Latest news from Adventure Alternative and details regarding our policy on refunds, postponements and future plans due to the pandemic.
Now that we are several months into the corona virus pandemic and the initial shock of the situation has given way to a change in how we currently live our lives, and now with the prospect of restrictions being lifted, I wanted to update clients who have bookings with us, and future clients, of how I am managing things with Adventure Alternative.
Presently we are receiving more enquiries and bookings than we have done for quite some time. And of course, we understand why - as we would also like to be out enjoying the peaceful calm of the mountains! We all need something to look forward to and we are planning ahead for when we can get up above the clouds again. We are currently monitoring all the countries where we work and are in constant contact with our global teams in Kenya, Nepal, Russia, Tanzania and Borneo. At present we are cancelling trips if they can’t run though realistically, we can only look 4 – 6 weeks in advance.
What happens if my holiday cannot run due to Covid 19?
We have three options for you as follows:
1) We are happy to postpone your trip to a later date. There are no costs or penalties to do this.
2) You have the option of moving to another destination or trip. In this case we are happy to move that booking for you and again there would be no penalty or fee to do so. If you would still like to go on a trip but can’t confirm a date at present we will remain flexible and can move trip dates several times for you, or we can provide you with a Refund Credit note (RCN) which is valid for 1 year and can be used to book any trip or destination within that time. This option is fully covered under our financial bond, so you can be assured that your money is 100% secure.
3) The other option is to request a refund and although the media is full of stories of companies refusing refunds, forcing RCN’s on people, or delaying payments, I like to take a more philosophical and friendly approach and say that I would be happy to pay the money you’ve paid us back in full. I think now is not the time to add to people’s stress and it’s much more important to me that my relationship with my clients allows us, as a small company, to continue in the future with a good reputation and hopefully you’ll join us at a later date on a fantastic trek or expedition.
You can be assured that all client money we hold is kept in a separate client account which is never touched until after a trip has concluded, and that Adventure Alternative is financially secure and fully bonded.
I appreciate that there is a lot of uncertainty at present, but I hope the options above gives some clarity and allows you to plan.
If you would like to have a chat about your plans or ambitions please do contact me on email@example.com
How is the Travel Industry and Adventure Alternative coping during the Pandemic?
The travel industry has been tying itself in knots over refunds, refund credit notes, postponements and at the same time experiencing lots of negative press. It's been quite unfair really as tour companies have been caught in the middle between clients who want their money back and suppliers or airlines who won't return any money to the tour companies. Behind the scenes I cannot tell you how many thousands of emails and messages there have been about everything from regulations to insurance policies, legal requirements, government schemes, credit card paybacks and so much more. The uncertainty and distress has been overwhelming and I really do feel that some travel companies have been unfairly portrayed. I know a lot of the company owners and they’re decent people, they're concerned parents and emotional folk who have been watching their business income dissolve before their eyes whilst burdening the heavy weight of responsibility to their work force and supply chain.
At Adventure Alternative we are quite fortunate that our clients were mostly happy to postpone until later in 2020 or to go on holiday in 2021. I have now managed to get financial support in place for my local staff around the globe and have helped them to hibernate their companies and secured their personal income whilst we weather this storm. They're currently in lockdown and we talk a lot about emotional wellbeing at this time. They all tell me how many people working in tourism in their countries have lost their jobs and are now destitute. I am so happy that I can keep our staff on pay and in the UK we have availed of the UK Government schemes for furloughed staff
To be honest it has been a stressful time with many nights of missed sleep, whilst doing, as everyone else has been, juggling home schooling, family life, work, all whilst our community norms have been turned upside down and inside out! It's hard to stem the feeling of rising panic at times, but I know that we all have good and bad days. I think coming from a mountaineering perspective - weathering many storms on high mountains has taught me resilience, how to see through the blizzard and know that high above the driving snow and ravaging winds, the sun still shines and will return. Those experiences have given me solace and the resolve to look through the current storm to the better days ahead, whilst also allowing me to manage the protection of the people in the Adventure Alternative family so that we can get to that time.
How is your Charity 'Moving Mountains' coping with the Pandemic?
With my charity Moving Mountains I had to work with my trustees to help all those street kids in Kenya get their daily food in lockdown and keep paying the teachers who were sitting at home now. We had to look at each and every case, set up campaigns, and send out messages of support and hope. We’re not in a great place but Moving Mountains has gained some much appreciated support from our fantastic fundraisers and every single penny of that support is continuing to help people through the pandemic.
Below are a couple of links which you might be interested in:
1. We are working with AITO (The Specialist Travel Association) to understand peoples’ attitudes to holidays in the future. All you have to do is complete this quick survey – it will take around five minutes, and your responses are strictly confidential and you could win £100 Love2Shop gift voucher.
2. If you've got any positive, nice stories about travel companies that have done something that's impressed you, you can give them a shout out on this website Shine on Travel.
Thanks to all those people I've been in contact with. You have all been really friendly and decent about your cancelled / postponed holiday and very understanding. It's a hard time for all of us, and I do wish you all strength as we get through this together.