The latest industry surveys suggest that adventure travel is a rapidly growing market. This offers an unprecedented opportunity for tour operators and travel agents to generate additional revenues by providing customized, branded travel protection plans that better address their customers’ needs, says industry expert Bill McGovern, president of McGovern Associates. Citing recent studies, McGovern urges travel industry professionals to review their current insurance packages to ensure they are best suited to meet the needs – and expectations – of modern travelers, who are younger and more active.
“Nearly every tour operator offering an adventure travel product requires customers to take out insurance; and yet, they don’t always know what features are best to protect their clients as well as themselves,” said McGovern.
McGovern noted that adventure travel can be anything from bird-watching to climbing mountains, bicycling cross-country, shooting dangerous rapids and jumping out of planes. The needs of the extreme adventure enthusiasts are more obvious, but just because the adventure is “soft,” doesn’t mean that the risks are any less. Travelers are not always well-informed about their insurance options, and problems arise when they purchase “one size fits all” protection.
“We’re seeing increasing cases of disputes between travelers and their travel suppliers over what part of their insurance claims are covered under their policies,” said McGovern. “For that reason, it’s important to review the wording in branded programs to ensure they properly protect all parties involved. It begins with educating the supplier and their travel partners, and continues all the way to informing customers fully about their options and the scope of coverage provided by their protection plans.”
Adventure travelers are also typically younger, with an average age of 36, and often take multiple trips. A travel agent who wins their loyalty is therefore practically guaranteed repeat business – and a customer for many years to come.
“In addition to helping them create the best itinerary, selling them the right protection plan offers an unprecedented opportunity for agents to build their business by fully meeting the needs of their customers,” said McGovern.