Amid the unprecedented challenges faced by the travel industry during the global coronavirus outbreak, Travel Weekly began compiling advice and guidance from staff, contributors and industry partners to provide practical help to businesses to weather the storm.
As the focus now shifts to the industry’s restart under Travel Weekly’s Roadmap to Recovery banner, we will continue to update this Resource Centre with a focus on content to help and support readers as they look to rebuild.
If you have something to add to the list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Trust accounts in focus
During the Covid-19 crisis, trust accounts have been suggested as the way forward for the travel industry. In a special two-part webcast Lee Hayhurst discusses what is entailed with two expert panels.
In part one White Hart Associates’ Chris Photi, PT Trustees’ Sudheer Sharma and Protected Trust Services’ Daniel Landen discuss the models.
In part two we hear about how trust account models work for travel firms and consortia with The Travel Network Group’s Gary Lewis, On The Beach’s Kirsteen Vickerstaff and Trailfinders’ Toby Kelly.
Refund Credit Notes and chargebacks
Travel Weekly has created two at-a-glance guides to help travel agents understand the latest rules about Refund Credit Notes and chargebacks.
The two one-page guides are based on Abta’s guidance, released this week on Refund Credit Notes and Travlaw advice about chargebacks, including Section 75 claims under the Consumer Credit Act.
The refunds guidance includes details about expiration dates as well as Abta guidance on how to answer customers’ questions.
The two guides, compiled by Travel Weekly executive editor Ian Taylor, are entitled:
• Refund Credit Notes: Abta’s Guidance
Advice spans tax, business rates, grants, loans, wage costs, eviction, VAT deferral and sick pay. Access it here
Agents have reported a rise in the number of customers getting angry and emotional as the frustration surrounding refunds boils over. Bob Morrell and Jeremy Blake, of Reality Training, give their 10 tips on how to tackle those challenging conversations.
Changes to industry structure and customer needs offer an opportunity for those who embrace change and prepare now, says trivago chief executive Axel Hefer. Read his advice here
Video: How to present at a conference
Reality Training’s Bob Morrell gives his seven top tips for presenting at a conference and advice on how to get the most from video conferencing.
Guidance for Companies House customers, employees and suppliers
Companies House has created a detailed guide for all firms so they are prepared for disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organisation says it has “robust plans in place to maintain services for our customers and protect the welfare of our employees during the coronavirus outbreak”.
View the guidance for businesses here
Travelport launches COVID-19 response hub
UK global distribution system and technology firm Travelport has developed a coronavirus resource hub offering advice on how to respond to the crisis.
Travelport said the hub is “a source of information, with ongoing updates and data to help businesses through this difficult period”.
It will be updated regularly with reports on global travel trends, analysis of industry data. It also includes an airline policy tracker, tips for using existing capabilities, and more.
GfK business intelligence resources
GfK has collated all its business intelligence, including reports, insights and webinars, relating to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, free of charge.
View it all here
Companies house is allowing businesses to apply for an extension of their filing deadline for delivery of their statutory accounts.
A statement on the government’s website today said: “If coronavirus (Covid-19) has affected your company and you need more time to file your accounts, you should act before your filing deadline.”
Deloitte has created a page to bring together insights to help businesses manage and mitigate risks posed by coronavirus. Access the page here
Travel technology specialist Alex Bainbridge has set-up a site ‘Tourmageddon’ to match tour companies needing help with those offering help during the pandemic.
Bainbridge has more than 20 years’ experience in travel, having run a GDS for tours and activities.
As well as listing companies both offering and needing help, the site includes news and recovery plans. View the hub here
Travel, audit and tax director at travel specialist accountancy firm White Hart Associates’ Nikki Spoor says companies need to take decisive action to deal with the crisis. She has shared eight key tips about how to prepare your business to survive the coronavirus crisis. Read them here.
Henry Wells and Phil Dakin of Duff & Phelps outline what practical steps travel firms can take to stay afloat during the pandemic. Check their advice here.
Deloitte has created a ‘Webhub’ for combatting COVID-19 with resilience. It includes advice on managing cashflow, practical workforce strategies, managing supply chain risk and how to maintain trust and customer loyalty. The Webhub is available to view here.
