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1 minute ago, Selbourne said:


That TA (based in Sunderland) is a classic example of how the industry is in turmoil at present. Following the takeover of the TC shops and right up until a matter of weeks ago, the couple that run that company were the darlings of the industry. They were on TV around 6 weeks ago proudly talking about how they valued young people and apprentices etc. Roll forward a few weeks and they are making all but a handful of their Bureaux de Change staff redundant, as well as all their trainee staff, who are mostly young people who have spent a year or more learning about their new industry. In all, around 800 job losses. Absolutely tragic for the people involved. 

To be fair to that couple, though, what else can they do if the whole pack of cards, with all the other jobs, isn’t to collapse?

 

Unusually, they’ve been playing remarkably fairly with their customers over refunds, and what’s happened was absolutely unpredictable.

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I passed a shop today and the only poster/advertising in the window was something saying that they were proud to be rated #6 (not sure where) in terms of Covid refunds.

 

Sunderland?  For some reason I’d thought they were West Country.  Possibly because what used to be Bath Travel (I think I can say that as they are no more?  If not - my apologies, mods, please bleep it out) became the company we are now discussing in a roundabout manner.  
 

One of the worst-timed business decisions though, taking TC.  Shame for them

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1 minute ago, Eddie99 said:

I passed a shop today and the only poster/advertising in the window was something saying that they were proud to be rated #6 (not sure where) in terms of Covid refunds.

 

Sunderland?  For some reason I’d thought they were West Country.  Possibly because what used to be Bath Travel (I think I can say that as they are no more?  If not - my apologies, mods, please bleep it out) became the company we are now discussing in a roundabout manner.  
 

One of the worst-timed business decisions though, taking TC.  Shame for them

Terrible timing for them. Awful when someone tries to do the right thing and ends up with such awful problems.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Eddie99 said:

I passed a shop today and the only poster/advertising in the window was something saying that they were proud to be rated #6 (not sure where) in terms of Covid refunds.

 

 

This? https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/05/mse-travel-survey-results/

If so, the t/a to which we have so cunningly alluded comes in at number 2 for refunds, which makes their plight even sadder.

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1 hour ago, Harry Peterson said:

To be fair to that couple, though, what else can they do if the whole pack of cards, with all the other jobs, isn’t to collapse?

 

Unusually, they’ve been playing remarkably fairly with their customers over refunds, and what’s happened was absolutely unpredictable.


I wasn’t implying any criticism Harry, merely citing an example of how volatile the industry is. As I said, I feel very sorry for all involved.

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1 hour ago, Eddie99 said:

 

Sunderland?  For some reason I’d thought they were West Country.  Possibly because what used to be Bath Travel (I think I can say that as they are no more?  If not - my apologies, mods, please bleep it out) became the company we are now discussing in a roundabout manner. 

Yes Bath Travel was sold to the TA in the North East. Locally Bath Travel had an excellent reputation for cruises, tailor made holidays etc but was never the cheapest agent. Peter Bath has set up a couple of fly cruises to the Caribbean with P&O flying from Bournemouth.

Cathy 

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Not been around for awhile due to the pressure of work, but would like to give a bit of an update on other refunds in comparison with P&O. A major cruise TA refunded us our part payment within 3 weeks (we were not going to pay final payment as I suspected the cruise would be cancelled, which it subsequently was) our ‘cruise next’ deposits were reinstated in full and are still valid for another 3 years. British Airways cancelled one of our flights we booked for this cruise and so a non-refundable fare become refundable! Called on Monday to request full refund, credited to card today, 3 working days is pretty good I reckon. 
 

So with the refund from P&O, the money we didn’t spend on a Royal Caribbean cruise in June (moved before it was cancelled for no fee) and the latest NCL cancelled cruise, I’m sitting in our new conservatory considering my future. 
 

Not only am I working for 80% pay whilst my colleagues are receiving 80% on furlough, I’m in a small team where there is a maximum of 8 of us working at any one time, looking after around 180 corporate clients, instead of the 8 I used to!
 

Admittedly not all of them are travelling, but those that are mean we have extremely busy days. However, to confirm the message that the whole of the travel industry is in turmoil, it’s not restricted to leisure travel, we in business travel are suffering too. Before the furlough scheme ends, our business must lose 30% of the staff, 2 offices have closed during the pandemic and another 3 will be closing very soon. If the voluntary scheme doesn’t achieve the numbers, mandatory redundancy will follow. 

