Asia specialists unveil raft of measures. Juliet Dennis and Harry Kemble report
Wendy Wu Tours has ramped up trade support in an effort to maintain bookings, as operators and cruise lines continue to amend itineraries in response to the coronavirus crisis.
The China specialist is offering agents who persuade clients due to go to China to delay or rebook an alternative destination with Wendy Wu, rather than cancel, an extra £40. Agents already receive a £50 Love2shop voucher for every February booking with the operator.
Clients will also be offered a £100 discount for rebooking for a later date.
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Wendy Wu Tours has also brought forward the launch of a 14‑day Philippines Discovery tour – its first foray into the destination – in a further attempt to offset the impact of coronavirus on bookings.
The operator is planning to run a Vietnam mega-fam in May and will offer staff new sales training to improve conversion rates. Call centre opening hours have been extended from 5.30pm to 8.30pm on Mondays to Thursdays.
Wendy Wu, which has postponed its China fam trip from March until the autumn, sent a video message this week thanking agents for their support. It is offering to speak to agents’ clients direct on the phone from their agencies or to send business development managers to talk to them face to face.
John Warr, deputy managing director, said: “We are doing as much as we can to incentivise agents to keep bookings.” He hinted that further new destinations would be announced, saying: “Watch this space.”
He added: “China remains one of the iconic destinations in the world, with an array of sights on offer. From the Great Wall to the Terracotta Warriors, China is an experience of a lifetime.
“We encourage all agents to assist their customers in choosing a later departure date, to avoid missing out on the must-see destination. Aside from China, our other wonderful destinations have more to offer than ever, from Chile to Borneo, the options are endless.”
Other operators, including The Inspiring Travel Company and If Only, have introduced offers to promote other destinations in Asia such as Thailand and Malaysia.
Kuoni, which has cancelled trips to China until the end of April, is waiving its administration fee for amendments to bookings for Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
G Adventures has cancelled China trips to the end of March, while its National Geographic Journeys tours have been cancelled until May 31.
InsideJapan has changed its terms and conditions to allow clients to rebook for later in the year.
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