These quick tips are designed to help you get through these hard times. If you have any tips that you want to share, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org(opens in a new tab)
As things begin to pick up, flexible cancellation policies are an essential aspect of customer service. However, this should not come at an expense to you as a business owner. We’ve written before about the challenge that comes with last-minute cancellations and the ways you can prepare yourself(opens in a new tab). But given the circumstances, it’s worthwhile reopening the issue and making the necessary modifications that are specific and appropriate to now(opens in a new tab). Clear, concise, and quite frankly readable terms & conditions on your site show that you are doing your part for your clients. Set the stage by following your municipal, territorial, or federal laws when it comes to social gatherings, group sizes, and utilizing required or optional additional precautions such as face masks. And be sure to let potential customers know exactly how you’re following these regulations. Inform people on all the precautions and safety measures your company has in place and be clear that you are ultimately not responsible if they were to become ill.
Don’t hide your terms & conditions either. Or rather, don’t assume everyone has read them just because they’re somewhere on your site. Draw more attention to your terms & conditions and have guests specifically agree to them before completing the transaction. When cancellations happen, guests want a refund, and credit card companies get involved, things can start to get murky(opens in a new tab) when it comes to responsibility. Do your research, know your legal rights as a business owner in your particular area, and let your customers know their rights as well. By being transparent, you show that there’s no hidden agenda. Be direct and address the issue at hand, tell people that if they are sick they should not participate in your tours or activities because they are putting themselves, other guests, or guides at risk. And let them know that you and your employees are also following these standards in order to protect your guests!
Find the Right Balance
However, as we said, these are difficult and unpredictable times for all of us, so don’t automatically play hardball. Whenever possible, you should always promote and emphasize the option of rebooking rather than cancelling(opens in a new tab). This way you don’t lose the sale, and the guest still has something to look forward to. Leniency with booking policies is a particularly attractive trait as uncertainty continues during the reopening process. If a client has booked with you they’re obviously interested in what you are offering, which is, in fact, one of the reasons why they’ve booked with you. Stringent and tough cancellation policies will likely come across as as unnecessary stressor that could turn away potential customers. Being reasonable and accommodating as much as possible is a positive quality that won’t go overlooked, both now and in the future. Remember that reputation management starts with you. It’s a careful balancing act to keep in mind, being flexible but also protecting precious finances for both your business and employees.
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