Law firm Hill Dickinson has issued a list of business continuity measures and employee health and safety measures that companies can use as guidelines for dealing with the impact of COVID-19. Read the advice here.
Sales training specialists Reality Training has issued ‘lucky seven’ tips for trading through these tough times. Read Bob Morrell’s advice here.
Reality Training has also created guidance for companies forced to cancel their own events with tips on how to inspire teams or delegates without the event. Access it here.
Homeworking agency Designer Travel is offering advice given to her own business to all self-employed agents during the coronavirus crisis.
Founder and managing director Amanda Matthews has produced a fact sheet of advice for her own 90 homeworkers to help them support customers and keep their businesses afloat over the coming months.
Read the advice sheet here
Resources for business owners and directors
Begbies Traynor and its director-facing brand Real Business Rescue has put together a series of resources to help businesses and business owners during the coronavirus pandemic.
A guide titled Understanding Funding, Tax Deferral Schemes and other Government Initiatives has been produced and is available on both sites.
Travlaw head of employment Ami Naru assesses the considerations businesses will need to take into account when returning to work environments.
Read the full article here.
Pear and Anderson’s Coronavirus Travel Impact Dashboard
Tourism strategy and representation company for tourist boards and destination management companies, Pear and Anderson, has put together a Coronavirus Travel Impact Dashboard monitoring the latest Covid-19 updates from nine countries in South East Asia. View it here: pearanderson.com/coronavirus
Guide for travel companies affected by Coronavirus
Company Rescue managing director Keith Steven has written a guide called Advice for Travel Companies Affected by Coronavirus examining how firms can use government schemes to buy time during the crisis and consider how they might ‘start again’.
‘It is clear that heroic efforts are going on to ensure customers are looked after, but be careful not to step outside the law,’ says Travlaw LLP’s Matt Gatenby
Associate at Travlaw Nick Parkinson, attempts to answer as many questions as possible in relation to travel companies’ obligations to customers. In particular, in relation to when refunds are due.
Read in full here
Help with contract terms
Themis Advisory is helping tour operators, travel agents, DMCs and airlines with understanding their obligations under the package travel regulations, the impact of Foreign Office advice and travel restrictions, and reviewing contract terms with suppliers and force majeure clauses.
Owner, travel lawyer Joanna Kolatsis, is also advising on crisis management and communication strategies and business resilience and continuity measures. You can contact her via her LinkedIn page or email her email@example.com
Package Travel Regulations update
The Advantage Travel Partnership has been giving its members regular updates on practical need-to-know advice for its members. Those videos are being posted on YouTube and can be used by other agents looking for clarity on issues such as the Package Travel Regulations, such as this video from travel industry lawyer and Themis Advisory owner Joana Kolatsis.
Report coronavirus cybercrime
Anti-fraud in travel organisation Proft is urging the travel industry to report any cases of suspected cybercrime relating to coronavirus. Profit will be feeding back the data to the national Fraud Advisory Panel Covid-19 Task Force which it has joined. Businesses are thought to be more vulnerable currently to cyberattacks because many companies are not operating normally, with many staff furloughed or working from home. Chairman Barry Gooch urged travel companies to email Profit on firstname.lastname@example.org and to report fraud to Action Fraud using its online form at or call 0300 123 2040.
Expansion of job support scheme
Travlaw’s Ami Naru gives an updated on the expanded JSS starting from November 1.
• If an employer is required to close due to local or national restrictions, the Government will pay 2/3’s of an employee’s wages, up to a maximum of £2,100 per month.
• Employers will not be required to contribute towards the wages but will be required to pick up the cost for NICs and pension contributions.
• Employers are only eligible to claim whilst they are subject to restrictions.
• Employees must be off work for a minimum of 7 consecutive days.
• Eligible employees must have been employed, and an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 23 September 2020.
• Payments under the scheme will be made in arrears.
• It is expected that the HMRC claims service for this scheme will be available from December 2020.
• The scheme will be UK wide in operation.
