ITC asks agents to help persuade clients to postpone trips

The boss of luxury tour operator ITC has asked agents to do “everything in [their] considerable power” to encourage clients to postpone bookings or accept Refund Credit Notes.

In a letter to agents, Phil Aird-Mash, chief executive of ITC Travel Group, thanked the trade for its support during the coronavirus crisis and urged partners to work “towards making a refund a last resort”.

He said he was “really delighted” that lots of partners had persuaded clients to amend their holiday dates and postpone their travel plans, adding that the operator was seeing a high volume of RCNs.

The team at ITC has been working to re-coup supplier costs, Aird-Mash said, with cash refunds being processed over the past two weeks to those who are as “completely insistent on refunds”.

The operator hopes to have all refunds and RCNs for March and April departures processed by the end of May.

In the letter, Aird-Marsh said: “We are really delighted with the success lots of our agent partners have achieved in persuading customers to amend their holiday dates.

‘We can see how hard you’re working to keep these bookings and we are immensely grateful for this support. A fully confirmed amendment for a later date is the best outcome for us all. I’m delighted to see how well we’re using our combined skills and knowledge to reallocate these bookings.   
“We can also see the high volume of RCNs you are encouraging your customers to take; again, for this we are very grateful, and we are now in the process of distributing these. 
“We are genuinely appreciative of our combined collaboration towards making a refund a last resort, and our indicators show that this is working well. However, we fully understand that there will always be the exceptions – the customers who are completely insistent on refunds. We want to ensure we can support you with these cases to ensure your customers are happy.”

He continues: “Our message remains the same: please do everything in your considerable power to encourage your customers to change bookings or accept RCNs. That said, in cases where you are unable to achieve this, call or email us and we will make sure we provide you with the best service possible.”
Aird-Marsh said he believed travel would become “even more precious” when restrictions are lifted. He said his team were ready to support agents in helping clients travel as soon as they’re able to do so. “Let’s get them ready to jet off as soon as the skies are open once again,” he added.

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