you have had this experience? You are going through the security checkpoint at the airport, and the person in front of you seems totally surprised that they have to take off their shoes. After a discussion with the TSA agent, they are then amazed that they can’t bring their giant bottle of [insert strange-looking liquid here]. That leads to more discussion. Next comes the metal detector beep and the realization that their huge, solid-metal commemorative key chain needs to come out of their pocket.
And the whole time you’re thinking, “Has this person been living under a rock for the past 20 years?”
The truth is, many people don’t pay attention to travel protocols. Safety routines may be second nature to those of us in the industry, but to the average traveler, these rules and regulations are simply a dizzying, complicated mess.
And the bad news? There are a lot more procedures on the way.
RELATED: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Changed the World of Travel Insurance
As travel companies take the necessary steps to keep their guests safe, we can expect to see a patchwork of protocols rolling out across the industry. Travel advisors are going to have to learn these new procedures — from temperature monitoring to contactless security screening — and then explain them to their potentially clueless clients.
Last week, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line announced they are collaborating to create extensive safety plans for the cruise industry and beyond. These competitors realize that we all need to join together — and not just talk about working together, but actually do it — if we hope to get the travel industry back on its feet. And, clearly, advisors are going to play a key role, including making travelers aware of how the changes will keep them safe.
Surveys have shown that complaints about online travel agencies are at an all-time high. This dissatisfaction is at least partly the result of travelers feeling abandoned and not having someone on their side. Advisors are going to have to fill this role more than ever as we all head into uncharted territory.