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6 minutes ago, peteukmcr said:

Not only am I working for 80% pay whilst my colleagues are receiving 80% on furlough, I’m in a small team where there is a maximum of 8 of us working at any one time, looking after around 180 corporate clients, instead of the 8 I used to!
 

Admittedly not all of them are travelling, but those that are mean we have extremely busy days. However, to confirm the message that the whole of the travel industry is in turmoil, it’s not restricted to leisure travel, we in business travel are suffering too. Before the furlough scheme ends, our business must lose 30% of the staff, 2 offices have closed during the pandemic and another 3 will be closing very soon. If the voluntary scheme doesn’t achieve the numbers, mandatory redundancy will follow. 

You make some interesting points there.

 

I understand there's some resentment building up in some industries between those working, like you,  and those furloughed. Particularly when those furloughed are reluctant to return. 

 

Not sure how you'd address that, but one press comment I read suggested that when employers are deciding who to retain and who to let go it's not going to be too difficult a decision. Your hard work may yet be rewarded....

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3 hours ago, Selbourne said:


I wasn’t implying any criticism Harry, merely citing an example of how volatile the industry is. As I said, I feel very sorry for all involved.

So you sympathise with P&Os plight then do you Selbourne?🙂

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2 hours ago, Eddie99 said:

I’ve flown from Bournemouth to the Caribbean with Peter Bath there at the airport to wish all the travellers “Bon Voyage”

Feels like another era 

I have never used them, but remember they had an old 737. I read that a lady did the flight seating plan and would rough it out several times until it was the best she could get it. Then she telephoned all the lead passengers to explain it. She would then be at the airport to ensure  any last minute hiccups were ironed out. It's a shame that kind of customer service has largely gone.

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7 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

So you sympathise with P&Os plight then do you Selbourne?🙂

Let's not forget though that in a recent independent survey on speed of refunds the company in question came 6th.

 

P&O came 33rd.  

 

I know where my sympathies lie and,  like you I think, I'm a Carnival shareholder!

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23 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

So you sympathise with P&Os plight then do you Selbourne?🙂


Very much so John. The suspension of all cruises is not of their making. They have been the source of many enjoyable holidays for us over the years. We have got to know a handful of P&O staff so well over the years that we consider them to be friends and we are concerned about their future prospects. I am, however, not blind to P&O’s faults. I feel that they are poorly led and they have handled the cruise refunds situation badly. 

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1 hour ago, Harry Peterson said:

You make some interesting points there.

 

I understand there's some resentment building up in some industries between those working, like you,  and those furloughed. Particularly when those furloughed are reluctant to return. 

 

Not sure how you'd address that, but one press comment I read suggested that when employers are deciding who to retain and who to let go it's not going to be too difficult a decision. Your hard work may yet be rewarded....

I heard that too.

I was told the best staff were working and the others were furlowed so hopefully Petes job will be safe.

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14 minutes ago, Selbourne said:


Very much so John. The suspension of all cruises is not of their making. They have been the source of many enjoyable holidays for us over the years. We have got to know a handful of P&O staff so well over the years that we consider them to be friends and we are concerned about their future prospects. I am, however, not blind to P&O’s faults. I feel that they are poorly led and they have handled the cruise refunds situation badly. 

+1

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17 minutes ago, Selbourne said:


Very much so John. The suspension of all cruises is not of their making. They have been the source of many enjoyable holidays for us over the years. We have got to know a handful of P&O staff so well over the years that we consider them to be friends and we are concerned about their future prospects. I am, however, not blind to P&O’s faults. I feel that they are poorly led and they have handled the cruise refunds situation badly. 

However had they been instructed to preserve cash for as long as humanly possible, then might not Carnival feel they had performed magnificently?

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5 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

However had they been instructed to preserve cash for as long as humanly possible, then might not Carnival feel they had performed magnificently?

Fair point John, but if that was in fact the case, everyone would have received their refunds at a certain number of days after the refund request. However, some people were getting refunds after 40 days, others after 120 days.

The lack of consistency suggests incompetence rather than strategic action. 

