What’s standing in their way?
Observations on the roadblocks on the path forward
We surveyed customers to test what was standing in their way to book travel.
There were 3 large blockers:
- The 14-day quarantine
- The worry about not getting a refund
- And the fear of being quarantined abroad.
There were others, but these were the top fears of people that were interested in booking travel now.
If the 14-day quarantine were reduced, I feel there would be a 20% to 30% return of demand.
Of course, this will not happen – it is more likely to be replaced with testing on return to Canada as in the Calgary Pilot.
Our survey showed strong support for that.
I believe people will put up with a certain amount of lining up and extra time arriving back to Canada in order to avoid being quarantined at home when not infected.
Vaccines will certainly make a difference, but these will be rolled out likely in Q2 for us or Q3 in any meaningful way.
So, we have to simply survive until then.
If the Government were to lift the travel advisory it would help, but not as much as the WHO declaring the pandemic ended.
So, I see more of the same, with modest steps up in demand if testing on arrival replaces quarantines, and some more as vaccines are rolled out.
There are a lot not interested in booking until fall 2021 and the largest of the sample indicated 2022.
We’re going to need those government supports for a while.
Too many gaps
Our suppliers can do more to “de-risk” the purchase of travel in the meantime.
I’ve been advocating a low deposit followed by a second deposit and finals due as late as possible.
When I started in 1989, you could hold a reservation for a flight with no payment until 7,14,21 days prior before paying in full.
I’m not saying we should do that, but there is no reason to collect the funds so early when the planes and hotel rooms are half empty.
The waiver products adding flexibility for full refunds help to de-risk it, and if travel insurance wants to be relevant in Canada, they need to step up and offer proper coverage.
There are too many gaps, and in particular, the need of coverage of being denied boarding due to a temperature check, and offering air ambulance return to Canada for COVID19 is important to consumers.
Without this coverage, travel insurance currently has too many holes in it to be compelling.
Customers are frustrated with having purchased insurance and getting no cash back because a credit was offered, and all of this needs to be rectified in order to restore faith with agents.