After Cox & Kings crisis, tour operators are promising guaranteed departures, low cancellation charges.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
Tour operators typically highlight deals and discounts in their advertisements but promotions for 2020 summer packages are a tad different.
Thomas Cook is promising guaranteed departures in addition to its regular offers while Mumbai-based travel and tour operator Veena World is asking customers to choose travel firms wisely.
The thrust on service guarantee in advertisements comes in the backdrop of crisis at Cox & Kings.
Earlier this month, Cox & Kings cancelled Europe tours at the last minute resulting in police complaints of cheating in Kolkata.
“The recent unfortunate events in the travel industry are fresh in people’s mind and it is natural for them to worry what will happen to their tours six months from now.
"Last year, we operated 98 per cent of our announced group departures and this gives us the confidence to promise guaranteed departures.
"It is a service assurance from our side,” said Abraham Alapatt, president & group head – marketing – service quality, innovation at Thomas Cook India.
The tour operator is assuring guaranteed departures and reduced cancellation fees as part of its trip protection programme.
“While normally, customers stand to lose in case of any cancellations made between 46 and 59 days prior to departure, under this offering, the cancellation fee for the same period is as low as 5 per cent,” Thomas Cook said.
Customers will have to pay a nominal fee to avail the reduced cancellation charges.
Veena World is advising holiday goers to check track record of travel firms before making bookings.
In its advertisement in a Mumbai newspaper on Wednesday, Veena World said, “In the world of uncertainty, you should definitely be certain about your family holiday. Choose wisely. Select properly. Check track record.”
While closure of Jet Airways in April pushed up fares and increased travel costs, the collapse of Cox & Kings has dented business sentiment further.
“There is apprehension among people about travel companies but that will fizzle out. We expect demand to pick up from next month. We are partnering some former franchisees of Cox & Kings,” said Madhav Pai, founder-chairman of WOW Holidays.
“With more holiday bargains gaining the attention of potential travellers, loyalty is an important facet in today’s market.
"Holiday providers must offer original, authentic and value for price, thereby building credibility and trust with the consumer,” said SOTC’s president and country head Daniel Dsouza.
SOTC, too, is offering guaranteed departures along with early bird offers like choice of departure dates and fixed rate of exchange, among others.