A lot’s changing – fast. In March alone, we’ve seen an increase in lockdowns, restrictions and quarantines that have forced the travel community, and many other sectors to come to a complete stop.
Even in the past two weeks, you may have fallen into a frenzy in response to COVID19—whether it be from setting up preventative measures to keep your business, guests, and team safe to reducing your operations (or even gearing down the tour operator software for full hibernation). Of course, responding to cancellation and postponement requests coming right, left and centre is no fun at all.
Postpone, don’t cancel!
As the entire industry braces for change, it’s time to get creative with how you navigate through this challenging, cancellation-ridden period. When looking at our airline, hotel, and short-term rental counterparts, we’ve noticed fierce debate and backlash surrounding sharply different cancellation and refund policies that have resulted in negative brand sentiment and strained guest relationships.
Travellers in turn are probably feeling equally frustrated by how the global pandemic is personally and financially impacting their daily lives as well as their travel plans. Although now might not be the appropriate time for travel, offering a postponement solution can be a win-win alternative for both guests and tour and activity operators when the industry inevitably rebounds.
Customer Credit Balance from Zaui Tour Operator Software in Times of Uncertainty
There are many unknowns and challenges surrounding the impact of a health outbreak like COVID-19, but one thing we do know, and within our control is the ability to deliver hassle-free cancellation and customer credit experiences.
Guests remember the cancellation experience more vividly than the rate they paid. Where circumstances permit, offer your guests the option of customer credit or complementary credit for future bookings and purchases.
Zaui’s Customer Credit Balance provides operators with an easy solution for issuing credit to guests deferring travel and looking to redeem their already-purchased tour or activity at a future date. Operators can also add additional notes to the credit for general visibility and awareness for the internal team.
This versatile feature comes in handy during extenuating circumstances and crises such as natural disasters, health outbreaks, operational closures and can also be useful during regular business operations, serving as a foundational block for a future credit/rewards system.
3 Scenarios How Zaui’s Tour Operator Software can Help
1. Individual Guest Cancellations and Postponements
Individual guests looking to cancel or postpone their tour can have their full booking value reissued in the form of customer credit. When your guest is ready to book again, they have peace of mind knowing there is a stored balance awaiting their redemption.
*Guests who are unable to defer their trip and prefer a full refund (to their original form of payment), can be directed to your operations team for 1:1 phone support to facilitate the refund process.
2. Operator Tour and Activity Cancellations
As the situation continues to develop, your business may already be considering suspending tours and activities scheduled for the next few weeks and perhaps months.
To stay proactive, operators can issue out email communications notifying guests of the upcoming tour and activity changes and cancellations, along with your cancellation or postponement policies stated clearly and transparently. Guests can be given the option to have the full value of their booking automatically moved to customer credit or their full payment refunded via 1:1 phone support.
3. Extra Credit🎁
A great way to build goodwill and encourage future bookings may be to offer additional credit or alternative incentives and upgrades for guests choosing to postpone travel over simply cancelling. This extra credit can be used towards future tours and purchases. The credited balance can be applied directly to the customer profile, and guests can be notified by email and encouraged to reschedule at a safer, more convenient date in the future.
Getting Through This Together✊
In times like these, it’s crucial to build strong human connections, show sensitivity and support, and spread goodwill. Community, creativity and resilience are the pillars we need to help weather the storm. The short term is strange right now, but it’s a strong case for investing in the long term and laying the groundwork for the road to recovery.
Please know that you’re not alone, and we’re here to help you through this unforeseen crisis. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our Customer Success team.