Kuoni parent Der Touristik UK has set out wide-ranging cost reduction measures to strengthen the business and its brands against the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
Chief executive Derek Jones will lead the efforts, taking a voluntary 30% pay cut, while staff have been encouraged to “come together” and consider 20% pay reductions, unpaid leave and voluntary redundancies.
The company has also taken immediate steps to reduce costs, which include cutting marketing spend, cancelling outdoor events and negotiating lease agreements on its stores.
“We will come through stronger at the other side,” Jones told staff on Thursday (19 March).
Besides Kuoni, Der Touristik UK’s brands include Carrier, CV Villas, Jules Verne, Kirker Holidays and Journey Latin America.
The German travel group said the steps it was taken would “protect and strengthen its businesses and brands for the future”.
“My first priority is the health and wellbeing of our team, and I will take every possible action to ensure they and their families are as well-protected as possible,” said Jones.
Jones said measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19 included encouraging head office staff to work from home, and ensuring Kuoni retail store staff can support clients and make bookings over the phone – all Kuoni stores are currently closed to limit face-to-face contact.
“As a worldwide tour operator, we have witnessed the slow elimination of all of our destinations, beginning with China and Italy and culminating in the Foreign Office advice against all international travel earlier this week,” Jones continued.
“The response of all staff at Kuoni and our specialist businesses has been extraordinary. It’s a huge privilege to lead this business, and right now I’ve never been prouder of all they are doing to support our customers.
“But we’re having to do things I never thought we would have to do and make decisions I never thought we would have to make. Everyone has been outstanding in their energy, commitment and loyalty.”
Jones added: “Along with our colleagues across Europe, we must act quickly to reduce costs wherever we can, and I have today spoken to our staff today about a raft of measures. By coming together collectively to reduce pay and hours across the board, we hope to protect as many jobs as we possibly can.
“Our aim is to look to the future, to protect the health of our people, our customers and our business and do all we can to keep flying the flag for the travel industry so we are here in great shape ready and waiting for when people are ready to go on holiday again.”