For further details please see the government guidance here
Travlaw partner and head of employment Ami Naru weighs up some of the issues that may affect employers if staff are required to self-isolate after annual leave. Details here
Travlaw partner and head of employment Ami Naru sets out how travel firms might adapt to the Job Retention Scheme’s recent changes. Details here
Travlaw head of employment Ami Naru assesses the considerations businesses will need to take into account when returning to work environments.
Read the full article here.
Iata offers free training
Current employees, or those who wish to become a part of the aviation industry can select one from six e-learning courses to strengthen their industry knowledge and skills:
• Aviation Competition Law
• Destination Geography
• Travel Agency Fees: A Professional Approach
• Accounting and Financial Management for Travel Agencies
• Geography in Travel Planning
• Distribution and Airline Retailing
Furloughed staff should not be doing any work, Travlaw head of employment Ami Naru sets out examples of how this works in practice.
Be cautious – furloughing staff may not be straightforward
Nikki Spoor of accountancy firm White Hart Associates shares an update to the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and suggests business owners be cautious, as furloughing staff may not be as straightforward as it appears. Read the blog entry here
What will happen to staff annual leave?
As a direct result of coronavirus and the extensive measures being taken to tackle it, the government last week announced it was allowing workers to carry up to four weeks annual leave into the next two annual leave years.
Travlaw’s head of employment Ami Naru takes a closer look at the Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) regulations 2020. Read her latest blog post here
Women in Hospitality, Travel & Leisure (WiHTL) has partnered with flexible online working platform GIG to help businesses find workers at peak times.
GIG uses technology to recruit staff and enables users to apply for available roles and shifts, offering the flexibility to suit individual needs.
For those looking for work email email@example.com
For those looking for extra staff email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or find out more here
Keeping employees safe
Global translations technology firm TransPerfect has produced an informational COVID-19 video on employee health and safety which it is offering free to all businesses.
The firm is offering 24 hour delivery of an uncustomised version or three to five days for one customised with a company logo. The video is available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Portuguese (Brazil), and Spanish. Further customisations are available for a modest cost. To sign up to receive the video click here.
Travlaw’s head of employment Ami Naru dissects the government’s Job Retention Scheme and answers key questions. Read her piece in full here
The firm has also produced a staff leave flowchart which you can view here
Head of employment at Travlaw, Ami Naru, provides some guidance to travel businesses facing difficult decisions over staffing. She has shared some options to avoid making employees redundant here
C&M Recruitment’s Barbara Kolosinska says many will lose their jobs through no fault of their own, so it’s more important than ever those people use the time to prepare themselves for finding a new one as quickly as possible post-corona. View her tips here
Abta’s Post Pandemic Recovery guide has been created to assist destinations and the travel industry.
It identifies areas to consider while planning for operational recovery and once operations have resumed, and highlights opportunities the recovery provides for the industry to improve existing processes.
Sections include the customer journey, management responsibility, risk assessment, health, safety and security, communication, supply chain management, prevention of the spread of infection and the changing holiday experience.
The guide is available to Abta members free of charge, and non-Abta member can purchase here.
You can also see the latest Abta support webinars here.
The courses have been made available to keep agents motivated and inspired about the Algarve region, so they are primed and ready to book clients on holidays there once the travel ban has been lifted.
Travel agents can access the courses for free by registering on OTT and reviewing the information online. After learning about each topic there are a set of questions to test the agent’s knowledge. The courses are available here
Take virtual tour of Israeli tourist hotspots
The Israeli tourist board has released a series of virtual tours of its most famous sites.
View all the tours of tourist hot spots here
Destinations International launches resource page
Destinations International – the international association for destination marketing and management professionals – has created a coronavirus resource page with up-to-date information from industry partners and trusted sources.
Don Welsh, president and chief executive, said: “We have been working with our partners around the world to provide support and education for our members during this time. We have also been providing our members with real-time education through webinars.”
As always, you can view the most up-to-date travel advisories for every destination on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website, which can be found here.
Online Travel Training (OTT) has added a new tab to its website courses to give agents access to destination and supplier specific information on coronavirus.
The travel agent training provider is allowing course partners to publish information about their terms or destinations on a special coronavirus tab. Find out more here, or log in to OTT.
