Well, what a year it has been…2020 will certainly be one for the history books! Who would have thought that in a matter of weeks the world would come to a standstill and we would be asked to “stay at home”?
The FCO started advising against any non-essential travel around the world which had a huge impact on all travel, including school trips. As the UK went into lockdown in late March, so did the schools, and for us, this made the situation even more complicated.
Jamie Boyden, Managing Director, commented, “we were challenged on both ends of our operational chain. We were dealing with cancelled trips for schools – many of which had staff working remotely, and in some cases, not easily able to make contact with all parents – and we were dealing with suppliers in countries that are also in lockdown and in some cases unable to respond.”
Whilst the challenges kept coming with the ever-evolving situation, we did everything in our power to ensure that you, our customers, were kept in the loop, dealt with as swiftly as possible and, most importantly, not left out of pocket.
“Our number one aim was to ensure our clients were not left out of pocket by a situation that was beyond anyone’s control. Whether that meant postponing tours, helping groups claim on their insurance or issuing a refund, we’ve worked tirelessly to ensure our clients wouldn’t lose out financially – and the work still continues!”
Jamie Boyden, Managing Director
Does this approach mean it takes longer for all clients to get a resolution? Unfortunately, yes, as we are liaising with airlines, hoteliers and range of suppliers all around the world. But the pay-off is that it ensures our clients get the best outcome for their group.
Many have chosen to postpone their tour to 2021 in the anticipation that normal travel will resume. However, for groups where this is not possible and a refund is being issued, we are committed to doing everything we can to achieve this in 12-16 weeks.
And it seems that this level of customer service, and the ability to be able to offer financial peace of mind, has given schools the confidence to start thinking about the future. Schools are still booking trips for 2021 with us which is fantastic to see, as it means they’re still keen to give their students the opportunity to learn in some of the most incredible destinations around the world – and we’re pleased to be able to help them facilitate this safely and confidently.
So what does the future of travel look like? Well, the answer is, we simply don’t know! We will continue to monitor the developing situation closely, continue to communicate with clients, and adapt what we do to offer as much flexibility as possible to help schools plan future trips and, eventually, travel.