The last 6 months have been horrific for everyone involved in travel and we have witnessed first-hand the financial impact on parents, our travel partners and also on the team at Student Horizons. Every part of the travel supply chain has suffered in some way and going forward, any form of new travel booking will be viewed through the lens of “how can I better protect my money in the event of another Covid crisis?”
The global travel industry is now grappling with the challenges of consumer protection and defining the new commercial agreements that will become the basis of future travel. Many travel associations and bonding organisations who have historically provided some protection to consumers are now also facing challenges themselves. As their members suffer financial distress and membership levels drop, pressure will be applied to their consumer protection funds as members fail. Redefining how they operate will be key for their survival in a post Covid landscape. We foresee greater involvement and partnerships between governments and travel bodies moving forward.
Right now, we are playing our part and immersing ourselves in global discussions around consumer protection to identify global best practices which we will implement in our business. We are communicating with international organisations such as The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) who are at the forefront of global trends and looking at how we can implement new global best practice within our business.
The travel insurance sector is also feeling great pain as they battle the double whammy of minimal revenue from travel and being hit with paying claims from pre-Covid travel periods. We work with Covermore who are part of the Zurich Insurance group of companies and we are collaborating with them to understand what travel insurance looks like in the future and how the inherent risk of travel can be minimised in a Covid world.
All in all, it’s a complex landscape and for a small business like ours and we can’t solve the world’s travel problems on our own. What we can do is engage widely, make sure we are connected to the leading thinkers globally and obtain the highest levels of accreditation in our industry to ensure that consumers can have confidence in doing business with us in the future.
Rest assured consumer protection is at the forefront of our minds right now. We know it will be at the fore front of yours once travel resumes. We will keep you abreast of interesting updates, trends and thought leadership on the future of consumer protection.