Travel Agent Response To Coronavirus Might Damage Customer Loyalty
How travel agents and airlines are responding to their customers and making refunds easy to get, will shape the future of their customer loyalty base.
Airlines and tour operators, as well as the entire tourism industry, is taking a huge hit due to the current Coronavirus pandemic. We've recently lost Thomas Cook (prior to pandemic), Flybe and others. Until this pandemic is over, it'll be hard to say what other airlines or travel companies we'll end up losing. The way these companies are run shows how effective they are at navigating downturns. Travel is a delicate industry that relies on a strong economy. Easyjet for example, have said they have the cash reserves and can reduce operations to reduce costs during this downturn, but other airlines like Virgin are going to need huge cash injections or risk going bust.
For those who have upcoming holidays that need to be rescheduled or canceled, I would generally tell people to reschedule because every refund does hurt the tour operators in this tough time, However, if you want a refund, you are entitled to it. Keep in mind that less airlines will likely result in higher prices overall in the future. Just look what how some Orlando flights are priced now since Thomas Cook Airlines were taken out of the competition pool.
From recent polls, the most popular way our followers book their holiday is to book directly through Disney, and add flights later. Most people have an airline preference, but sometimes it does come down to cost. For those who do have a preference, they can be quite loyal to an airline.
For those who choose to have a refund, the way your tour operator or airline handles it, is going to either enhance your loyalty or completely destroy it. Many people are reporting that they're struggling to get refunds, and just like insurance companies, they can have your loyalty until they screw you over. While I sympathise the tough time the travel industry is going through, this is not the time to burn the loyalty of your customers. Because let's face it, we're going back to Disney World, it just might not be through you.