Seljalandsfoss Iceland

Collette Ups the Ante In Helping Agents During Coronavirus Crisis

Collette continues to raise the bar on ways in which to make the coronavirus-related cancellation and rebooking process as seamless as possible for agents and their clients.

“Now, more than ever, we want to provide flexibility for travellers who have been affected by any disruptions in their travel plans which comes in the form of three options when we cancel a departure,” said Collette Executive Vice President Jeff Roy.

“We are giving clients options to receive a full cash-back refund, rebook price-protected for a departure later in 2020, or vouchers for travel through the end of 2021 valued at 105 percent of money [for] paid, land and air. We feel that these options eliminate friction between the travel professional and the guest.”

Roy noted that the company’s relationship with its agent partners has never been stronger.

“We know that the travel market will return soon and there will be an enormous demand for people to see the world. Travel advisors who have strong relationships with their customers will play a vital role in fueling the rebound,” he said. “It’s essential that we support our travel advisor partners in maintaining those relationships by having policies in place that put the travel advisor at the forefront of the customer experience.”

He added throughout the coronavirus crisis, Collette has proactively canceled departures and offered full cash refunds guests – with no penalties.

“Ultimately, this protects the relationship between the guest and their travel agent,” Roy said. “To show our appreciation toward travel professionals during this time, we are offering travel agents an additional $50 booking bonus for any of their clients that rebook once a tour has been canceled.”

A significant number of travellers who were unable to travel on Collette tours because of the coronavirus have “taken a voucher to redeem for 2021, once they solidify their plans,” Roy said.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the company was “on track to have the biggest year in our 102-year history, with Europe leading the way," he said.

“While we’re now experiencing a pause, the destination interest has not changed too dramatically, and we are seeing many guests rebooking to dates later in the year or moving their reservations to 2021, and remain optimistic that travel will rebound over the coming year ahead.”

Additionally, Collette is seeing many reservations for the Oberammergau Passion Play that are moving to 2022, Roy said.

“In general, we continue to see very strong interest for travel to Europe, with an uptick in demand for destinations in the U.S. and Canada. Overall, the mix of destinations remains in line with our normal booking trends.”

Looking ahead, Roy said Collette is “already starting to see trends in bookings for destinations like Iceland, Finland, Ireland, the U.S. National Parks and Canadian Rockies.”

Roy believes the travel industry once again thrive once the coronavirus is suppressed.

“The travel and tourism industry is incredibly resilient,” he said. “We have been through challenging times before, whether it was 9/11, SARS or the 2009 global financial meltdown, among so many other setbacks. The travel advisors and businesses that support tourism always find a way to innovate and come out stronger.”

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