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FROM THE CEO

Steve McFarland
Don’t Get “Tripped Up”

Don’t Get “Tripped Up”

“You are now free to move about the country.” That Southwest Airlines slogan rings truer than ever. After a year of quarantine and other pandemic restrictions, the urge to get away is unstoppable. The American Hotel & Lodging Association predicts a boom in summer leisure travel and Expedia says the average person saved $3,444 for their next big leisure trip, with millennials projected to spend even more.

Consumers are more vigilant than ever about cleanliness and customer service when they hit the road or the friendly skies. According to a BBB analysis, those are the biggest reasons people are leaving positive reviews, ranking higher than price and safety. As the travel industry adapts to new regulations, health awareness and customer requirements, the overwhelming theme for consumers is trust.

Here are some tips for safe, hassle-free, enjoyable travel:

  1. Research before booking. Read up on the local masking and vaccination requirements as states and countries are handling restrictions differently. Check the Centers for Disease Control – cdc.gov – and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – iata.org.
  2. Carry proper ID. The Department of Homeland Security extended the deadline to get a REAL ID, giving drivers and travelers until May 3, 2023, to obtain the new identification In the meantime you will need a current and compliant ID. Check tsa.gov for more details.
  3. Steer clear of scams. According to the 2020 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, travel scams ranked in the top ten, with victims losing on average more than $1,300. Scammers are great at mimicking official seals and fonts to make travel and vaccination documents seem real. Look for a direct phone number or physical address on websites and confirm that information through a reliable source.
  4. Read cancellation policies carefully. Not all situations, including a pandemic, require a full refund of the ticket value and fees. Every online travel agency, airline, hotel, and broker maintain different policies.
  5. Use secure and traceable transactions. Use a credit card. Don’t pay by wire transfer, prepaid money card, gift card or any other non-traditional payment method. Keep all your personal information to yourself.

When consumers think BBB, they think trust. Nine out of 10 consumers who are familiar with the BBB letter grade are more likely to purchase from a business with an A rating or higher. Make that your standard as well when you plan your next trip!

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