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NEWS


COVID-19 CRISIS COULD LEAD TO NEW BUSINESS MODELS


IN BRIEF


Kuoni boss Derek Jones will take a 30% pay cut after parent Der Touristik UK outlined wide-ranging cost reduction measures to strengthen the business and its brands against the impact of the coronavirus crisis. Staff have been encouraged to consider 20% pay reductions, unpaid leave and voluntary redundancies.


Tom Parry and Franki Berry


Agents hope to see business models reassessed once the Covid-19 crisis is over. The call comes after Haslemere Travel


managing director Gemma Antrobus wrote an article on ttgmedia.com calling for industry-wide monetisation of agents’ time. “We all want clients to rebook for a


future date or hold that money as a credit,” she wrote. “But these clients will then not be


‘Why do we offer our services for free?’


Gemma Antrobus, managing director, Haslemere Travel


I


recall so clearly years ago sitting with travel designers


from the US during an ILTM session who failed to understand how our business model in the UK did not include annual retainer fees or consultancy fees on every enquiry and booking. This is something that has


always played on my mind. Why is it that we offer our services, for free? Why is our level of knowledge given so little respect that we fear asking clients to pay for our time?


booking further down the line and we will have to weather that loss of business.” She continued: “When we come


through this, surely it would be the perfect time to change the way we value ourselves as an industry and amend its structure.” She added any change would need


industry-wide input, “especially from trade bodies”. Mark Swords, of Swords Travel, already


charges a £150 holding fee to those who repeatedly enquire but do not book, which is refunded upon booking. “I think [Antrobus’s suggestion] is a


great idea, but [any fee] would need to be charged across the board, otherwise consumers might just go to an agency that didn’t impose it,” he said. “A time like this would allow the industry to get around the table to discuss it, as we agents can’t go on as we did before.” Travel Time World agent Ashley Quint added: “You have to look at what value you add to a client’s experience, not just knowledge and experience – but physical benefits. [Such a move] will also require some help from tour operators.” Gary Lewis, chief executive of The


Travel Network Group, said after the current challenges he “expected us all to look again at our existing business models” for better financial protection.


For Antrobus’s full comment, visit ttgmedia.com


THE TTG TOP 50 Travel Agencies ceremony will now be held on 10 July and TTG’s New to Touring & Adventure Festival, due to take place this week, has also been postponed. TTG Top 50 will take place in the same venue – The Vox Birmingham – but will be a daytime event.


THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION has updated its guidance on customer claims refunds within the Package Travel Directive. It now encourages customers to accept credit notes – as long as the customer is allowed to ask for a full refund eventually.


Jet2holidays is issuing “rebooking vouchers” to help agents rebook clients and retain commission. Vouchers must be redeemed by 30 June and are valid for departures through to October 2021. Agents with clients who do not wish to accept a voucher should email traderelations@jet2holidays.com


Little black book TTG’s Little Black Book has a list of emergency supplier contacts to support agents during this period. New details added daily. Visit ttgmedia.com/littleblackbook


23.03.2020 TRAVEL TRADE GAZETTE


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