Holiday Refunds with Archipelago Choice, our 5 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 3 months we have called all our customers who were due to travel with us between up to the end of July and explain, in detail the various options available when we cancel a holiday.
Our 5 step approach to managing holiday refunds:
- We called and spoke to all our customers whose holiday will be cancelled or might be cancelled to explain the options available.
- We offered the options to re-book for another date without incurring additional costs
- If re-booking wasn’t an option then we asked customers to see if their travel insurance covers cancellations by a tour operator
- If options 2 and 3 were not possible then customers can request a full refund of all monies pay to us (including flights even where only vouchers are offered)
- We set a clear timeline of the 31st May for people travelling until the end of June to decide on which option they preferred and said that all requested refunds would be paid in full during the 1st full week of June 2020.
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 pay us to take them 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 look after people’….it might have taken a little longer to ‘do the right thing’ this time, but it is with a great sense of relief at Archipelago Choice that we can start to move forward and start planning for a healthy and maybe different future (both financially and personally).
As we crystal ball gaze into the future, it is certain travel will still be a very important part of people’s lives. We’ll probably travel less, but for longer, travel may be more expensive and we’ll certainly be more cautious and want the re-assurance of good support structures should we find ourselves in difficulty.
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
Head of Inspiration and MD