Holiday Cancellations and Refunds with Archipelago Choice, our 6 steps
The topic of holiday refunds has become a bit of a hot potato since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic and has caused a great deal of consternation for both holiday companies and consumers.
The question of how to manage and pay refunds during a global crisis is, in my view, all about excellent customer service and finding ways to managing expectations. From the outset, we accepted our responsibilities under the Package Tour Regulations to clients right for a full refund should they be unable to claim on their insurance or are unable to re-book for new travel dates.
Good customer service is all about talking to people and being very clear about what the options available are. Over the past 12 months we have called all our customers whose holidays will be affected by current travel restrictions to explain the various options available when holidays may not operate.
Our 6 step approach to managing holiday cancellations, re-bookings and refunds:
- We’ll contact you, in a timely manner, if your holiday can’t operate due to the current restrictions, to explain the options available.
- If your holiday is not able to go ahead you’ll be offered the option to re-book for another date without incurring additional costs.
- If re-booking isn’t an option then we ask customers to see if their travel insurance covers cancellations by a tour operator.
- If options 2 and 3 are not possible then customers can request a full refund of all monies pay to us (sometimes the airlines only offer vouchers, which will be explained at the point of cancelling).
- We’ll set a clear timeline explaining when we’ll cancel a holiday and at what stage any refunds due, will be paid.
- Our time lines for holidays that may be cancelled are as follows. Around 60 days prior your departure we’ll contact you to discuss your holiday with us and explain the options available to you (based on current Government advice): re-booking, cancelling and insurance. If we are unable to provide the holiday you have booked with us and re-booking is not an option, then we will cancel the trip at 30 days prior to departure and any agreed refunds will be paid 14 days from the date of your trip being cancelled by Archipelago Choice.
When you see things explained like this you might wonder what all the fuss was about. In truth, these things are often more complex behind the scenes; airlines refusing to refund any monies paid to them, hotels unable to refund due to their own cash flow problems and insurance companies doing what insurance companies do (say no more!). However, these are not the problems of our customers these are our problems and people book with us to take these away.
All we can do is be honest, manage expectations and where ever possible, do the right thing. My mantra has always been to ‘do the right thing and to always look after people’. It might take a little longer to ‘do the right thing’ during these difficult times, but we will always work with you to ensure a successful resolution to the problems we currently face.
All I can say is keep safe, plan to travel safe and book your next trip with Archipelago Choice because we’ll always look after you – that’s our promise!
Managing Director and Founder