USI On the Move: Arielle’s Airport Survival Tips

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This is the age of wanderlust- wherein travel is easier, more convenient and more affordable than it ever has been. Countless flights are available throughout each day from a variety of airlines. Trains can carry passengers on their daily commute, from city to city, or across the nation.  We have the ability to access updates to our travel plans with a swipe of the thumb through our Smartphones. Travel has certainly become easier in many respects, yet always retains an air of excitement for those of us who enjoy the chaos and thrill of getting to and then enjoying a new destination.

Having grown up in a military family, I have been traveling since I was very young. I think I know the inside of the Atlanta, St. Louis and SEATAC airports better than most of the houses I lived in along the way.  I remember the first time I flew alone as a minor, I was already so jaded with the whole process having traveled with my parents that the stewardesses (obviously accustomed to children who were terrified of their first solo trip) were not sure what to do with my calm demeanor.  

Now, as an adult, I am preparing for yet another journey that will take me from the U.S. to the U.K. Though my perspective on traveling has changed significantly since childhood- the planes feel much smaller and I can now somehow muster the patience to sit still in my seat for longer than twenty minutes without going stir crazy-  how I prepare for the trip from the door to my gate has not. Here are my top five personal tips and tricks from one traveler to another:

1) Seeing triple. Whenever I travel, I always have three hard copies of my important travel documents-- namely my travel tickets with confirmation numbers and scanned copies of my passport and/or other I.D. I keep the copies with me in three different locations so I can always have easy access. This may seem a bit archaic in the age of technology (especially for a Millennial!) but I am always conscious of those times when I accidentally forget to charge my phone or do not have Internet access to get into my travel itinerary.  Having these documents readily available also speeds up the process for getting checked in, going through security, etc.

So where do I keep these copies? I keep one in my carry on bag, one in my checked bag or second piece of luggage I am carrying, and one in my front hip pocket. Always. Therefore, I ALWAYS know exactly where to go if there is an issue with getting onto the plane or finding my departure information.

2) “On time is only the right time if it’s an hour before time.” Coming from a military family, I grew up with the belief that ‘on time’ meant 30 minutes before schedule. The well-known guidance for traveling in an airport is to arrive two hours before your scheduled domestic flight or three hours before your international flight. These precious hours that could have been dedicated to more sleep before your big travel day or to last minute packing panics are allotted for checking in at the airport, checking luggage, getting through the security check point and making sure you arrive at your gate prior to boarding.  Personally, I adhere to a strict 3 hour rule when I fly out of a major airport.  It’s always a gamble--you could get there early and still only just make it to your flight on time due to a high volume of travelers. Or, you could end up sitting and waiting for a while.  However, I think it is best to stick to “better safe than sorry” in most travel situations.  So, set your alarm a little earlier and check over your bags the night before to avoid any extraneous delays. 

3) “Carry here, carry there, carry everywhere!” As a college kid (and even now) I was once notorious for pushing the boundaries of the carry on bag size limit. I would fill my father’s military rucksack to the brim in order to avoid the checked luggage fees. Unfortunately, there was another price to pay each time--having to lug around an enormous bag everywhere I went.  It is important to be realistic when packing your carry on.  Check with your airline’s luggage size and weight limitations, but also consider your own physical limitations. What kid of bag do you have?  I, personally, prefer my backpack so I can keep my hands free but there are numerous options for small rolling carry-on bags that may be easier to tote around as you make your way through the busy airport. Be sure that your bag is not going to hinder your ability to move quickly to where you want to go, yet can hold all the essentials you will need for your flight.

4) “What essentials?”  For me, I know that I need to have my travel documents (see #1 on this list), a pair of head phones, phone, wallet, a notepad/pen, gum (lots of gum), a favorite comfort snack, a bottle of water, a jacket and a crossword puzzle. Consider how long your trip will be and pack only what you need to make yourself comfortable.  It also pays to have something to keep yourself busy with, like my crossword puzzles.  Bring a book or select a podcast or two to listen to while in flight. Another pro tip for your carry-on packing list: pack an empty water bottle and fill it up at the drinking fountain once you get through security to avoid paying for a new bottle once you get through security.

