The busy summer season is just getting hotter, and TravelPulse took a look at what travelers are most worried about as we head into the travel season, asking trusted travel advisors what their customers worry about the most.
A recent study by InteleTravel, the world’s largest and oldest organization, found that there are three things that most worry travelers: the high cost of travel (54 percent) and flight delays or cancellations (48 percent) and safety and security, which attracts travelers to choose to receive assistance from a travel advisor (60 percent).
Travel advisors agree that these factors – rising prices, travel restrictions and safety and security while traveling – are the most important issues for travelers right now. We asked a few to share what their customers worry about the most and how they can help relieve them.
Although gas prices have stabilized somewhat, airfares are still sky-high, and travelers, especially those looking to book domestic or international flights at the last minute this summer, are facing worrisome stickers.
“Last summer my customers were still interested in staying close to home, but this year I’m seeing a big increase in customers who want to go to Europe or Hawaii,” said Heather Grodin, CTA – ACC affiliate with MEI – Travel. “Everybody’s trying to make a bucket list and it’s getting a little shaky because this place wasn’t really on their radar for the last couple of years.”
Although many consultants say that the prices are lower than before, it makes a difference for some travelers, who may need to choose a destination or different ways of traveling to save money if their budget does not match their original plans. .
“In order to deal with the concerns that customers have with the increase in prices, I had to have the ability to deal with them in the middle. At the end of the day, the reality is that they need to increase the travel expenses from last year,” said Lina Sutton, owner of Go Wander Travel Co. “But it’s also possible for us as travel advisors to think outside the box to still provide an amazing experience that meets their expectations and still respects their money.”
“One way I have done this is to offer clients the opportunity to consider going to a cheaper destination (think Portugal instead of the Amalfi Coast in Italy) or to advise them to take advantage of the travel season (which has started to decrease due to demand) as days. those are flexible,” Sutton continued. “Flight to Europe is very expensive, so some customers are choosing to fly domestically this summer and save their trip to Europe instead this fall.”
However, Sutton says at least luxury travelers are willing to spend more on cruises and special bucket trips than they have in the past, despite rising fares and higher costs.
“It’s interesting that despite the rise in prices and the increase in the cost of travel, I’m finding that many customers still don’t want to cut back on or ignore their travel,” Sutton said. “My clients are increasingly into luxury homes, long-haul trips, and more frequent flights than in previous years. To me, this shows that customers are prioritizing travel in their lives, and this is good news for travel consultants, especially those in the luxury market. “
Janine Cartier, Founder of New View Travel, thinks that the price problems are good at the moment, but they are not sustainable in the long run: “I don’t think it is sustainable for daily travelers and it will reduce the number of trips they can take every year. Families are suffering a lot and what a shame preventing our young people from seeing the world and teaching and encouraging them. For a family of four to go to Italy this summer, depending on the time the air was booked and the quality of the season, the cost is about $ 6,000, which is an increase of 50 percent from 2019 for the flight alone.”
Flight delays, cancellations and strikes in Europe are among the biggest concerns when it comes to travel issues this summer, and many travel advisors have been receiving inquiries from their customers on the matter.
Debra H. Brown, President and Founder of SmartBird World Travel, said: , SmartBird World Travel. “Those who are returning to the resort and other popular destinations in the summer of 2023 are facing a shock in the prices of domestic and international flights. This is a hindrance for some and unpleasant news for others. As it was, last week I booked flights for myself and my daughter from Atlanta to Orlando to join us on a cruise from Port Canaveral – the price was four times higher than a few years ago. Destinations are usually based on ‘how many flights?’ and ‘are non-stop flights available?’
“The recent news of the ban on people in the USA and the beating of workers in Europe is worrying,” Mr Brown continued. “Customers are not ready to put up with multiple connections or layoffs at a time when airline capacity and limited travel require constant connectivity.”
Claire Schoeder, CTC Elevations Travel, a Signature agency in Atlanta GA, echoes many of the concerns her clients tell her: “The biggest concern my clients have is flight delays and cancellations… Clients have read about the shortage of pilots and pilots, The FAA wants fewer flights from NYC airport, frequent strikes at London-Heathrow and many other unknowns that could disrupt travel plans.”
“Some of the concerns I’ve heard come from river cruise customers who are worried about high water levels in Europe’s major rivers—a persistent problem in recent years,” Schoeder continued. “Customers are worried about the availability of a rental car and its cost… And finally, customers are worried about getting their passports on time.”
Travel advisors agree that there are a few things travelers can do to ease their fears and reduce the risk of travel complications. If a traveler is concerned about losing their luggage, for example, advisors suggest that they consider packing their luggage instead to eliminate the risk.
“I always tell clients to arrive a day or so before the cruise to allow for flight delays and cancellations. I try to book longer flights if they are changing planes, especially when they are going through airports that always have problems with air traffic control that cause delays,” said Schoeder. “Most of the questions about hotel services that I have this year are related to luxury hotels. I often send an email to the hotel to ask what customers can expect in terms of services that are different from before the pandemic. Many are coming up with changes and I share them with customers.”
Safety & Security
Finally, but the biggest concern for many travelers in this busy season, is safety and security. From travelers concerned about their safety in Mexico to first-time travelers, customers have many questions about this.
“Another big concern is security; there are a number of security issues going on around the world,” said Debra H. Brown. “State Department warnings for Mexico and other places that are on summer vacation; the civil war in Sudan and I think it will spread to Egypt (a client called a few days ago and asked); the ongoing conflict in Ukraine that has worried neighboring countries… Global warming is disrupting the weather patterns causing unpredictable rainfall and temperatures. This is also a problem related to the possibility of canceling more flights.”
Travel advisors recommend buying travel insurance regardless of where the traveler is going and heading this summer. They also recommend reviewing their security concerns to see if they match their destination; there may be other places that the traveler would feel comfortable going to instead of where they think if the risk is greater than the benefit for them.
Tips for Travelers, from the Experts
Finally, travel advisors shared a few words of wisdom from decades of working in the industry for travelers this summer.
“I always remind my clients and myself that patience is very important these days. Travel has recovered faster than the industry expected so airlines, hotels and car companies are still operating. It will take time for them to meet their demands,” said Schoeder. “And I remind customers to check the expiration dates before booking a trip. For my regular customers I try to remind them when their passports are about 6 months old to renew.”
“Also, it should be said that no one should travel without travel insurance,” said Lina Sutton. “This is not even advice for a post-pandemic travel world. Flight delays, cancellations, illness, and injuries have always been obstacles when it comes to travel. It is very important for customers to protect their money from unexpected and difficult events. Finally, I encourage customers to continue to carry their patience. Since the increase for travel will increase, it will also mean busy airports this summer. Be kind, be patient, and give grace.