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Holiday Firms Forcing To Pay Balance For Holidays Unlikely To Go Ahead, An Analysis

Holiday Firms Forcing To Pay Balance For Holidays Unlikely To Go Ahead, An Analysis

Banter
13-May-2020

This Is Money dives into the issue many of us are facing, where we're due to pay thousands for our holiday with the likelihood it will be cancelled, or face losing our deposits.

On a personal note, this situation is particularly concerning because we'll have to decide whether to cancel and lose the deposit paid, or pay the full balance and either hope it's not going to go ahead and get a full refund. However, if the holiday does goes ahead, would the Disney World experience be anything like normal and the experience expectation we technically put our deposit down on? Some people are fine to go with whatever social distancing measures, the possibility of no fireworks, no character meet and greets etc (see the opening of Shanghai) are in place, but there is an argument to be made that it's not the holiday we booked, so should we have the right to cancel?

If customers choose to cancel and not pay the balance, they stand to lose their deposit. It means that disappointed holidaymakers, including many who have lost their jobs or who are vulnerable to the virus, are now faced with a difficult decision. They can refuse to pay and sacrifice their deposit, plus fork out to cover a cancellation fee. Or they can pay the balance and hope they can get a refund when the trip is cancelled.

Holiday firm's customer services departments are overwhelmed at the moment, and naturally they're putting most the resources they have to people travelling in the next month or so. However, that leaves people travelling in the summer stuck with this decision of whether to cut their loses or pay their balance with risk of not getting the holiday you paid for. This is compounded by the fact that Health Secretary Matt Hancock said foreign summer holidays are likely to be cancelled. People are waiting weeks and weeks for refunds for already cancelled holidays for the first couple months of the pandemic, which puts more fear into people paying their balance because they might not see that money back for a long time if their holiday is cancelled.

Some Holiday firm's are being more flexible than others, and as time goes on, hopefully they'll all at least match and be a little more flexible going forward. Virgin Holidays are now allowing anyone with a holiday booked for September 30th and before to reschedule at no cost. While currently with TUI and other tour operators, it's July 11th. If you decide now to reschedule for a holiday already booked for this summer, you will forfeit your deposit in fees.

There is also the fear that you could pay thousands for your holiday, and that company could go out of businesses. While that is mostly fine if you have a ATOL protected package, it's still throwing thousands of pounds into the unknown.

While the whole travel industry is having a tough time through this pandemic, the way they treat their customers will enhance or destroy any sort of customer loyalty in the future.
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