ravel Weekly’s latest webcasts, plus an interview with the founder of Wendy Wu Tours WENDY WU TOURS

Dean Harvey

David Forder

Steve Dunne

‘Agents should maintain dialogue with customers’


gents were encouraged to engage with their entire client base regularly to ensure they

are front of mind when consumers start rebooking holidays. Advantage Travel Partnership

head of marketing David Forder said agencies should be engaging clients with inspiration-led ideas rather than talking about offers and pricing. He said keeping in constant

dialogue with clients would mean agents get a better steer for when the market was ready to receive sales messages. “[Agents] should listen and have an ongoing conversation with their customers,” he said. “That way they will have a much

better idea of when they can go back out with offer-led content. “But if they don’t have their ears

to the ground, they aren’t going to have the inside knowledge and could get it very wrong.” He said the current climate

provided small businesses with a unique chance to take stock and look at their branding, proposition and website to ensure it is up to date. “It’s a good opportunity to get their

ships in order because they want to be in the best possible position for when we come out of this,” said Forder. Digital Drums chief executive

Steve Dunne said brands needed to differentiate themselves for when the market becomes more competitive. “As an industry we are currently

uniting to tell people that we are there for them and that we will be back, and that is the right thing to do,” he explained. “There comes a point, though, when competition will kick in because everyone wants their particular resort or flight filled. That’s when differentiation comes in.” Kuoni marketing director Dean

Harvey and Dunne agreed more creativity would be needed, with marketing pots “inevitably smaller”. Harvey said: “People are going to

look long and hard about where they spend and what is cost-effective. It’s not going to be a quick comeback like some industries, it’s going to be gradual. We are not planning a big comeback campaign; it’s going to be

slow and gradual and tactical.” i Marketing review: Steve Dunne, page 16

Watch these and upcoming T

ravel Weekly webcasts at: Wendy Wu Lucy Huxley Wendy Wu: Our company’s T

tight” on future travel plans, the operator’s founder said. Chairwoman Wendy Wu said

future is safe and secure There is no panic for our autumn customers. They trust us to make the right decisions

he majority of Wendy Wu Tours customers have been happy to defer bookings or “sit

Refund Credit Notes were being offered for a small number of customers pending repayments from airlines and suppliers. But she said most clients and the

operator’s agent partners had been overwhelmingly supportive and flexible and were happy to trust the operator to “make the right decisions”. “Lots of customers are happy to

change to later in the year or next year,” she said. “For the very few people who say they must cancel, we are helping them to get the refund.” Wu said years of strong financial

discipline meant Wendy Wu Tours’ future was “very safe and secure”, and customers were reassured that the operator “was going to be there, no matter what”. She said: “The government furlough scheme is a wonderful

support but nonetheless of course we are losing a lot of money. We are using our savings, but what you save for is a crisis like this.” She confirmed that the operator

was promoting areas that had not previously been core focuses, such as the five ‘Stans’ in central Asia. But she said she also hoped for

strong demand for China, Japan and Korea when restrictions were lifted, as strict measures introduced to limit and track the spread of coronavirus meant they would be perceived as among the safest destinations to visit. Referring to customers due to

travel later in the year, she added: “There is no panic for the autumn customers. They trust us and know we will make the right decision [based on UK advice].”

Travel Weekly Group’s Hollie-Rae Brader

23 APRIL 2020


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