After almost four weeks following the same routine in lockdown, many of us might be experiencing a certain sense of Groundhog Day.
That’s certainly how the ongoing lack of clarity around customer refunds has begun to feel too, after travel firms spent yet another week desperately waiting for an update from the government on whether or not Package Travel Regulations will be eased.
In TTG’s virtual seminar last week, Abta boss Mark Tanzer assured us: “We’ve been making those arguments very strongly.” But with no news as we headed into the Easter weekend, tour operators and travel agents could have been forgiven for thinking it was beginning to look unlikely.
At the same time, last week saw Abta launch a new campaign, asking the industry to contact their local MP to plead for the rules to be relaxed (p8 and p28), in order to avert mass company failures that would put customers’ money in greater jeopardy.
More than 21,000 emails have already been sent, reaching 647 of the UK’s 650 MPs – representing the loudest and most unified front the retail and operator sectors have so far mounted to government.
Let’s hope this makes politicians finally sit up and take notice of the unique challenges facing these sectors.
With the nation’s attention understandably focused on the health crisis, many agents have been steering away from proactively promoting holiday deals.
Yet in another of our virtual events last week (p9), agents felt Easter weekend could be a turning point in this sense, with Travel Counsellor Katrina Smith noting she intends to begin gently promoting destinations over the break.
Of course, many clients have lost jobs, work on the frontline, or have friends and family with the virus – and all marketing must be sensitive to that.
But there are other customers for whom the chance to look ahead, be inspired and dream about future travel plans could bring some very welcome relief from the Groundhog.