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7 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

However had they been instructed to preserve cash for as long as humanly possible, then might not Carnival feel they had performed magnificently?


Totally. As you know, I said right from the start that the delays were all about cash flow. A few disagreed with me at the time, but all of us who understand how businesses work, especially when in crisis, never had any doubt. There was a good dose of incompetence thrown in as well though. They should have processed refunds in cruise order, not randomly, and it is a disgrace that they didn’t have a robust contingency / disaster recovery plan in place for the unplanned closure of their Head Office. The last two businesses I worked for (one of which employs far more people in the U.K. than P&O) had them and we would have been up and running remotely within 24 hours. The excuses for all the delays were unbelievable for such a large business.
 

Carnival may well be happy with them and are no doubt making all the big decisions (I don’t think that Ludlow is a CEO as we would understand it, more a business unit head). Where they have failed is in basic customer service and not treating customers with respect. That will hurt them in the long run. As to whether or not that is on Carnivals radar I have no idea, but with their current cash burn I suspect it’s not high on the list. That’s a shame, as directors of well run companies should be looking well beyond the pandemic and making sure that they retain (and gain) customers. FCC isn’t enough. It’s reactive, not strategic. 

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6 hours ago, Eddie99 said:

 

Sunderland?  For some reason I’d thought they were West Country.  Possibly because what used to be Bath Travel (I think I can say that as they are no more?  If not - my apologies, mods, please bleep it out) became the company we are now discussing in a roundabout manner.  
 

One of the worst-timed business decisions though, taking TC.  Shame for them

 

He started out at the back of his mother's clothes shop at Seaham. That shop is still going but his HO is based at Sunderland, which is also where they did the training.

They have just won a contract for track and trace, trying to keep staff.

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21 hours ago, Harry Peterson said:

Around 5% is the normal negotiable discount from a UK agent, sharing the commission roughly 50/50.  That seems fair, and on an expensive cruise it’s a nice bonus, given that you still get all the discounts you’d get by booking direct.

 

Has to be the right agent though, and I believe many of us rate one particular non High Street specialist particularly highly.

 

There is a further advantage of course.  It’s the only way you can have any degree of certainty of getting a specific cabin or suite on advance booking. P&O, for some bizarre reason won’t allow it. Poor customer service, which results in their paying an agent around 10% of the price paid.

 

People are discussing the advantages of booking via a TA.  

 

I have tended to go direct to NCL when I went on a number of basic cruises on the Epic.  I knew exactly what I wanted, I knew the pricing and knew that I had got a good price.  One year it worked well because there was a price drop and I rang up myself and got a free upgrade.  Probs wouldn’t happen now due to the bidding process.  

 

One year I saw a much better price on a large US TA website.  Tried to book via them.  I explained that I didn’t live in US.  They said it didn’t matter - but when they tried taking my details of course it did.  

 

When I went on my Alaska cruise, I went to a UK based cruise specialist that I used years ago.  I found their quote for the land portion a bit eye watering, so I did that myself.  What they did do was get me much cheaper airfare when I booked the cruise portion through them.   They obtain special cruise discounts on airfare apparently.  I had to make my own arrangements to fly in to UK but it made great sense to fly from Heathrow rather than me flying from Malaga.  

 

Since then I have asked for a quote and compared doing it myself.  The price has been the same.  The last twice the agent has helped doing some leg work finding the cruise I wanted, comparing cruise lines, so I have booked through them.  The only negative is that you need to pay in full about a week earlier than if you book direct.  

 

I am on their emailing list and I am seeing some bargains for next year.  I know that DH will not entertain the idea of a cruise at all right now.  I know that he is right, but I think I would have said ‘what the heck’ and booked.  

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10 hours ago, wowzz said:

Fair point John, but if that was in fact the case, everyone would have received their refunds at a certain number of days after the refund request. However, some people were getting refunds after 40 days, others after 120 days.

The lack of consistency suggests incompetence rather than strategic action. 

Just shows the brilliance of Ludlow's strategy.:classic_rolleyes:

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48 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

Just shows the brilliance of Ludlow's strategy.:classic_rolleyes:


You are turning into DaiB 😉 Where is he BTW? I think he moderates a P&O page on FB, so perhaps he’s full time on that removing all the negative posts 😂 

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