Executive Group Travel Blog

The Zika virus and how it is effecting incentive travel

[fa icon="clock-o"] Feb 16, 2016 1:30:00 PM [fa icon="user"] Marci McCormack [fa icon="folder-open'] Incentive Travel

Zika Virus:

The Zika virus has been a constant subject of discussion throughout the meeting planner world.  First and foremost make sure you, the planner or the company, is not providing advice to attendees with questions.  Recommend those who are concerned to speak to their doctors and also provide them CDC updates and factual reports.  It is important to offer cancellations and conversations in confidentiality so your attendees do not feel obligated to reveal private information before they are ready.  This is much easier when working with a third party meeting planner than an internal company planned trip.




There have been two main solutions I have seen in the market in regards to trips planned in Zika affected locations.  Given the large amount of unknown regarding the virus, it is important to make sure every guest attending the trip feels comfortable and informed throughout the trip planning process.

The most extreme solution being a handful of companies are changing the location of the trip, even those only three months away.  Obviously there will be an additional cost to the companies who choose this solution but some have found its the right thing to do for their situation.  Each booking is being handled as a one-off change and we have seen very few umbrella policies being released from hotels in regards to group bookings.  A few chain hotels are agreeing to provide alternate options within their hotel family for a small additional cost.  The majority are sticking with their cancellation policy if the event is within the next few months.

The most common being continuing the trip as planned but allowing those with Zika concerns to cancel.  The airlines have been extremely helpful and understanding (well a majority of them) but the hotels have been a tougher battle.  Many airlines are allowing future travel credits for those who need to cancel, some even without a doctors note.  Many of the large chain hotels have started to follow suit but there's still a large share of hotels pushing back on cancellation if there area (city versus country) is not directly impacted.

For companies and meeting planners it's recommended to take extra precautions such as staying away from activities which include zip-lining and rainforest tours while also providing mosquito repellent for your attendees.

CDC Updates:

Again the key if to provide your attendees with facts, CDC updates and relative articles.  Let the attendees make the decision and keep the executives of the company informed with the updated risks.


The Zika virus concern has opened many debates regarding travel insurance, and what is covered by these insurances and whether companies should invest in it for their attendees.  Stay tuned for a future blog post regarding travel insurance for corporate incentive and meetings travel.