Travel insurance company Travel Guard has blasted iTrek, the independent Australian company that was promoting a film contest called “The Travel Agent Is Dead.” Travel Guard reports it has successfully persuaded iTrek to terminate the controversial promotion that took “agent bashing” to a new, unacceptable level.
“This particular program is in direct conflict with Travel Guard Worldwide’s corporate philosophy and, more importantly, violates the long-established trust we enjoy with our travel agency partners,” Dan McGinnity, vice president, Travel Guard North America told Travel Agent. “While Chartis Australia underwrites iTrek’s travel insurance products, iTrek is not and has never been a Chartis or Travel Guard company. Neither Chartis nor Travel Guard have taken part or, at anytime, played a role in the creation or execution of this or any other iTrek marketing program. For the past week, Travel Guard has had frequent and regular communications with our colleagues in Australia in an effort to immediately remedy the situation.”
McGinnity forwarded a letter from Travel Guard North America’s president CEO Dean Sivley. “Though it took some time to sort through the challenges presented by contractual obligations and local Australian laws, we are pleased to inform you that we successfully persuaded iTrek to terminate the promotion,” the letter states. “What disturbed us most about the iTrek promotion is that it stood in such stark contrast to our view of the travel agency community, here in the United States and in all markets around the globe. Despite the market dynamics at play in other world regions, we can say with confidence, that U.S. travel agents are alive and well. Since our inception, we have been a strong, responsive partner, and a vocal advocate of the value that travel agents offer to business and leisure travelers.
“As you know 'At Travel Guard, Travel Comes First,' ” Silvey's letter continues. “This commitment drives our decisions, innovations and development. It all starts with you, and we have not wavered in our support of the American travel agent! Our Travel First campaign supports your primary travel business as well as your travel insurance business. We strongly believe the American traveling public benefits by having a pervasive and viable travel agency network.”