IMG & bolt | July 29, 2022
International Medical Group® (IMG®), an award-winning global insurance benefits and assistance services company, has announced a new partnership with bolt, an international insurtech and leading provider of mobile device protection programs.
IMG now offers Mobile Device Protection as an optional add-on when purchasing a plan within the Patriot Travel series, IMG's market-leading travel medical insurance offerings. The add-on provides coverage for repair or replacement of a traveler's mobile device if it is lost, stolen, or accidentally damaged during their trip.
"We know how indispensable devices like cell phones and tablets have become in nearly every phase of travel: housing boarding passes and tickets, communicating with friends and family, and documenting your travels while abroad,By partnering with bolt to offer Mobile Device Protection, we are taking another step toward our goal of providing products and services that meet nearly every traveler and expatriate need while away from home."
-Amanda Winkle, IMG Chief Commercial Officer.
If a traveler's mobile device is damaged while traveling, such as a broken screen or internal overheating, they can quickly and easily get reconnected to their digital life through an integrated claims process. bolt will help get the device repaired, provide a cash settlement for the replacement cost of the device, or replace the phone.
"This partnership acknowledges the importance of protecting wireless devices when customers need it the most, especially when they may be far away from home and rely on their smartphones to serve as a lifeline," said Clayton Bodnarek, EVP of Alternative Distribution at bolt. "Our work with IMG brings comfort to customers who are traveling, knowing that if there is an emergency and they need the connection a device brings, we'll be there for them."
IMG plans to offer the optional Mobile Device Protection add-on with more of its insurance products in the future. For more information on the industry-leading travel and health safety solutions IMG offers, please visit www.imglobal.com.
About International Medical Group® (IMG®)
International Medical Group® (IMG®), a SiriusPoint company, is an award-winning global insurance benefits and assistance services company that has served millions of members worldwide since its founding in 1990. The preeminent provider of travel and health safety solutions, IMG offers a wide range of insurance programs, including international private medical insurance, travel medical insurance, and travel insurance, as well as enterprise services, including insurance administrative services and 24/7 emergency medical, security, and travel assistance. IMG's world-class services, combined with an extensive product portfolio, provide Global Peace of Mind® for travelers, students, missionaries, marine crews, and other individuals or groups traveling, working, or living away from home. For more information, please visit www.imglobal.com.
bolt is the leading insurance exchange for the P&C insurance industry, uniting distributors and providers on a single platform to transform the way insurance is bought and sold. The result is the world's largest exchange working with two-thirds of America's leading carriers, helping more people protect the things they value.
TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,INDUSTRY OUTLOOK
Trip.com | August 10, 2022
The global travel rebound continues apace this summer, with global air traffic reaching almost 70% of pre-pandemic levels in May and international hotel occupancy rates achieving the same in April. Yet, against the backdrop of an increased appetite for travel driven by more than two years of pent-up demand, getaways over the summer months are likely to be affected by supply chain issues at airlines and airports, fully booked hotels and rising costs of accommodation and car hire.In the UK, travel chaos has dominated the headlines since springtime, with flight cancellations and long wait times, passenger caps and even a suspension on short-haul ticket sales threatening the chance of a summer holiday. In the US and Europe, the picture is equally fraught, and in Asia, recovery is fractured, with Southeast Asia and the Middle East recovering well, where China and South Korea are recovering at just 15% of pre-pandemic levels due to travel restrictions and COVID-19 outbreaks alike. As such, when customers should be getting excited about quality time with friends or family, relaxation and culture, they are now braced for uncertainty.
At Trip.com Group, we are committed to helping our customers take the perfect trip, and this summer is no different. In a world where the travel landscape is increasingly complicated, our Trip.com platform has a range of products and partnerships in place to ease traveller concerns. Combined with our leading customer service, Trip.com aims to ensure everyone has a summer holiday to remember – for all the right reasons – this year.
Trip.com Group's Pre-Travel Protection and Cost-Saving Products
Earlier this year, Trip.com expanded on its travel insurance product offering in collaboration with AXA Partners. Made available to UK customers since September last year, this insurance product was extended to travellers across Europe earlier this year and can be easily selected when booking a flight on Trip.com. This travel insurance option provides a variety of benefits including medical, cancellation and baggage cover, as well as protection against cancellation and medical costs if a customer contracts COVID-19. With travel restrictions in place in many countries across Asia and beyond, this product is still incredibly useful in terms of providing ample traveller protection and peace of mind.
In mainland China, our Ctrip platform introduced its TripTour2Day upgrade service, offering free refunds on group tour products cancelled up to two days before departure. Users simply click on the order details page to obtain a one-click refund in as little as one minute on products with the TripTour2Day label.