Virtual fam trips
Travel agent training platform Spinning Globe is offering destinations the chance to create one of its virtual fam trips, or ‘VFams’, for agents free of charge. Email email@example.com
Abta is hosting a webinar which will help you understand what the key mental health and wellbeing risks are for staff during the Coronavirus crisis.
Explore how you support staff and provide practical assistance to ensure your workforce remains resilient.
Get tips on staff communication, engagement and how you can use existing benefits to ensure staff feel supported during this time. Get more details and register
The COVID-19 epidemic may be especially challenging for those of us with mental health problems – wherever we are on that journey.
If we are currently struggling, we may find it harder to get support, and if we manage well most of the time, it might be harder to follow our usual ways of coping.
As part of our Mental Health Matters series, the Mental Health Foundation’s Chris O’Sullivan offers advice on how to cope with the huge changes to the ways we are all now living and working. Access the advice here
Free online wellbeing workshops
Start-up venture Talent Courtyard is offering free workshops to travel industry professionals who are staying at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
The online workshops feature wellbeing experts and are designed to help people to focus, de-stress and stay connected.
Talent Courtyard is hosting online sessions every day this week, and every second Monday starting from April 6. Click here for details.
How can you ensure a good night’s sleep?
Sleep is important for mental health and wellbeing, but in a time of increased pressure and stress, how can we get the best night’s sleep? We catch up with sleep expert James Wilson aka The Sleep Geek for his top tips.
Q: What advice would you give to those who are struggling to sleep if they have too much on their mind?
A: It is about ensuring that you address the issues you are facing and focus on creating a drop in heart rate and a drop in core temperature before bed. Understand your sleep type and ensure you are not trying to go to sleep at a time that doesn’t work for your body’s natural rhythm. Have a consistent wake up time, and most importantly, if you are in bed for 30 minutes and not asleep, you should start the process again. Nobody can force sleep, the mind has to wander and listening to something like a spoken word book helps our brain to do this.
Q: What can you do before going to bed that might ensure you have a better night’s sleep?
A: The hour before bed is about dropping your heart rate and dropping your core temperature. Try filling a hot water bottle with lukewarm water and placing your feet on it to help. For the former, it’s about thinking “Is what I am doing relaxing?” Just because you enjoy it doesn’t mean you should do it before bed! Horror films, box sets and true crime get your mind racing, so try comedy, or a programme that is repetitive. Only go to bed when you are sleepy and don’t worry too much!
In addition to its advice below, Mental Health Foundation head of business development and engagement Chris O’Sullivan offers some tips and advice for coping with the huge changes to the way we live and work. Find the Q&A here.
Mental health advice
Mental Health Foundation
The Mental Health Foundation is offering advice on how people can avoid stress and loneliness during the country’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Tips on looking after your mental health can be found here.
And tips and advice on looking after your mental health while working throughout the outbreak can be found here.
Mental Health First Aid England
Mental Health First Aid England has released guidance on keeping mentally healthy while working from home, as part of its new My Whole Self campaign.
With tips encouraging getting into a morning routine and staying connected, the guidance outlines that human connections are more important than ever, as more organisations switch to working from home, particularly in the coronavirus crisis.
Resources can be found here.
Psychological support specialist Clarity has published a series of videos providing some guidance on the behavioural and mental health effects of coronavirus. The first recommends laughter. Topics to come: relaxation, schoolchildren, sleep and more. View them on YouTube here
Ten tips for improving mental health in the Zoom workplace
People Managing People has come up with a list of ten tips for improving mental health in ‘the unprecedented era of the Zoom workplace’.
Chief executive of digital marketing agency Search Laboratory Chris Attewell shares his suggestions to adapt messaging, assess tone of voice, remain honest and reassess approach to search. Access here
A number of tourist boards and travel suppliers have begun creating a series of inspirational videos to offer a message of hope and support for the trade amid the coronavirus crisis. Watch them here
A national health crisis and pandemic is not a marketing opportunity, but it does give businesses the space to focus on those projects that have been gathering dust so business are ready when the crisis is over.
Travel marketing specialist Accord Marketing has shared its top tips for travel firms. View them here
Travel Weekly has compiled an up-to-date list of key tour operator contacts, to help agents during the coronavirus crisis.
