Kuoni has extended and expanded its flexible booking policy in response to feedback from clients seeking additional assurances ahead of an anticipated restart of international travel in the summer.
The operator said the "sea of uncertainty" facing consumers owing to the ongoing effects of the Covid crisis had necessitated a rethink to allow people to plan and book their travel with confidence.
"The Global Travel Taskforce delivers its report on the way ahead for international travel on 12 April, but in the meantime, many people who want to book a trip overseas are being put off, worried about losing their money or the hassle of making changes," said Kuoni.
A new version of its Flex+ policy, available across a "wide range" of holidays worldwide, allows allow guests due to travel with Kuoni any time up to 15 December 2021 to change or cancel their booking up to ten days before long-haul travel or 21 days before European travel. It is also now available on new bookings made from now through to 17 May.
Those who amend or cancel their travel within the terms of the Flex+ policy will not be subject to any amendment fees, other than paying any difference in price of the new arrangements, and will be able to request a full refund.
The policy is available on select Indian Ocean, Far East and European holidays featuring flights with Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, SriLankan Airlines and British Airways.
Kuoni chief executive Derek Jones said the operator had been working with its suppliers from the onset of Covid-19 to create a "compelling" flexible booking policy.
"We want people to be excited about planning their holidays again, with the knowledge that they can change their mind, move the dates or easily get their money back up to ten days before they are due to go," said Jones.
"We’ve listened carefully to what customers are telling us. There’s strong demand for destinations including the Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, the Caribbean, Italy and Greece, but there’s still a hesitancy to commit to booking.
"They need reassurance that if circumstances change they can amend or cancel without penalty. We’ve worked hard with our hotel and airline partners to deliver this – the new version [of Flex] is now extended to include Saint Lucia and long-haul trips with British Airways.
"Flex+ will give people the confidence to make decisions around their travel plans and give them something positive to look forward to."
Jones added Kuoni was currently refunding cancellations in an average of 10 days.