Travel businesses have been hit hard, but spare a thought for Corona Holidays
Travel businesses have been hit hard, but spare a thought for Corona Holidays. These are certainly unprecedented times for the entire travel industry. Although companies are incredibly good at dealing with all kinds of situations, the world has absolutely changed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic.
The last coronavirus to have largely affected the travel industry was SARS in 2003. This mainly affected the Asian long-haul market, where a sharp drop in passenger numbers was recorded. The big difference today is that the spread of the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) affects many other countries. It also changes the way we think about travel in all areas. From cruising to aviation to hotels and local attractions, nothing is spared.
Corona Holidays is one of the many guest bloggers on A Luxury Travel Blog. I recently spoke to their manager, Gail, to see if their brand had been caught up in the latest coronavirus outbreak, despite the fact that their name clearly had no direct connection to the virus.
Our conversation started with the history of the long established travel company and with general business experience. Gail explained that Corona Holidays was created around 40 years ago and that they are specialists in holidays in the Spanish Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands and city breaks in Europe. She started with them in 2001 and became owner / manager in 2017. Although she saw the no-fly business after September 11, 2001, the 2008 financial crisis and the 2010 ash cloud , she said: the travel industry is in crisis, and it’s about being honest with ourselves as a business. For the moment, we have to tear down the hatches and take full advantage of this calm time to prepare for the future return to the trip. It is and will be a difficult time for everyone. ”
I asked for information on the name of their company and if this had created any problems for them in the past few months. They said that the name Corona was chosen based on it representing the part of the atmosphere that surrounds the sun. “We could never have imagined that the name of our company would be the least in the world associated with a virus.”
Of course, coronaviruses have been around for a considerable period of time and are generally referred to by their names of MERS or SARS. The current coronavirus is COVID-19, although it is more commonly known in the UK as the coronavirus. However, in Spain it is generally called COVID-19.
Corona Holidays began to prepare for possible cancellations and changes at the end of February, when it was announced that some Italian customers had tested positive at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel in Tenerife. As a result, customers were placed in quarantine at the hotel. Gail said, “At this point, we could not have predicted to what extent travel would be affected. It was on the weekend of March 14/15 that it became clear that we were going to have to deal with cancellations and bring customers home. For example, during this particular weekend, the island of Madeira introduced an immediate and compulsory quarantine of 14 nights for all arrivals. We had customers who had to leave the next day, so we had to cancel their travel plans. ”
Spain announced a state of emergency on March 14 and the country went into receivership on March 17, including hotel guests. People could only leave their home or hotel for limited reasons. This meant that hotel guests were really limited to staying inside the hotel or visiting the nearest supermarket. The beaches were closed and no one could go out for exercise.
Gail told me that they knew that hotels all over Spain had been ordered to close the following week, so they had to change plans for many customers to make sure they got home before the closing. For 3 weeks, they had to deal with a large number of cancellations and modifications while ensuring that station customers were kept informed of plans to return home.
It was around this time that they began to receive inquiries from members of the public who sought general travel advice – mainly from people who had booked directly with hotels or those who had booked a flight only with airlines. Gail said: “In an unexpected turn of events, we found that the name of our company was attracting requests from people who were not our customers. Some people just wanted to be redirected to the Department of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs website, but others obviously needed more help. We did this by contacting hotels to arrange cancellations and helping them cancel their flights – all as a courtesy service. We have received nice letters and phone calls from these people, and I hope we will come back to them in the future. ”
Our discussion then turned to what they thought the future holds for travel and their business.
“We are currently working on our winter 2020/21 product and will extend our villa program for the summer of 2021. We will also start discussions with a few small charming hotels on the popular island of Mallorca. Regarding the name of our company, we will remain Corona Holidays. The majority of our customers have been with us for many years and the new customers who have contacted us are particularly encouraging. ”
As we all see in press articles and photos, airline fleets are anchored at airports around the world and many countries ban travel. Naturally, customer confidence is at an all-time low to even engage in travel plans right now.
Will there be immunity passports, mandatory masks on board, social distance throughout the passenger journey? Even if social distancing was possible on planes by keeping the seat of the environment free, this would lead to a price increase of 30 to 50%. However, this still does not really solve the problem of social distancing. To do this would require planes flying at 25% capacity, which simply would not be financially viable.
The travel industry originally hoped to see an element of normalcy return to the industry during the summer months, but now believes it will be in late 2020 and even until 2021 before people get feel more able to travel.
Aviation analyst Alex Macheras reported on May 14 that the airlines agree that we will not have returned to passenger demand levels before COVID-19 for at least 3 years.
Yes, it will certainly be a long and slow recovery, as there are too many obstacles to a rapid return. Of course, borders must be open at both ends of the journey for the vacation to be viable. With Spain just introducing a 14-day quarantine period for anyone arriving in the country, and the United Kingdom is soon to do the same, it is clear that travel is simply not possible.
In addition, the Department of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs advises against all except essential travel, or all travel to certain regions.
The travel industry is facing an extremely difficult period and companies must adapt their models in anticipation of a return in holiday demand. Unfortunately, we can all expect to have to get used to what has been called the “new standard”, and we may have to just be wheelchair users for the foreseeable future.