As the coronavirus crisis has curbed travel, a number of destinations and top tourist attractions are offering virtual tours and other interactive activities online and on social media
Travel Weekly has compiled a list of useful resources for parents who are at home with children following the closure of schools across the country.
Video conferencing is is the new ‘normal’ and if you’re not used to them then the technical and sound based problems can make these even harder to get right. Here are Reality Training’s six key tips.
Travel is an industry that is ahead of others when it comes to homeworking. Other companies are having to attempt homeworking for the first time and it’s not easy.
Some managers who see their teams every day will find it harder to manage when they can’t see their people. Micro-managers will need to understand that if your colleague doesn’t pick up when you call they may be a) dealing with a customer b) dealing with their own family, c) somewhere else in their home – and you must exercise a degree of understanding about this.
For those setting up for the first time these are my top tips:
Chair and position: if you’re going to be sitting for long period then try and get a decent chair that’s comfortable. I have borrowed one of my son’s gaming chair, and it’s much better than a dining chair! Also try and raise the level of your laptop/PC screen so you are not bent over looking at it.
Time: Make sure you have proper breaks and get fresh air whenever you can. Try not to be too distracted by biscuits, TV, booze or cigarettes!
Technology: If your BB is slow try and improve it, if you’re using web based meeting software like Skype or Zoom make sure your laptop has the necessary updates to use them effectively. If you’re using your mobile a lot then use headphones. Back-up your hard disk to a remote memory block to make sure you don’t lose stuff you need to store.
Telephone: Now is the time to re-introduce yourself to your landline. Conversations will be vital in the coming months.
Daily routines: This will be different and hard to get right for a while. Try to find a routine that works for the whole household.
You can find supportive videos on Reality Training’s Facebook page.
Majorca-based travel technology specialist TravelgateX is offering insights into its data free of charge as travel firms struggle to cope with the coronavirus crises.
The firm has launched a #Wearehereforyou campaign and created a COVID-19 “control panel” making its three terabytes of data from 20,000 daily reservations and three billion searches available to the industry.
The firm said the Insights-X tool will enable hoteliers or OTA managers to see clear demand trends before bookings materialise and discover what products the traveller will appreciate the most and be willing to pay for.
View the panel here
Travel marketing data analyst ADARA has developed a Traveller Trends Tracker to help brands adapt to the fast-changing market as the coronavirus pandemic spreads.
The tracker taps into ADARA’s real-time travel data that allows firms to track travel-related consumer behaviour and identify key trends. ADARA says it will update the data frequently.
ADARA said: “This information will help travel marketers activate the most informed marketing strategies based on the most recent consumer travel activities.” Access the tracker.
If you work for an Abta member and have been financially affected by coronavirus, the industry may be able to help you through its hardship fund.
Read more here.
Corporate travel group Business Travel Coalition (BTC) has launched a coronavirus resource centre to provide advice.
The organisation said the centre contains “necessary advisory information for organisations that directly or indirectly support airline travellers and workers”. Read more here.
Travel Counsellors has set up a helpline for any independent agents “facing turbulent times” amid the coronavirus outbreak. Call 0161 464 5040 to take the company up on the offer.
The package holiday operator has set up an online amendment form for independent travel agents to make rebookings and cancellations of affected holidays. It is designed as an alternative to calling its contact centre, which it says is “extremely busy”. Find the form here.
Cloud-based hospitality technology solution provider, STAAH, has out together some specific advice for hotel and accommodation suppliers.
View the information here
In the latest Wellness Wednesday instalment of Advantage Travel Partnership’s daily webinars, the consortium enlists workplace wellbeing expert Rachel McGuinness to show listeners how they can ‘Wake up with Zest’.
Click here to view a full list of videos.
VisitEngland launches business recovery webinars
VisitEngland has launched a series of free webinars providing insights and practical tips for business recovery.
– ‘Spotlight on inbound and domestic research and insights’ (30 June),
– ‘Business adaptation and re-opening’ (2 July)
– ‘Speaking to customers in a post-Covid world’ (9’ July)
– ‘Sustainability’ (30th July)
– ‘Using travel technology to maximise your business’‘ and ‘Creating great presentations’ (6th August)
To register for a webinar click here.
Recordings of past webinars can be viewed here.