There’s been a LOT of information—and questions!—flying around since the CDC announced you’ll be required to undergo COVID-19 testing before returning to the U.S. But don’t worry—ALGV’s got you covered.
The recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) edict requiring a COID-19 test roughly three days before your flight, in-destination quarantine, and post-travel stay-at-home orders has certainly thrown our entire industry for a loop. With it came a lot of questions … and panic. What if I have clients in-destination? What should they do? Will I lose my bookings without providing incentives to customers to keep them? What properties are prepared to make this easy for us, by pivoting to allow for unexpected extended stays or offering testing on site?
ALG Vacations™ had the same questions, too, and every single one of our departments have been working hard to not only find the answers, but to create them.
Because this isn’t our first rodeo (thank you, March 2020, we say dryly), we knew the first thing we had to do was gather the facts, sorting them out from all the noise and static of fears, assumptions, and errant opinions, and put them in a single, trusted place for travel advisors to reference. Within days, we had a brand-new CDC Updates page up and running, taking our cues from the ALGV Advisor Update hub we built last year and that agents continue to rely on into present day.
On this new, frequently updated page, we touch on:
- CDC U.S. entry testing requirements
- An evolving FAQ section that we will continue adding to
- Partner airline policies
- Necessary forms and documents
- Hotel and destination official protocols
In that last section is where you’ll find what has quickly shown itself to be the most popular resource on the page: our downloadable, daily-updated destination and hotel grids. These are living resources in an easy-to-understand Excel spreadsheet formula that breaks down:
- The availability of on-site testing for specific properties
- Cost per test if applicable, including for antigen testing
- Minimum stay requirements for free testing
- Travel date validity
- Local clinics should on-site not be available
- Quarantine offers
Because WE CARE and DO IT TOGETHER with all of our partners, suppliers and advisors alike, we’re proud to say that through collaboration, the overwhelming majority of our hotelier friends are offering free quarantine stays for those who may have to quarantine—many for up to 14 days! Plus, several hotel chains are offering additional ways to ease travelers minds, such as free medical insurance to ALL guests of Blue Diamond Resorts; a free +1 for quarantine stays at Catalonia Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Xcaret, and Marival properties; and even no end validity date for free testing–some with no minimum stay stipulations–for brands like RIU Hotels & Resorts.
ALGV executive leadership talks about all of this during their special January 22 webinar. President of ALG Vacations™ Ray Snisky, Executive Vice President of Trade Brands Jacki Marks, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Travel Agent Brands Scott Wiseman, and Vice President of Sales Jim Tedesco were all on hand to discuss during-travel coverage in depth, as well as what these CDC changes may mean for you and all the actions taken and planned. You can catch up on it with this recording.
In addition, we’re proud to be sponsoring enhanced during-travel coverage, such as increased trip delay protection for packages with Travel Protection Plus. Previously, we offered up to $500 in reimbursement for additional transportation costs, unused hotel arrangements, additional accommodations, meals, and “catch-up” transportation. Now, we’ve upped the limit to up to a whopping $3,000! This was announced on Thursday, January 14, 2021, in an agent email; this benefit is valid for all current and new bookings for origin city departures 2/1/21 onwards for all of our agent brands: Apple Vacations, Funjet Vacations, Travel Impressions, United Vacations, Blue Sky Tours, and Southwest Vacations. Of course, this is in addition to the standard emergency medical coverage we already offer with our Cancel for Any Reason Travel Protection Plus plans, which provides up to $50,000 worth of peace of mind.
That’s not all, though—we just rolled out a Rebook Now. Recharge Later. redux offer to help keep your liquidity fluid and save your bookings by way of an attractive incentive. Once again, we’re tempting would-be cancellers with an extra 25% in bonus travel credit toward their rebooking if they choose to convert their cash refunds into credit with ALGV instead.
For customers who aren’t eligible for this, we’ve also streamlined the process of changing air dates, and are publicly providing our insider recommendations on how to best maximize your vacationers’ investment value. We’re not above a little wink-and-nudge action to help you keep your clients happy—that’s way more important to us than penalty fees, which is why we’re broadcasting a great air package loophole that may help them bypass cancel fees as they take advantage of ALGV’s waived brand change fees.
Why? Because that’s how much we believe in doing right by you and your customers, as much as these challenging situations allow. It’s only through give and take and working together that we can get through this … and we want to keep giving you MORE.