4) “Gate has been changed.” When I was a kid and already traveling on my own, one ‘silly’ rule my mother taught me about navigating through an airport or train station has proven to be one of the most valuable pieces of travel advice I can offer.  Always, and I do mean always, go straight to your gate once you are out of security. Yes, you may need that cup of coffee or your mouth may be watering as you pass all the food vendors (trust me, I get it) but you can always double back provided you followed rule #2 and arrived ‘on time.’ This is key because gates can change. Frequently. Plus, if you are unfamiliar with the layout of the airport or station, your gate may take more time to get to than you think.  While I do stop to check those convenient departures/arrivals boards the moment I get past security, I always go to the gate to double check. This also encourages me to stay close by to the correct part of the airport instead of wandering off thinking I have more time than I actually do or missing a last minute gate change. Once you have confirmed that your gate is correct and you know how to get to it, which can be a challenge at some of the larger airports, go get that over-priced coffee and peruse away for souvenirs in the gift shops--but keep checking back to make sure you don’t end up sprinting across the terminal to another gate last-minute.  Believe me when I say, there is nothing worse than boarding a flight out of breath, sweaty and probably covered in that coffee you wanted so badly.

5) “Breathe in, breathe out--You got this.” If there is one thing I know for sure, it is that even the most well-laid plans can turn into me sprinting down the airport terminal to slide through a closing gate door. There is no greater torture for me, who spends hours perfectly laying out my travel plans, than to suffer through a few travel hang ups. They happen to the best of us. Maybe your ride to the airport was late or your gate was changed three times before you could go grab a coffee. But the important thing is to stay calm. Be prepared for all of the worst-case scenarios and know what to do should one of them occur. Being prepared is the single most important piece of advice I can offer, as one traveler to another. And a key part of this preparedness is to secure your travel investment with travel insurance. Travel insurance has helped me get back home for the holidays when my flights were cancelled just before break in college, replace luggage lost to the abyss and slide sideways into a meeting after a disrupted flight hindered my travels. It is worth the small price to protect your big investment.

And after you have finally made it through the toughest part--the planning, prepping, adapting and overcoming the last minute changes--don’t forget to breathe!

Happy travels!

 

Travelblogbio picUSI On the Move- Meet the Team: Arielle Eaton is a Marketing Coordinator for USI Affinity. Born into a military family, Arielle has been an avid traveler “since day one.” She is a 2014 graduate of Norwich University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications. In her spare time, Arielle enjoys exploring new places through trail running, baking and writing.


Travel Insurance Marketing Checklist

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You see the value of offering travel protection plans to your clients: not only do they increase your value to customers as a one-stop travel service provider, but selling these plans also adds to your revenue as a business. The question is, how can you maximize the opportunity for your business in selling travel protection plans? Good marketing strategies are key to ensuring a healthy travel insurance participation rate – or take up rate – among your clientele.

  • Advertise the travel protection plan when promoting your trips. If customers know about the plan before booking, they’re more likely to sign up.
  • Distribute a flyer promoting the travel protection plan immediately after a customer books a trip. This can be sent by regular mail or email, and may be sent on its own or as an accompaniment to other materials you send post-booking. Mention that there are early purchase advantages by purchasing within x# days from the deposit date.
  • In your booking confirmation email or letter, mention the availability of a travel protection plan and why you recommend it. You are the trusted travel supplier, so your customers will be looking to you for advice and suggestions.
  • Share on your social media accounts that you offer travel protection plans, and explain what they are and why they’re important.
  • Don’t assume that your customers understand travel protection plans or all the benefits that are included. Take a moment to point out the featured benefits in the policy: trip cancellation and interruption, baggage loss, emergency medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, emergency and standard travel assistance (an oft-undervalued benefit that can be very useful in a variety of situations!).
  • Make it easy and convenient for your customer. Explain in simple terms how they can immediately and quickly enroll in a travel protection plan.
  • Explain the benefits of enrolling early. Most travel protection plans have Early Purchase Advantages, or benefits available only for those who enroll within a specified timeframe of booking their trip (often within 14, 21 or 30 days, depending on the plan). These benefits can be extremely valuable add-ons to the customer, and also provide that extra push to secure the travel protection plan enrollment right away when they’re most likely to act.
  • Send a Travel Insurance Response Form asking the traveler if they purchased the insurance, and if so, through what company. If they have not purchased insurance at all have them sign a waiver indicating that they declined to purchase the insurance
  • Prior to a trip departure send travelers a reminder to purchase travel insurance. Travel Insurance Services can provide you with departure reports that show which travelers have purchased the insurance through our plan.
  • If you send pre-departure materials, remind the travelers to have their emergency assistance contact information with them, regardless of who they purchased the insurance through. This is a valuable service and also serves as a reminder to have this important information with them, or to purchase insurance if they have not already.
  • Need help with any of the above? Ask your travel protection plan provider and they should be able to answer any questions, assist with promotional ideas and copy, and even develop marketing materials.

 

Get Started Today

Interested in adding to your bottom line by selling our travel insurance products? Please contact us to inquire or discuss your options!

