In the week since launching the www.reboundconsulting as a Free advice portal with the slogan “Survive Now, to Rebound later”, its three founders Steve Endacott, Seamus Conlon and Will Waggott report a strong level of requests for advice.
Steve Endacott commented “It’s clear most business leaders have got the message about cutting costs to the bone, but being the head of a business is actually a lonely position and I’m been told several times that it has helped people just to get some reassurance from a third party, that the tough decision they are making, are right ones. Unfortunately, invariably they are”.
The most common topic of concern is refunds, across both tour operators and retailers.
Tour operators have often paid deposits to event organisers or hotels and are struggling to recover these, forcing them to other customer credit notes or booking deferral
Even retailers operating Trust funds, have issues.
For example a retailer may have cleared £1,200 for a customer’s holiday into their Trust Fund, but paid out £500 for a low cost flight, who are now offering a date change or credit note. If the customer wants a refund and recharges their credit card, the retailer not only loses their commission, but also £500 of flight cost they don’t have. Large OTA’s like On the Beach, may be able to recover their payments from the airlines via recharges on the Virtual credit cards they used to book, but many retailers dynamically packaging manually, don’t have this protection and are fully exposed.
Seamus Conlon said “ In principle I believe that customers should always be offered a full refund as an option if a service or product cannot be supplied. Having said that none of the current rules, legislation envisaged the complete cessation of travel for many months or airlines on scale not refunding travel agents or tour operators, so we all need to be practical about timescales of refunds.
My preference is that companies secure overdrafts, loans rather than rely on customer monies which should have been refunded to fund expenses. That way you know you have cash available and you don’t have to worry about disgruntled customers destroying the reputation you have built over many years with facebook posts.
Rebound Consulting also reports that although a large number of companies are Furloughing staff, many are hesitating to Furlough their top directors or senior staff.
Will Waggott commented “ Furloughing the staff closest to you is the hardest decision to make , but often you only need admin staff to rebook customers on a rolling basis and not expensive management not used to doing the day to day jobs”
Steve Endacott also feels that many directors are forgetting to apply the same logic they have adopted in their business to their home life.
Endacott commented “ For the Travel Industry the next 9 months are going to be the hardest of our working lives, with most people on furlough or taking large pay cuts. However, many people I have spoken to, seem to have forgotten about themselves or feel it to be a failure to defer mortgages etc. It’s not, it’s just sensible to take the pressure off at home, whilst you’re going through hell at work.
I’d strongly recommend seeking Rent or mortgage holidays and suspending as many large outgoings as you can until to a time when you're back to full earnings. You do have the rest of your working life to pay these off!”