A collaborative and supportive approach between agents and suppliers has made dealing with the repercussion of the coronavirus crisis easier, according to Abercrombie & Kent’s UK boss.
UK managing director Kerry Golds said in many respects it was easier dealing with trade bookings than those made direct because of the longstanding business relationships staff have forged with agents over the years.
Speaking on a webcast with Travel Weekly‘s sister title Aspire, Golds, who is also boss of sister brand Cox & Kings, said she believed the way companies have dealt with the current crisis will be remembered in the future.
She said she’d appreciated the “all in it together”, supportive approach of the trade, with a “clear understanding that we’re all challenged at this time”.
“We’re seeing in the trade a lot of collaboration, and we’re all in this together. We living in this really tricky time. You work together and there’s a clear understand that we’re all challenged at this time.
“There’s nobody saying ‘what are you doing to do about it’, instead there’s a real feeling of being as one in our industry. So from my perspective, I think it’s made it easier working with the trade.”
Golds said she was hopeful that this collaborative approach would remain after the industry emerges from the crisis, adding: “I think everyone feels everyone else’s pain. I think that if you have supported each other throughout this time, I think that’s going to go a long way in the future going forward, particularly with the trade.”
“I think it will impact how people see different companies and how you work with them,” she concluded.
When asked about refunds, Kerry said clients were being refunded, but the timeframe of issuing these within 14 days had been challenging. She said her brands were working through refunds in date order and were “getting through lots of them”.
She said: “At the end of the day – it’s the client’s money and there is no debate about that as far as I’m concerned. We have to get the money back to the clients. What we have struggled with, and I think this goes for everyone is the time limit in which you can do it.
“That hasn’t been easy. When you’re dealing with multiple countries and multiple refunds and different suppliers it takes time for reconciliation.”
She said her brands, particularly on Cox & Kings, were fortunate to have high repeat ratios and that many guests had keep “monies in house” with the vision of rebooking.
She said a lot of clients had already had 2021 bookings in place and she believed there would be big challenges around availability for next year.
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