If you’re a tour operator or other travel company looking to sell travel insurance to your clients, please contact:

Sharon L. Broo

Vice President, Travel Insurance Sales

Sharon.broo@usi.com

(770) 905-4065

 

For general questions about our products, contact Travel Insurance Services Customer Service:

M – F, 9am – 7pm EST

(800) 937-1387

info@travelinsure.com


Increasing Your Revenue Through Travel Insurance Sales

As a small business owner or manager, you understand tight margins and the need to make good, efficient business decisions in order to maximize profit so you can continue in your mission of serving clients. For many tour operators and other travel industry servicers, offering travel protection plans to customers is often an underrated method of building revenue.

How does it work?

When you contract with Travel Insurance Services to offer one of our travel plans to your clients, we set an agreed-upon competitive commission rate per sale. Each time one of your clients purchases our travel plan from you, more money goes in the pocket of your business. It’s one of the easiest ways to boost your revenue as it doesn’t require much legwork on your end. Once you sign a contract with Travel Insurance Services, we provide the information you need to share with your clients. You may opt to create a custom marketing piece or flyer promoting the plan to your clients, but we can also assist in this endeavor.

No matter who you partner with to offer travel protection plans, your travel insurance provider should help you develop materials and strategies to increase the take rate among your clients.

The impact of our partnership is that your business can increase revenue from travel insurance by 30% or more. With an average trip cost of $2,500 and insurance take up rate of 20%, a more passive account would earn $40K from travel insurance sales. With the help of our marketing support and strategies, our average client take up rate is much higher at 50%, which generates a total of $100K to their bottom line.

Travel Insurance Services Case Study

We worked with a small cruise line and implemented a series of training and educational sessions. We also provided marketing material and relevant information on travel insurance to share with their clients. These initiatives resulted in a 50% take-up rate for travel insurance sales.

Revenue from Travel Insurance Sales: By the Numbers

Typical Travel Insurance Revenue for PASSIVE Tour Operator:

 

Total Customers:

1,428

Average Trip Cost:

$2,500

Average Travel Insurance Total Premium per Insured Sale:

$212.50

Annual # of Travel Insurance Sales (7% participation):

100

Annual Commission Revenue from Travel Insurance:

$5,312.50

   

Typical Travel Insurance Revenue from EDUCATED & TRAINED Tour Operator Team:

 

Total Customers:

1,428

Average Trip Cost:

$2,500

Average Travel Insurance Total Premium per Insured Sale:

$212.50

Annual # of Travel Insurance Sales (50% participation):

714

Annual Commission Revenue from Travel Insurance:

$37,931.25

   

Bottom Line Additional Revenue to Tour Operator:

$32,618.75

Get Started Today

Interested in adding to your bottom line by selling our travel insurance products? Please contact us to inquire or discuss your options!

If you’re a tour operator or other travel company looking to sell travel insurance to your clients, please contact:

Sharon L. Broo

Vice President, Travel Insurance Sales

Sharon.broo@usi.com

(770) 905-4065

 

For general questions about our products, contact Travel Insurance Services Customer Service:

M – F, 9am – 7pm EST

(800) 937-1387

info@travelinsure.com


Concerns about Terrorism in the Travel Industry

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The year of 2018 brings with it a remarkably positive outlook for the travel industry, with expected growth continuing throughout the year. According to tripinfo.com:

“This growth in travel isn’t about localized economies and domestic road trips via the family car anymore (although RV sales are expected to hit their highest level in four decades in 2017 according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association). With increasing globalization, international digital and social connectivity, and easily accessible methods of travel, it is easier than ever before for travelers to jet set to somewhere new… While we worry about the rise of nationalism in certain parts of the world, we expect local and national governments and other organizing bodies to maintain and strengthen accommodative policies that support tourism growth in a sustainable way in the long run. Policy uncertainty and geopolitical tensions can’t be ignored, but outside of any major shock, we expect travel to benefit from a solid year of macroeconomic growth in 2018.”

Lingering within this overall positive outlook are certain areas of concern within the industry, notably geopolitical stability, or lack thereof. In particular, travelers still express a level of apprehension for the potential of terrorism in their destination, be it international or domestic travel. With almost regular highly visible incidents of terrorism occurring lately, even in what were once thought of as “safe” or “stable” destinations, it’s no surprise that travelers may have concerns about it affecting their travels. How can you allay their concerns without actually having any control over the situation?

Travel insurance plans that cover terrorism as a named peril can go a long way toward easing the minds of travelers, and at the same time reflect positively on you as you offer a solution. Travel Insurance Services offers numerous trip cancellation plans that include terrorism coverage as a named peril.

Specifically, in both our Travel Insurance Select and Trip Care Complete plans, the Trip Cancellation benefit covers a terrorist incident that occurs within 30 days of your scheduled departure date in a city listed on the itinerary of your trip. This same city must not have experienced a terrorist incident within the 90 days prior to the terrorist incident that is causing your trip cancellation. Benefits are not provided if the Travel Supplier offers a substitute itinerary. This benefit also applies if a terrorist incident occurs during your trip in a city on your itinerary; that event would be covered under the Trip Interruption benefit.

