Tourists over-relying on hotel receptions for medical advice

12 August 2019

Posted in Product

by Rebecca D'Cunha (see media contact)

  • Less than 90% of tourists would contact their travel insurer first if they needed to find a pharmacy, doctor or hospital. 
  • Tourists are over-relying on hotel receptions, asking for advice on anything from minor ailments to where they should go if they’re not sure what treatment they require.
  • Meanwhile travel insurers can ensure customers are in approved hospitals or clinics, liaise with medical staff on their behalf and arrange for return to the UK if needed as part of their service.

Only seven per cent of tourists would call their travel insurer in the first instance if they had a serious medical issue and needed to find the nearest hospital, according to AXA.

Research by the UK’s largest travel insurer shows that in every scenario presented1, tourists would always initially ask their hotel reception for help. As the severity of the scenario increased, the amount of people who would rely on their hotel reception for medical advice decreased – but only slightly.

Respondents were given a number of outlets to ask for advice from in each scenario, including hotel reception, tour operator, travel insurer, private clinic, emergency number or hospital.

Forty-seven per cent of respondents said they would ask their hotel reception for help if they needed to find a pharmacy, while 45% said they would do the same if they required a doctor, 37% for a hospital and 36% if they didn’t know what treatment they needed.

In comparison, only 7% per cent of people said they would contact their travel insurer in the first instance to find a hospital, 8% for a pharmacy, 10% for a doctor and 9% if they didn’t know what treatment they needed.

Who would you turn to for assistance if you or someone you are travelling with… Top Rank Percentage who would contact travel insurer first
Has a minor ailment and needs a pharmacy? Hotel Reception (47%) 8%
Has a minor ailment and needs a doctor? Hotel Reception (45%) 10%
Has a minor ailment and are not sure what treatment you need? Hotel Reception (36%) 9%
Has a major ailment and needed to find the nearest hospital? Hotel Reception (37%) 7%

“These results confirm our concerns that tourists are over-relying on hotels for medical advice, even in scenarios where it’s so serious that they need a hospital. As travel insurers, we are here to help you with any medical issue you have abroad, no matter how big or small. Our team of expert medical staff regularly reviews facilities around the world, including private and public hospitals, to ensure our customers get the best treatment possible.

“We are also able to liaise with hospitals and medical staff on customers’ behalf, offer additional support and advice, settle claims directly with providers, and even get you back to the UK if you need it. While we hope everyone has an enjoyable holiday this summer, if something does go wrong we would like to remind customers to always call your travel insurer for medical advice in the first instance.”

— Nel Mooy, Head of Travel, AXA Insurance

To help customers heading abroad this summer, AXA has issued a video reminding holidaymakers to contact their insurer straight away if they do need treatment and to save their travel insurance information in their phones or download the AXA Travel Companion app (available on iOS and Android).

1Figures obtained from research commissioned by AXA of 2000 UK adults. The research was carried out by OnePoll in July 2019.