Advantage Holidays has reduced the size of its call centre team to cut costs and moved balance due dates later in response to the coronavirus crisis.
Calls to Advantage Travel Partnership’s own tour operation are now being handled inhouse by a central, five-strong team.
The travel agency consortium had been outsourcing calls to a fufilment centre, manned by a team of eight staff.
Speaking on Advantage Travel Partnership’s daily YouTube update, Lee Ainsworth, head of Advantage Holidays, said: “We have had to take appropriate action to manage our cost base. Obviously this was not an easy decision to make. This is a temporary measure and it will be reviewed.”
The central team will continue to manage credit notes, booking administration, date changes and new business for holidays booked by Advantage agents for their customers.
The operator has also moved balance collection dates from ten weeks to 28 days prior to departure for all travel up to July 31.
Ainsworth added: “We hope this will instil more confidence and allow more time for customers to feel comfortable about their situation.”
The operator has cancelled all bookings up to April 15 and hopes to have issued all credit notes owed up to this departure date by the end of this week. Refunds, where possible, are being passed back to agents to give to clients, said Ainsworth.
He added: “We have experienced some situations where customers are insisting on refunds and we working to get that money back.”
The operator said it was successfully encouraging customers to move travel dates back to winter 2020-2021 and that it was also starting to see new enquiries for travel at the end of 2020 or in 2021.
He said: “It goes to show customers are still thinking ahead for travel although they might be low numbers at the moment. We need to be mindful of preparing for that bounceback.”