Disaster can strike anytime. Whether it is in the form of losing VC funding, a founding partner leaving or even a sinking cruise ship. That last one might sound a little out of place, but even the most unexpected events from across the world can have a surprising impact on a startup.

Last month, a Viking cruise ship, loaded with 1,373 people, out of power and in stormy seas, was in danger of drifting aground as it began a helicopter evacuation. The event served as a reminder of just how important travel insurance. As a result, Travel Insurance Marketplace AardvarkCompare has seen a tripling of activity from Viking cruise customers looking for travel insurance.

“We routinely help Viking Cruise customers who are looking for more robust coverage than Viking offers. Normally, they buy a policy with more coverage at a lower price. But in the last few days, we have been somewhat overwhelmed with inquiries from Viking customers looking for coverage. It felt this weekend as though every third caller was a Viking customer looking to discuss options for their forthcoming cruise,” states Jonathan Breeze, CEO of AardvarkCompare.

In light of this, we wanted to understand how this can impact the startup community in unexpected ways. To get a better understanding of this, we reached out to Breeze, who said: “There is always an uptick in activity after an event such as Viking Cruises experienced recently. However, most startups are unlikely to see much in the way of increased traffic, and customers, unless they have built the most important commodity that a startup can possess. That is trust.”

He adds: “The quicker that a company can build trust from its customers, based on its utter dependability and devotion to serving, the better.
Without such trust in place, the last place a person will turn to in time of trouble is an unproven startup. Indeed, we experienced this at AardvarkCompare. When our Travel Insurance Marketplace for Seniors started to display our industry-leading TrustPilot reviews, our conversion rates increased by more than 10%. Trust in the most precious asset a startup has.”

When push comes to shove, a customer will go with their gut feeling on who they trust to the most. And in the face of a sinking cruise ship, that can awaken some pretty gut heavy feelings. This is a constant reminder to startups everywhere that if you prove you will be with them through thick and thin, they will be too.

Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company