It’s time for a new beginning

New beginnings

I love spring because it’s time for a new beginning.

Nothing shows that like a 22-hour drive from chilly Spokane, Wash. (where, by the way, it snowed last weekend) to balmy Prescott, Ariz. (where the mercury topped 80 degrees yesterday). You can watch the seasons change almost by the hour.

As it turns out, I have a lot of new beginnings to report. I didn’t publish a personal update last week, so we have some catching up to do, my friends.

A new chapter in your advocacy site

Your favorite consumer advocacy site is about to start an important new chapter. In the last few weeks, I’ve researched the process of turning into a nonprofit organization and have found an accountant who can help us get there. Next week, we are formally applying for 501(c)(3) status.

The timing is right. For March, we set several new records:

✓ Pageviews rose 16.39 percent to 844,644. Sessions increased 14.20 percent to 442,495 for the month. And our bounce rate declined 2.15 percent to 72.93 percent. Those are all monthly records.

✓ Daily newsletter subscribers increased by 380 to 21,776. That’s also a new record.

✓ We had 451 cases, up 34 percent from a year ago — a March record.

Taken together, these numbers mean we’re on a trajectory to becoming a force for good that will be around for a long time to come. I’m thankful that you’re a part of this adventure.

Time for a new beginning for content

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how the content I create supports the mission. Dorothy Tucker’s CBS piece on effective negotiation was an important reminder that there’s a bigger audience that I need to reach. I can’t hide online forever.

In the last few weeks, I’ve also launched a syndicated column that combines advice, family travel and adventure travel — which is what I do when I’m not advocating cases — and the content has resonated with media organizations.

The real wake up call came a few weeks ago when Ralph Nader (yes, that Ralph Nader) called me to talk about consumer advocacy. He shared with me his vision for a better world in which consumers are treated fairly. His words inspired me to keep pushing for positive change.

I’m developing new features that leverages the great content for which my advocacy team and I are known. There’s a growing sense that we need to make content that’s visual and practical. I hope to have something to show you soon.

And Ralph, I won’t let you down.

A new outlook on life

It’s been a long winter and an even longer year. I’ve made some important discoveries along the way.

✓ No matter how bad things look now, they’re never as bad as you think. And they’ll get better with time. I’m grateful for your support during the last, difficult year. Somehow, my kids and I made it through.

✓ If you can avoid long winters, you should. Our three months in Colorado, Utah, and Idaho were beautiful but very cold and dark. My kids, who grew up in Florida, have let me know in no uncertain terms that we should head south next winter. The birds know best.

✓ No one ever died from too much optimism. Even on the darkest days — both figuratively and literally — we always hoped for a better tomorrow. We were confident of it even when we had no reason to be confident. That hope for a new beginning sustained us.

Thank you for being there. Thank you for seeing a new beginning with me. It means more to me than words could ever express.

This week’s stories

Bad vacation start? Shake it off! (USA Today)

Need trip insurance with a preexisting condition? The options may surprise you. (Washington Post)

What to do if you miss your flight (USA Today)

File a police report over lost luggage? (Travel Troubleshooter via Philadelphia Inquirer)

See you next week!

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

Underwritten by

Underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

Underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

Underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

Underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

Posted in This Week Tagged