posted on 11/08/20
To ensure accurate and up to date information, we have regular contact with, and are seeking information from, a very wide range of sources – the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Public Health England, European Center for Disease Prevention & Control, NHS and health authorities in the destination, ABTA, AITO, International SOS & Control Risks. We are also speaking to people who live in the places we travel to. In this it helps that we have a multi-lingual team, and that we are well respected.
Every one of our tours and events is evaluated in detail by our staff to ascertain viability and feasibility. We consult with suppliers at every place our clients will visit, stay and eat, and with transport providers. Our approach, and the infection prevention measures, are being tailored for each particular tour and destination. This evaluation is an ongoing process, right up to the departure date and throughout the tour.
We are supplying detailed information to everyone who is due to travel about ten weeks before departure. At this point, we share any changes to the itinerary and the impact of safety measures or local restrictions. If there are subsequent developments, we contact you again.
We insist on the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene from all our suppliers. We are sending them our detailed specifications and requesting their compliance, and their protocols. Incidentally, our health and safety policy was in place long before this pandemic, and the trust cultivated with suppliers over many years is paying dividends now.
It is unlikely that a tour in 2020 will run with as many as a dozen participants. This reduces a commonly voiced anxiety about travelling in a group.
From the outset of this crisis, we have wanted to talk to you, and we have had phone conversations with hundreds of you on several continents – while the correspondence by e-mail continues as well. With the majority of staff on furlough, those working have been under some pressure, not least because many of the communications are not conveying good news.
However, it is these conversations that bring meaning to what we are doing. Every day snippets of phone calls or extracts from e-mails are shared (internally); what better way to lift the mood and restore motivation than to read comments like those below. All of us thank you for your continued support and solidarity.
'I have been so impressed by the way MRT has dealt with everything and kept everyone informed, both directly and via your website. It is much appreciated. I look forward to better times and travelling with you again in 2021.'
'May I say that I am deeply impressed with MRT’s exemplary processes that have kept me fully informed, particularly in such a difficult time. I feel you think of me as a person, not just a “client” (although of course I am) nor a number.'
'The trips are all well-planned and totally hassle free. You show the same efficiency in handling the unprecedented difficulties posed by the pandemic, and I can’t even begin to imagine how hard everyone is working at your end.'
'The whole attitude has been to inform and advise, as a result I continue to totally trust Martin Randall to have my best interests at heart. That says a lot for a company in business with a view to profit and indeed survival in these times.'
We have cancelled 140 tours and festivals so far due to Covid-19. In each case, we have appealed to our clients to transfer their money to a future booking or to accept a Refund Credit Note (both offer full financial protection). This is the primary way we will survive this crisis. However, if a client still booked at the time we have cancelled has asked for a refund, we have given it, without prevarication.
We have studied a number of new policies that cover a range of Covid-related eventualities, and cross-examined the firms issuing them. We are not permitted by the Financial Conduct Authority to make recommendations, but we can inform you of a couple you can contact.