A&K boss says businesses need to restructure and adapt to change

The UK boss of Abercrombie & Kent has urged travel companies to learn from the current crisis and accept that restructures may be necessary to ensure businesses survive.

Kerry Golds, who also sits at the helm of sister brand Cox & Kings, said the travel sector that emerges from the pandemic would look very different.

Speaking on an Aspire webcast, Golds insisted that companies which claim they are not re-assessing their structure are “not being honest”.

She said she believed “the strong become stronger” in difficult situations, adding that there would be opportunities for brands which learn and adapt.

Golds said businesses could progress and move forward once they accept the changes created by the pandemic, adding:

“I think you have to understand that things aren’t going to be the same and when you get to that realisation you have to change whether it be to support yourself, what the structure looks like, how you sell holidays and how you sell holidays.

“Once you can get over that and understand things have changed, then you can move forward.”

Golds said Abercrombie & Kent and Cox & Kings staff that were furloughed were gradually being brought back into the businesses to assist with recovery planning, but warned that a new structure could emerge in the months ahead.

“Now after all the negative stuff, we’re looking at constructive stuff,” she said. “We’re no longer looking at how we can get money out (to refund guests), we’re looking at how we can get money in and I can’t tell you how nice that is.

“We’re bringing people back from furlough and looking at how we can optimise across the brands and how we can use resource across both brands.

“One thing is for sure, we have all got to look at our structures – looking forward, what do we need because it’s going to take some time for this to come back to any normality.

“I think anyone that says otherwise is not being honest. It’s going to look different so we have to look at this in the coming weeks and months.”

Asked how the brands she heads up might look after this process Golds said it was “too early to say”.

“You’re constantly looking for green shots and opportunities that can help you make these decisions,” she said.

Golds said she believed there would be failures in the travel industry as a result of the crisis, but insisted there would also be opportunities and start-ups and entrepreneurs, as well as the opportunity for brands to acquire other businesses.

“As much as there may be companies that don’t survive, there will be other opportunities, opportunities for new start-ups and entrepreneurs and that will be great to see.

“Everyone is looking to consolidate [within their own businesses] to make sure that their overheads are controlled.

“There will be organisations looking for opportunities which could result in consolidation or merging.

“People will be looking at other brands, just like we did with Cox & Kings (A&K acquired the brand last year), to find businesses that compliment you.”

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