A week after the TripTour2Day product was launched, sales exceeded 20 million, which proves how vital these products are in terms of offering customers total peace of mind. With many travellers in China harbouring concerns about whether COVID-19 measures would interfere with their plans, this allows users an increased level of flexibility when booking their next trip.
"The TripTour2Day service upgrade shortens the threshold of a free refund from seven days or longer to just two days, giving every Ctrip user a better experience in terms of both booking and opportunity to refund. You can customise your travel needs at your own pace and join a tour with peace of mind,"
-Trip.com Group Tour Business CEO Wen Jiang.
In addition to providing protection-based products, Trip.com is also helping guests to get the best value on their next getaway. As the costs of travel rapidly increase, customers are frequently looking for the best deals in order to maximise the return on their investment. By partnering with Hopper Price Freeze on our European and US sites, Trip.com is offering customers added protection against travel price volatility. For a small upfront fee, Trip.com users can freeze a flight price for up to 14 days, giving them the chance to confirm plans with their travel companions before booking without having to worry about an unnecessary price rise. Price Freeze ensures that customers never lose out, because if a Trip.com user freezes a flight and the prices go up, the difference is covered up to a set amount. If the price goes down, the user pays that lower price.
Yudong Tan, CEO of the Flight Business Group, Trip.com Group commented, At Trip.com Group we are constantly seeking out ways to bring benefits to travellers. With this new Price Freeze feature, powered by Hopper, we are giving our customers more ways to save money when they book flights.
Dedicated Customer Service
Since the beginning of 2020, Trip.com's Customer Service team has been put through its paces, handling complex requests to support our users during some of the most testing times - and we continue to develop tech-focused Customer Service solutions today.
Our intelligent storage auto-expansion technology has been upgraded to allow our systems to manage call levels more than 10 times higher than our average, and we developed an AI-centric mechanism to recognise and prioritise the most urgent customer cases, directing these calls to a staff member as quickly as possible. While speaking with a Customer Service agent, our assistant tool helps agents by automatically labelling and categorising requests in real time, saving customers time and energy while solving problems quicker than ever before.
Our chatbot service also makes use of AI technology to automatically identify trending information in real time based on the most up to date COVID-19 policies and frequently asked questions, updating the FAQs on a daily basis and allowing customers to self-solve over 70% problems without having to hold for a Customer Service agent. The chatbot can also route requests directly to your hotel or airline, helping customers do everything from requesting a confirmation email to rescheduling a flight in the event of extreme weather conditions.
In addition, Trip.com also launched its Customer Service Pledge in November 2021, committing to six key pillars including 24/7 support and free in-app calls. Grace Ding, Head of Trip.com's Global Customer Support Centre commented We are proud to see one of our companies make a pledge towards maintaining an incredible level of service to ensure people can continue to travel stress-free.
With an average customer satisfaction rate of 90% in 2021, Trip.com is ready to support customers quickly and efficiently with any issues they face while travelling this summer.
Delayed Baggage Protection
As global lost luggage becomes a particularly problematic issue, Trip.com's Blue Ribbon Bags delayed baggage protection service also helps to remove the stress from summer travel. With this initiative, Trip.com users will be able to safeguard their checked luggage against any delays during transit.
Commenting on the new service, Lyrics Zhao, Director of Product and Business Development in the Flights Business at Trip.com said, "Trip.com strives to make travel worry-free and relaxing for all. We want the booking experience to be the beginning of a relaxing trip and to offer value added services to the passenger."
"Our service provides air travellers with confidence that if their checked-in baggage does not arrive at the destination airport, we will coordinate and expedite the swift return. Our clients should be able to enjoy their holiday or focus on their work trip while we locate and expedite the baggage,"
-CD Lazear, Senior Vice President of Blue Ribbon Bags.
Whatever this summer throws at you, Trip.com will be by your side to offer solutions. At every stage throughout your travel journey, from pre-booking to when you land in your chosen destination, Trip.com's supportive staff and customer-focused products are available to support you every step of the way and make sure your next trip offers all the relaxation, fun and good times you've been craving.
TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,INDUSTRY OUTLOOK
Expedia Group | September 14, 2022
Expedia Group announced its new global social impact and sustainability strategy to advance a travel ecosystem that is responsible, open, and accessible to all. Combining the company’s mission, purpose, and values with its traveler-centric mindset, the Open World™ social impact and sustainability strategy is focused on three priorities – increasing access for underserved travelers, democratizing the travel economy, and innovating sustainable solutions for the future of travel.
Earlier this year, the company announced its Open World technology platform – created for partners of all sizes to leverage and configure products and services needed to succeed in the travel ecosystem. Aligned with this innovation, and the belief that travel is a force for good, the next iteration of Open World extends to the traveler experience, community engagement, and environmental impact.
