What did we do when Covid hit? What we’ve always done: put our clients at the heart of everything we do

Last updated: Sep 28th, 2020

In a world of corporate jargon, business speak and Covid buzzwords, it’s refreshing to read something that’s from the heart. And that’s exactly what Rayburn’s Lucy Simson has done.

As Rayburn’s long-standing Educational Tours Sales Manager, Lucy’s just one of many staff members who’s been at the forefront since Covid hit, working closely with our clients. Now, 6 months later, she shares her personal thoughts about the whole experience.


I am and always have been proud to work for Rayburn Tours, a family-run company that puts customer service at the heart of everything we do. Our mission statement  is proudly displayed on every floor of our offices – a building I’ve missed over the past 6 months:

‘Working together to provide quality tours and memorable experiences. Delivering our promises time and time again.’


Facing a challenge we’d never seen before

It started with small news stories that, at first, I paid little attention to. Mutterings about a virus striking people down on the other side of the world, potential cases being spread to other countries. And then it happened.

For Rayburn and the travel industry a challenge like we have never seen before; a blanket ban on foreign travel and a nationwide lockdown that also ruled out domestic travel.

As we all sat in our makeshift home offices, using technology we hadn’t used before to have virtual meetings, we had so many questions for the Rayburn directors: What do we do in this situation? What can we do in this situation? The answer was simple; what we’ve always done – put our clients at the heart of everything we do.

Then, the work really began. We needed to make sure that we retained our client-focused, tailored approach and worked with each group individually to find the right solution for them.



‘We really appreciate that everyone at Rayburn Tours has gone out of their way to support us.

‘We are dealing with several companies at the moment and you have been by far the best in terms of support, detailed information and keeping us up to date, as well as finding what feel like fair and flexible solutions in these difficult times. Trust me, this will be rewarded long term. We will be rebooking these and possibly other trips with yourselves.’


Queen Katherine School

Protecting our clients

For some, postponing the trip wasn’t a problem and having something to look forward to next year is what’s keeping them going. For others, postponement simply wasn’t an option. Students would be leaving school at the end of July and a new cohort would take their place; or parents needed the money they’d put towards the trip as the pandemic took hold and squeezed the breath out of the economy and job market.

We had a responsibility, felt by every single one of us, to protect our clients. And for the 750 groups that were due to travel in 2020, we worked incredibly hard to find the best resolution for them.



‘I personally have been very impressed with how Rayburn have acted throughout this time. I have been updated on a regular basis, which has ensured all paying travellers were confident that their best interests were being served.
‘From start to finish all Rayburn staff have been brilliant. All very professional, polite, friendly and very helpful.’


Llantrisant Male Choir

The crushing disappointment for our groups

As I sit thinking about that number – 750 groups – a sadness envelops me. I think about the crushing disappointment felt by everyone who worked hard to get a trip up and running in the first placeFrom the teachers who’d spent hours working with our Rayburn team to launch and book something which will give their students one of those memorable experiences. To the parents who had watched their excited child come home clutching a letter with hope in their eyes and the pleasure of being able to give permission, ‘yes, you can go’.  

The realisation that thousands of students would be missing out on memorable and valuable experiences:

From their first trip abroad and the mix of exhilaration and trepidation.

Learning to ski and the inevitable comedy falls that’ll have you laughing until your sides hurt.

Hearing a language that you’re learning, tripping naturally and lyrically from the tongues of the locals.

Seeing the magnificence of nature in its purest form: glaciers, waterfalls, geysers.

Performing the repertoire that you rehearsed over and over until it was perfect, and the rush of hearing the applause from the audience.

Playing a sports match against another team from another country, separated by culture but united by a love of the game.

School trips in all their forms are much, much more than just an exercise in getting out of the classroom, they’re about experiencing life, igniting future passions, shaping young minds.



‘I would just like to personally thank you for being so helpful and clear at a time when everything is so unclear. It has truly been such a pleasure to work with you both, as well as with all other Rayburn Tours contacts I have been in communication with throughout the process of our tour organisation.

‘Everyone at Rayburn Tours made the task of organising an entire choir trip so fun and easy, and I know the tour would have been a great success if it had been able to take place. We are all gutted that we are having to cancel.’


University Chorus

Instead of dwelling over it, I choose to focus on the future

Rather than dwelling on those missed experiences, I choose instead to focus on the future and what we can do to help create memorable trips in what will be a changed, post-Covid world.

Working with every client to make sure their concerns are addressed, learning together as we navigate our way through what used to be a familiar process, to understand what adjustments need to be made to give financial confidence, and, most importantly, keep everyone safe on their travels.


‘Thank you very much for all the help you have provided us with. These are difficult times for everyone, and your company has acted with integrity.
Enderby Youth Band

Rayburn’s extra flexible Covid Guarantee

Listening to our clients is something we’ve always done, and in doing so we’ve been able to create a flexible Covid Guarantee which will help so many trips go ahead that may not have been given the green light otherwise.

This, simply put, makes me happy. Happy that we’re still able to offer these experiences in a time where opportunities are even more limited than ever before. Happy that we can support our teachers with Learning Outside the Classroom. Happy that I work for a company that will act with integrity. 

As I reflect on the past few months, I can’t help but think about Rayburn Tours’ mission statement: Working together to provide quality tours and memorable experiences. Delivering our promises time and time again. This is never more true than at this moment, when every single one of my Rayburn family have tirelessly worked together to make sure we have done and will continue to do exactly that.

‘Thank you so much for working so hard for us. You have put a big smile on my face just in time for the summer holiday! I really appreciate all your efforts in recovering our money and your excellent communication as always.’
Mount St Mary’s College