Travel Advisor? On safety
An agent purely sells, can an advisor offer more with safety
What is safety when we travel?
Should you be the one to advise your customers on how to “stay safe”? Will that open the door to potential blowback if the advice you offer doesn’t keep someone safe ?
This distinction is academic unless you can find a way monetise the differentiation from agent to advisor.
Begin with basic things like food safety. Some think street food in India is awesome, but bland and safe is better, unless you want to embark on a rapid weight loss program. 22 trips, I’ve suffered minor embarrassment through to near hospitalisation. It’s not only uncomfortable, but when I being relied upon for several days of meetings which cost a small fortune to get me to, I need to perform.
Premium hotels now filter water and publicise food safety for western visitors. Having spoken to the chef and manager, its safe now to eat fresh salad and vegetables and a diet which is closer to home. Half the battle is avoiding the creamy and fatty delights that would make you sick at home. Showering with Listerine in your mouth – that one is gold.
Beyond bad guts is the more common sense advice of keep your hands out of your pockets, don’t walk down dark streets at night, carry minimal local currency and no flashy jewellery, if you need to get hammered, do it in your own hotel, don’t walk home.
But sadly, recent terrorism events in both Christchurch and Colombo, safe havens for travel, suggest safety, or less of a guarantee of it, is now a trade off of travel. How do you advise on that? AFTA has its standard warning process which in turn has implications on travel insurance policies. But they have not caught up – even after Sri Lanka, it was apparent cancelling your holiday now would result in no refund and no protection.
Travel advisers might consider subscribing to online security services and incorporating them into the travel plans for customers. Google “travel safety intelligence group” to find a ton of different companies who provide information from reputable security sources around the world. In other words, tapping into security networks.
But this is a highly emotive topic and different people have different feelings about what is in fact safe. My recommendation would be that the week before someone travels out, incorporate this into your pre trip columns the message like “just letting you know, we’ve reconfirmed all the details of your booking including validating the current safety green light for destination….”
A nice little safety card and maybe even some Listerine with your logo on it could be the right way to keep connected and remind them that you are keeping them safe.