By RYAN BRUBAKER
There is one major constant within the travel industry. No matter the generation, destination or span of a trip, the consumer wants to be able to travel with confidence. This has never been more relevant than in the present day.
As many of us approach planning and taking part in travel, we can’t help but feel the weight of uncertainty. There is a fluctuating list of reasons for why consumers face these uncomfortable feelings – i.e., the potential of contracting an illness/disease, other health issues, travel costs, international tension, regional conflicts, extreme weather, risk of natural disasters, etc. Along with the fears that are often shared by a number of travelers, there are also a wide range of factors that could be causing individuals to experience their own unique form of travel anxiety. Perhaps you’ve previously had a negative experience while traveling or this is the first time that you’ve traveled alone.
In any case, it is widely common for travelers in 2022 to crave a sense of safety and protection.
With all this being said, I argue that in many ways, we are more prepared than ever before to travel safely. From a technological standpoint, this is 100 percent the case. While our parents and grandparents were tasked with traveling with the guidance from a travel agent and guidebooks, we have the ability to use resources such as Google Maps, Airbnb, blogs from other travelers, and so much more to get the most out of our trip.
As a leader with Seven Corners, I am in a position to advocate for consumers to use insurance to protect the financial investment they have put into travel. I also have a platform to show consumers how technology can be a guide. Whether you’re traveling across the state, country or world, here are my top three tips that can help you travel with greater confidence.
- Certainty is created through research
Just as you wouldn’t attend a job interview without properly researching the company and opportunity, you also wouldn’t want to find yourself in a new destination without any prior knowledge of its top attractions, dining options and available transportation.
Two great resources that are sometimes overlooked include the city’s tourism website and its Chamber of Commerce site. Both typically outline information on local establishments, upcoming events, places to stay and parking availability. These platforms can also help you determine what activities are available and age appropriate for those traveling with you.
Another way to learn more about your potential destination is through YouTube videos and TikTok as these showcase other individuals’ previous travel experiences in a given area and usually highlight their biggest takeaways from their trip.
- Your mobile device should be a close companion
We often see consumers looking for travel opportunities when they need to unplug from the technology they use in their everyday lives. This is completely understandable; however, it is not the most realistic choice, particularly when traveling long distances or to new destinations. With a few clicks on our phone, we can share our new arrival time with loved ones, present our tickets for a flight, and take part in contactless check-in at a hotel.
The industry itself has started to rely on technology more than ever before, partially due to the pandemic. In fact, data.ai reports from summer 2021 showed a 20 percent surge in travel/navigation app usage compared to previous months and times of year. Travel apps are available, and it is wise to take advantage of them. If you’re not sure where to begin, Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store have excellent lists of the top free and paid travel apps being used today.
- Use technologies that promote your safety
Right now, there are a number of technologies that you can be using to help ensure your own or your group’s safety while traveling.
Companies like Seven Corners offer 24/7 communication through multiple channels such as a mobile app, text message, WhatsApp and much more. This is a growing trend across the industry with numerous insurance, airline, residential booking and rideshare companies prioritizing round the clock communication with their customers. Apps like “Find My” allow you to share your location for a range of times with select individuals, helping you to monitor the whereabouts and stay connected with every member of your party.
Resources like Sherpa are available to help you navigate the changing travel requirements and restrictions across the world. Finally, monitoring local news coming out of your destination’s area is a tried-and-true way to stay in the loop and safe while on vacation.
A trip with your family to Disney World is filled with a completely different energy than a ski trip with your friends, a conference with colleagues or your student’s study abroad semester in Europe. In all these scenarios, safety should be your top priority, and technology is here to support you every step of the way.
Ryan Brubaker serves as the Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President of Operations for Seven Corners, a travel insurance company based in Carmel.