“Travel is transformative. It broadens horizons, strengthens connections and changes perspectives. With our new Open World™ social impact and sustainability forward-looking plans, we will further our mission to power travel for everyone, everywhere,Travel needs to lighten its footprint on the planet, and everyone should be able to experience it and receive the associated benefits. Now is the time to innovate the existing model. We have a responsibility to enable a stronger, more sustainable industry.”
-Peter Kern, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Expedia Group.
The Open World™ social impact and sustainability strategy will tackle inequities in travel, accelerate meaningful change for the mosaic of travelers and communities that power the global industry, and ensure a healthy planet.
Expedia Group’s social impact and sustainability strategic framework includes:
Inclusive pathways for underserved travelers
Unfortunately, historic and social barriers still too often limit equitable and accessible travel. Per Expedia Group Media Solutions’ recent Inclusive Travel Insights Report1, demand is increasing as consumers are seeking more inclusive travel offerings when searching and booking. Expedia Group is increasing its own capabilities to improve the experience of underserved travelers by identifying and helping to lessen gaps. For example, Expedia.com has made improvements to accessibility filters to include options like elevators, service animal accommodations, roll-in showers, sign-language staff availability, and also expanded search features for travelers such as LGBTQIA+ welcoming properties.
What’s Next? To ensure more people are able to experience all that travel has to offer, Expedia Group will focus a portion of its giving to provide grants to impact-driven organizations working to remove barriers to travel for underserved communities around the world.
Economic advancement for communities underrepresented in travel
Expedia Group is strengthening economic opportunity across the travel ecosystem to ensure more people and communities can benefit from the industry’s growth and associated benefits. Using the power of its technology platform to help diversify the business of travel, Expedia Group will support small and local businesses, particularly those focused on improving the representation and experience of underrepresented travelers.
What’s Next? To help diversify the business of travel and meet traveler demand for more responsible options, Expedia Group will soon launch a program aimed at start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses in travel.
Prosperous planet for generations to come
Expedia Group recognizes the environmental toll that today’s travel industry often has on the planet and is committed to mobilizing its vast network of travelers, partners, and peers to innovate more sustainable business models and empower travelers to make more responsible choices. Fostering a healthy planet and a travel industry that mitigates and adapts to climate change is central to the Open World social impact and sustainability strategy.
Expedia Group recently joined the Travalyst Coalition and signed the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism. Under the Glasgow Declaration, Expedia Group has committed to deliver plans that will support the global goals of cutting emissions in half over the next decade and allowing the travel industry to reach Net Zero emissions as soon as possible before 2050. The Travalyst Coalition enables these goals by allowing travel companies like Expedia Group to deliver unified sustainability frameworks and methodologies to travelers across the globe.
What’s Next? Expedia Group is currently developing a long-term climate action plan and associated roadmap for greening its own operations while driving industry-wide change. A new program being developed in partnership with The Travel Foundation will offer training and practical guidance to destination marketing organizations (DMOs), enabling them to lead the way on climate action in tourism and catalyze meaningful change at a local level.
These three priorities build upon Expedia Group’s foundation and ongoing commitment to philanthropy. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Expedia Group led programs including the Give the World a Shot initiative – a joint endeavor with UNICEF to enhance COVID-19 vaccination rates in communities around the world – as global, equitable access to the vaccine is in line with traveler values and essential to reopening the world to travel. Expedia Group donated approximately $10.5 million – vaccinating three million people and moving the travel industry one step closer to recovery.
Learn more about Expedia Group’s past impact work in its 2021 Global Impact Report and latest Inclusion and Diversity Report. For additional information, visit www.expediagroup.com/who-we-are/Impact--Sustainability.
The research for the Inclusive Travel Insights Report was conducted in collaboration with Wakefield Research, which included an online survey of 11,000 representatives, general population adults ages 18+ in 11 global markets – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, the UK and U.S. – fielded between February 11 and March 6, 2022.
About Expedia Group
Expedia Group, Inc. companies power travel for everyone, everywhere through our global platform. Driven by the core belief that travel is a force for good, we help people experience the world in new ways and build lasting connections. We provide industry-leading technology solutions to fuel partner growth and success, while facilitating memorable experiences for travelers. Our organization is made up of three pillars: Expedia Product & Technology, focused on the group’s product and technical strategy and offerings; Expedia Brands, housing all our consumer brands; and Expedia for Business, consisting of business-to-business solutions and relationships throughout the travel ecosystem. The Expedia Group family of brands includes: Expedia®, Hotels.com®, Expedia® Partner Solutions, Vrbo®, trivago®, Orbitz®, Travelocity®, Hotwire®, Wotif®, ebookers®, CheapTickets®, Expedia Group™ Media Solutions, CarRentals.com™, and Expedia Cruises™.