Travel operator not offering flexibility could lose billions as some increase test prices

PCR travel testing market labelled ‘disgrace’ by Walsh

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International travel has again been put in disarray. The emergence of the new Omicron Covid variant has seen countries all over the world react by closing borders.

With more travel restrictions popping up everywhere, holidaymakers are again unsure about their travel plans.

This is why transparent and flexible policies by travel companies have never been more important.

Trustly commissioned a Censuswide survey of UK consumers and found 70 percent of Britons perceive instant refunds as the most important factor when their travel is cancelled or changed.

Key considerations for holidaymakers were transparent and flexible travel booking policies, with 84 percent of Britons looking for transparency and 80 percent for flexibility.

Companies failing to provide timely refunds are set to lose £53billion over the next 12 months.

The findings come as the Government changed the requirements for coming back to the UK after a holiday abroad.

Holidaymakers are now required to take a PCR test and self-isolate while waiting for the results.

The new rule has put a damper on many Britons’ holidays.

Testing company CovidTestingDirect.com emailed its customers to say: “We are aware of some providers that have been refusing to allow customers to upgrade their tests but expecting the customers to pay full price for a Day 2 PCR test.

“Indeed, some customers have already reported a number of providers that have increased their prices since the new rule has kicked in which does feel rather opportunistic under the circumstances.

“We fully appreciate how confusing this will be for our customers.”

The company is giving its customers the option of “upgrading” from lateral flow test to PCR and only paying the difference.

On Twitter, Denis Scharrer replied to Grant Shapps’s announcement of the need for PCR tests by saying: “How about you regulate PCR tests prices for travellers… it’s an absolute scandal you have let large scale profiteering to take place.”

Before the pandemic, price was the main factor when booking travel.

A lower cost attracted holidaymakers before Covid, but it’s no longer the main thing Britons look at when booking a holiday.

With the world reacting swiftly to every twist and turn of the pandemic, flexibility in booking has become the main concern.

Alongside flexibility, clear cancellation policies were also highly important.

Britons were found to be willing to pay an average of £40 more for guaranteed flexibility.

Mike Parkinson, Director of Travel at Trustly, said: “The past 18 months have seen British holidaymakers become more apprehensive about ensuring there are processes in place to get their money back, and quickly if things go wrong.

“As demand for greater reassurance, transparency, and flexibility grows, there’s a real opportunity for travel companies and operators to gain customer trust by showcasing their commitment to offering more flexible options if something goes wrong.

“Without that guarantee, many holidaymakers will not be willing to part with their money until they receive something in return.

“Travel operators have a responsibility to ensure holidays are accessible to everyone.

“Flexible policies, clear procedures and information will be critical to giving Britons the confidence they need when making travel plans.”

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