UNIQUE PRODUCT DESIGN
Bill McGovern and Associates improved travel booking for a large OTA. Creating a new design concept that included ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ underwritten by an insurance company. This new product boosted traveler confidence as their travel investment was protected. Booking revenue targets were met when traveler reluctance to book was greatly reduced.
In 2009, one of the largest online travel agencies (OTA) with a concentration on Caribbean vacations was facing a major decline in bookings. Along with the normal concerns including the weather, prospective travelers were apprehensive and fears heightened due to the Atlantic hurricane season in 2008. A record number of storms took place this year making it one of the most active seasons in 65 years.
In addition, at the forefront of most Americans’ minds was the struggling economy set off by mass layoffs causing a climbing unemployment rate, corporate bankruptcies, and salary freezes. Travelers that traditionally planned vacations well ahead of departure were reluctant to make a small deposit to secure their trip. Fears of not being able to afford travel in these uncertain times trumped the joy of getting away.
McGovern Associates was commissioned to find an insurance underwriter who would add a feature that would reimburse trip investments in the event a client needed to cancel for any of these new concerns. However, insurers refused the request given the potential for excessive losses if world events continued to worsen.
Bill McGovern and company, thinking outside the box, came up with a new design concept to get around the insurance company obstacle. Two plans would be available with differing features and benefits. The Standard Plan and the Enhanced Plan. The Standard Plan included a full suite of travel insurance benefits including trip cancellation and trip interruption for specific reasons—i.e. medical coverage and baggage protection, to name a few. The Enhanced Plan included a Cancel for Any Reason benefit. For this, the traveler would pay a higher premium.
Upon implementation of these two programs, travel bookings improved over time and the OTA’s revenue targets were eventually being met. With the addition of the Cancel for Any Reason feature, this eliminated the fear of losing their financial travel investment.