NEWS industry on the first two days of Travel Weekly’s Future of Travel Week. By Ian Taylor and Ben Ireland


September 14-18, 2020


Thursday Sept 17 Focus on cruise

Focus on digital transformation friday Sept 18

Focus on distribution Future outlook

Register for free at: future-of-travel

EVENT SPONSORS In partnership with

Heapy: Industry must make best of cards it’s been dealt

T Lisa McAuley

our operators accept they must play the hand they’ve been dealt during the Covid-19 pandemic and be willing to adapt quickly to changes on travel restrictions.

Jet2holidays chief executive Steve Heapy said operators

must react as and when situations such as quarantine change. “We’ve got to be careful as an industry not to put all our

efforts into moaning about things,” he said. “We’ve been dealt a hand of cards. Alright, it’s not the

best hand, but it’s what we have and we’ve got to make the best of it. We’ve got to be fast-moving. We’ve got to listen to customers, do the best for customers and get on with it.” Jet2holidays has made “very rapid changes” to its

programme to get customers on holiday, said Heapy, adding: “That’s still what they want”. He said: “Holidays are still very much an essential

purchase rather than a commoditised purchase and people want to escape and get their bits of sunshine.” Heapy said he did not expect to make further

redundancies but also did not expect the government’s furlough scheme to last beyond its current October 31 end date. “Everybody should plan on that basis,” he said. In a separate Future of Travel Week panel, Sunvil

chairman Noel Josephides called on the government to extend the guarantee of financial protection for refund

Bowen: Operators may say ‘pay direct’

Tour operators could begin to insist agents’ customers pay them directly after cashflow problems emerged following a string of crises. Legal advisor Alan Bowen said the

Association of Atol Companies set up a working group after the collapse of Thomas Cook last year to look at the re- lationship between operators and agents. He said it found that about 70 tour

operators selling through Thomas Cook lost “either hundreds of thousands or millions of pounds”. Bowen said things were “doubly worse” this year as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. “We were beginning, in November

last year, to look at the possibility of saying to some agents ‘we require you to get the customer to pay us directly and we will pay you the commission’ – because what we found with Thomas Cook was that the losses were 10-15 times greater than people were expecting.” He said the option

of paying “direct to principal” is used in the US and by some cruise lines.

Steve Heapy

credit notes past the end of September. He also expected furlough to end on October 31. Lisa McAuley, managing director of dnata UK’s B2B

brands, agreed. She said: “It’s highly unlikely, and that’s not throwing criticism at anybody. There are other industries out there that are also suffering.” She warned: “Don’t forecast and plan your operation on something that isn’t concrete.”

Jet2 boss warns high street agencies must adapt to town centre changes

The high street “does have a future” but it is “going to have to be different”, Jet2holidays chief Steve Heapy predicts. He said businesses such

as travel agencies, through which roughly a quarter of the operator’s holidays are sold, must adapt with the times. “The question is whether

Alan Bowen

people will travel into a town centre to book a holiday,” he said, noting: “The reason for visiting town centres is reducing because businesses are closing. People need a reason to go.”

Heapy called on local

authorities to reduce business rates and scrap parking charges but warned: “What travel agents can’t do is just sit there saying ‘it’s not fair’.” He predicted that town

centres may become more residential, suggesting: “You’ll get more people in flats, and when you get that there’ll be more bars and restaurants opening, and because there are more bars and restaurants, retail shops might open and it might reinvigorate that way.”

17 SEPTEMBER 2020 11

PICTURE: Steve Dunlop

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40