The terrorism coverage is available on our Travel Insurance Select Plan, Trip Care Complete plan, and custom tour operator plans. Do keep in mind that not all travel insurance plans include coverage for terrorism, so be sure to understand the product thoroughly before offering it to your clients.

If you have any questions about the products offered by Travel Insurance Services, or would like to know how we can better help you and your clients, please contact us!

M – F, 9am – 7pm EST

(800) 937-1387

info@travelinsure.com

Source: https://www.tripinfo.com/ITM/Articles2017/ITM8156.html


Women’s History Month: Celebrating the Past and the Future

This March, people across the nation will celebrate Women’s History Month- a month long holiday celebrating the achievements and contributions of women throughout history across nearly every industry. One does not have to look far to see the influence women have had in medicine, politics, technology, literature and nearly every industry or aspect of society. This month is a time of reflection as much as it is an opportunity to look beyond the glass ceiling and into the future for women. To further continue the social, economic, and professional growth of women, there are countless organizations, events and initiatives. Take a look at our short list for inspiration:

1. Forbes Women’s Summit –June 18th-19th in New York, New York: NYC

“Forbes Women’s Summit celebrates the doers and the doing; a source of inspiration and support that connects and empowers women around the world, helping them to realize their potential and reach new heights.” The Big Apple is once again serving as the backdrop for the annual Forbes Women’s Summit. This empowering event, coming up in 2018 on June 18-19th, opens up the dialogue among its attendees by offering keynote conversations, interviews, and panel discussions that focus on pressing topics. “[T]he Forbes Women’s Summit brings together the voices and insights of a diverse range of female luminaries from the worlds of business, entertainment and politics.” This summit will pull together 300 women, 45% at the ‘C-level’, from across over 20 industries with 27 U.S. states represented.

For more information about the Women’s Summit, click here.

2. Stand Up Lift Up 29th Annual Conference for Women in Business – April 24th in San Francisco, California: Sanfran

The Professional Business Women of California (PBWC)’s Stand Up Lift Up 29th Annual Conference for Women in Business will take place on April 24th in San Francisco, offering attendees opportunities to hear keynote speakers, participate in “cutting-edge” seminars, be involved with panels of experts, and take advantage of networking opportunities. This PBWC conference is an “annual opportunity to reflect, recharge, refocus and renew your commitment to achieving your ambitions and supporting others to achieve theirs.”

For more information about the Stand Up Lift Up 29th Annual Conference for Women in Business, click here.

  3. 2018 Professional Women in Advocacy Conference – October 9th-10th in Washington D.C.:DC

Professional Women in Advocacy (PWIA) focuses on the belief “that when women are involved at the highest levels of policy making, everyone benefits.” PWIA focuses primarily on women who work on various advocacy roles. The organization’s 2018 Professional Women in Advocacy Conference provides “professional development and leadership training to women in all areas of advocacy…” The conference attendees will have the opportunity to listen to a variety of women from across many different industries, including lobbyists, elected officials, and public policy specialists. Topics for these speaking engagements during the conference include a large variety of “how-to topics relevant to legislative and regulatory advocacy.”

To learn more about the 2018 Professional Women in Advocacy Conference, click here.

4. National Women's Business Conference 2018 – September 23rd-25th in Spokane, Washington: Spokane

“Work Well, Live Well” is the theme driving this year’s National Women's Business Conference 2018, taking place on September 23-25th. National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) focuses on representing and “propelling” over the 10.1 million women business owners across the nation and working in all industries. Keynote speakers at this event will include Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic! and Shabnam Mogharab, SoulPancake’s CEO/Executive Producer.

To learn more about the National Women's Business Conference 2018 and/or to register, check out the event’s webpage here.

  5. Twin Cities Women’s Leadership Summit 2018 – June 6th in Minneapolis, Minnesota:Minn

“Women Get Big Things Done.” Put on by the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), the Twin Cities Women’s Leadership Summit 2018 will take place on June 6th in Minneapolis. Attendees, consisting primarily of women in or looking to moving into leadership positions, will learn about such concepts as “Connectional Intelligence” - a term referring to a “modern, feminine leadership skill” helping professional in their careers by drawing upon valuable relationship building skills and networking.

To learn more about the Twin Cities Women’s Leadership Summit 2018 and other upcoming NAFE events, click here.

There are many conferences across the nation geared specifically toward the education, development and empowerment of professional women. Wherever you travel to this year, whether for work, professional development or vacation, don’t forget to pack your travel insurance! Find the right policy to fit your needs here.