Along with the U.S.’s new Covid-related requirements for international visitors is a rule that unvaccinated U.S. citizens test for Covid one day before returning to the U.S., starting Nov. 8. It adds one more wrinkle for travel advisors.
With different testing rules in place for vaccinated (three days before reentry) and unvaccinated travelers (one day before reentry), it becomes imperative that advisors know whether clients have been jabbed or not. Most say they keep those conversations focused on business, skirting what has become a hot-button political issue.
Erin Stennett, who owns Majestic Memories Travel & Vacations in Paoli, Ind., said she “asks and gives [clients] the current info and warns them that it is ever-changing and that if they are not vaccinated, they could possibly lose money. Then if they insist [on not getting the vaccine], it’s up to them. I do what I need to do, and the rest is on them.”
Nina Sherman of Lada Travel in Philadelphia said she has been asking clients about their vaccine status since March. Lauren Doyle, president of The Travel Mechanic in Raleigh, N.C., asks during initial consultations, reminds clients of the requirements when they book and includes them in the e-docs she sends out.
And Wendy Montebello, who owns a Dream Vacations franchise in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., not only asks but also adds vaccine status to her CRM data and sets a reminder 30 days out to have clients order Covid tests.
Helen Prochilo, owner of Promal Vacations in Long Beach, N.Y., only books vaccinated clients for international trips. Deb Clark of Premiere Travel Planners in Denver keeps things simple by not accepting unvaccinated clients at all.
“It’s just too much risk to book nonvaccinated at this point,” Clark said. “Managing travel is so much extra work already that to add the possibility of rules changing after booking is just not worth it.”
At Rogers Travel Agency in Patchogue, N.Y., Marta Salonius recently turned away a $15,000 booking from clients who were not vaccinated.
“Unless they are going to an island that doesn’t require vaccines, I will not speak to clients who are not vaccinated,” Salonius said. “If they are not vaccinated and plan to remain unvaccinated, I will not speak with them.”
Requirements that differ for different clients can be complicated to deal with. “More stress,” lamented travel advisor Jill Ragovin at Travel Leaders in New York. “You don’t know what to tell anybody anymore.”