Coronavirus: Luxury tour operators pledge to help trade with flexible bookings

A raft of luxury tour operators have promised to be as flexible as possible during the coronavirus crisis to support agents with both new and existing bookings. 

Operators including Abercrombie & Kent, Carrier, Elegant Resorts and Kuoni have unveiled new flexible booking policies in a bid to help the trade postpone, amend or cancel clients’ holidays. 

Aspire has compiled a list of each tour operator’s updated policy, and will continue to update this page on a rolling basis as the situation changes.  

Please email Erica.bush@travelweekly.co.uk if you would like your message to be added. 

 

Abercrombie & Kent

The tour operator has introduced a new flexible booking policy so agents can book with confidence.

Effective immediately, clients can change their departure dates or destination up to 60 days prior to departure for travel up until December 31, 2021. Standard fees won’t be charged.

Read full terms and conditions here.

 

Carrier

Carrier is increasing the size of its support teams to work with clients and partners in amending, postponing or cancelling bookings in order to be “as flexible as possible as the current situation evolves.”

The tour operator will be prioritising clients currently still abroad, before focussing on those due to travel in the next 30 days. 

Following that, Carrier said it would continue to apply FCO and government advice “on a rolling basis” looking at departures within a two-week window.

If a client’s departure date is outside of 30 days or beyond, the operator advised agents to continue to monitor the situation “in the hopeful expectation that it will be safe for us to travel again at that stage.”

However, if a client is considering pre-emptively postponing a future trip, Carrier said it would work with its suppliers to renegotiate or rearrange travel to suit a client’s interests. 

The operator has suspended face-to-face sales calls but said chief executive Mark Duguid, head of sales Rick Milne and the wider agency sales team remained on hand to help. 

 

Elegant Resorts

The tour operator has launched a new dedicated team to help clients and travel agents with luxury holidays impacted by the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus. 

The team of twelve is based at the operator’s headquarters in Chester and working to review, amend, and reschedule all imminent holiday plans, while also providing the latest advice and guidance with the help of their industry partners.

The specialist team will be available seven days a week on 01244 897 666. 

There is also a 24/7 emergency team to assist any urgent issues out-of-hours, or while clients are in-resort. 

Along with offering holiday protection via ABTA and ATOL, Elegant Resorts said it was remaining “as flexible as possible” with all upcoming travel plans as the situation progresses in order to help clients make the best decision on a case by case basis in line with FCO advice. 

“This is a very difficult and uncertain time for everyone,” said managing director Lisa Fitzell.

“We have decided to create this new service to help our clients and agent partners navigate the constant changes we are facing regarding current and future bookings. 

“We strive to deliver a personal, professional and efficient service through our dedicated team, ensuring all clients are in safe hands and looked after throughout the process, providing much needed peace of mind at this tough time for travel.”

 

Kuoni

Kuoni has expanded and extended Kuoni Flex to allow existing customers, as well as those booking new holidays, more flexibility during the coronavirus pandemic. 
The tour operator has set up a new Flex Plus team to work alongside the wider Kuoni team in supporting customers who have already booked a Kuoni holiday and want to change their trip. 
Kuoni Flex for new bookings has also been extended to March 31, affording clients the ability to switch their holiday to alternative travel dates without charge up to seven days before departure.
More destinations have been added, including South Africa, Zanzibar and Greece. 
“Right now, we are doing all we can to be as flexible as possible with terms and booking conditions as we totally understand this is an extraordinary situation,” said chief executive Derek Jones.
“We have already beefed up our customer service team and are busy helping people change their holiday in light of updated FCO advice as well as entry restrictions which some destinations are introducing at short notice, but as the situation is so fluid people are understandably worried about their travel plans.”
He added: “We’ve introduced an additional layer of support dedicated to bringing more flexibility for people travelling to any destination with genuine concerns and our aim is to bring some peace of mind, and help do all we can to delay balance payments, move dates or even limit any charges if they want to cancel.”

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