Governments and travel providers have implemented varying regulations and requirements to protect people and contain the spread of COVID-19. But navigating these evolving rules is complex. That’s why, in our ongoing commitment to duty of care and traveler confidence, we’ve introduced the Informed Traveler—a global initiative aimed to keep travelers, travel managers and agents informed of the rapidly changing COVID-19 guidelines and regulations.
As part of this initiative, we’ve created an agent-facing resource for our travel consultants, plus a public self-service resource for travelers called COVID-19 Information Hub. Both resources give users easy access to a single source of information, which draws data from more than 800 sources. It will help users navigate the current fluid travel environment, providing information on destination risk alerts, airline and hotel policies, ground transportation protocols, travel restrictions, and more.
Move sat down with Cathy Gallant, a senior travel consultant at BCD Travel and part of the client dedicated agent team for Dow/Dupont, to find out how the new agent-facing resource is helping with her daily job.
As an agent, how does access to this single source of information impact your role?
Cathy: “There’s so much information from a variety of sources, which seemingly changes by the minute. Before this resource, we had to visit a numerous websites (for different countries, cities, airports, airlines, hotels, etc.) to look up specific entry/exit requirements, quarantine information, interactive world maps highlighting risks and requirements, hotel and airline information, what to expect at airports, preparation details to consider, as well as what health symptoms travelers should monitor. It’s awesome to have all that information consolidated in one place. It really simplifies the complex, making the whole process speedier for both us and our travelers.”
How does the new resource help our travelers?
Cathy: “Travelers who need to book a trip have all sorts of questions. What is my health risk? Do I need a health certificate? Do I have to self-quarantine? What if a border closes unexpectedly? Do I have to wear a face mask at the airport and on board? What should I pack? Travelers can find this information in our COVID-19 Information Hub on TripSource.com, providing them with the information they need before, during and after their trip. It saves them time and effort because they don’t have to go look for the information on multiple websites. But many travelers prefer to speak to someone in person these days. So, if a traveler contacts me, I have access to the same information, and can give in-person advice.”
Can you give an example?
Cathy: “I recently helped a Chinese citizen who had been living in the U.S. Her visa was expiring and she needed to travel back to China. She didn’t know all the requirements, so she contacted us. In a few clicks, I found all the information she needed to prepare for her trip. She had to provide a nucleic acid COVID-19 test report issued within five days of departure and from a recognized organization designated by the Chinese embassy in the U.S. After uploading the negative COVID-19 test report to a health portal prior to her travel, she had to carry a picture of the negative test report on her mobile phone during her trip, and quarantine for 14 days on arrival in China.”
Do you get many complex requests?
Cathy: “We get a lot of questions from worried travelers, who are concerned about regulations and restrictions. Some requests are relatively easy, but many are more complex—like the China example. Every traveler I speak with is grateful for the support we provide and feels more reassured to get back on the road again.”