Author Archives: Richard D'Ambrosio

There are 6 articles by Richard D'Ambrosio published on this site.


How Has COVID-19 Changed Travel Insurance?

 

In normal times, insurance is one of the quietest sectors of the travel industry. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, travel insurance has become one of the most dynamic products for a travel advisor to sell, and it’s worth an update here.

Some countries have begun offering comprehensive medical coverage to encourage more travelers to visit their destinations. Suppliers are insuring the cost of cancellations through totally flexible cancellation policies, as well as their own vacation protection coverage.

For example, the week of August 10, Portugal launched a travel insurance program for inbound international travelers that will cover medical, surgical, hospital and pharmaceutical expenses. Spain’s Canary Islands is doing the same. Read the rest of this entry »

 

The travel industry needs to consider a radical rehaul of just about everything we do that involves travel advisors. And, when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING.

Since March, I’ve been holding lots of private talks with advisors and industry executives about how this pandemic is impacting their businesses. Most importantly, we’ve been discussing what’s necessary to help the entire industry recover.

Almost everyone has said these bleak days are an opportune time to open EVERYTHING for discussion. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Haven’t all of us, at one point, had to write that elementary school essay: What did you do on summer vacation? Well, for many travel advisors, summer 2020 has been more like an extension of everyone’s “COVID sabbatical” – anything but a vacation.

Most agents have scrambled to keep their businesses afloat, cutting expenses, trying to scrounge up extra cash, and deal with an incessant series of cancellations and re-bookings. They’ve also spent the last six months contacting clients to check in on them and remind them that their trusted Travel Advisor is there when they want to travel again. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Early this summer, Tripadvisor launched its Reco website and app, designed to match Tripadvisor users with a select list of vetted travel advisors, including hundreds who are part of Signature Travel Network and Internova Group’s Travel Leaders consortia.

The hundreds of millions of consumers who visit Tripadvisor every month can peruse participating advisor profiles, and pay Tripadvisor a $199 planning fee to match them with a “Trip Designer.” ($50 of that fee, “net of fees and taxes,” goes to the advisor. Reco claims no portion of an advisor’s commissions.)

The fee includes unlimited on-platform messaging and phone calls to design a trip, a personalized travel plan, bookings and reservations for accommodations and activities, restaurant recommendations, and ongoing support. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Know Your Numbers?

You’ve heard the pundits and read the headlines:

“Advisors need to pivot, experts say.”

“Agents have to adapt to the new normal.” (Ugh. That phrase.)

While these concepts are great advice, what should you as a business owner do to employ them at your business? Well, that’s the thing about trendy catch phrases; they usually aren’t useful if that’s all they offer.

I think a good portion of why there’s so little real, good advice out there for entrepreneurs is because too many pundits and “experts” really don’t want to share their “secret sauce.” Read the rest of this entry »

Create Your Own New Normal

This is the first of a series of columns I will be writing for TRO over the next few months, trying to help bring some clarity around how travel advisors, suppliers, and destinations can adapt to the rapidly shifting environment Coronavirus has created.

During that time, I promise to sparingly use words like “unprecedented” or “new normal.” Those words are too often used with lazy ambiguity to avoid giving you the depth of knowledge you need to manage through this madness.

The fact of the matter is, we’ve never seen travel demand drop off this deeply and quickly ever in my lifetime (more than five decades and counting). And we’ve never had a seemingly immovable impediment like COVID-19, forcing our hands in what kinds of destinations and vacation experiences we can sell. Read the rest of this entry »