Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
Phil Hopkins
Arts & Travel Editor
9:00 AM 11th July 2020

Travel Initiatives Boost Booking Confidence

Two new initiatives designed to reassure consumers as they start to plan and book their holidays, have been launched by Sovereign Luxury Travel and Citalia.

‘Book with Confidence’ and ‘Travel with Confidence’ have been created based on genuine consumer concerns and aim to provide solutions to those questions many people have had about booking holidays and travelling in the months ahead.

Recent research amongst Sovereign and Citalia clients revealed that perceived standards of health and safety in a destination and flexibility on booking conditions are in the top three considerations for booking a holiday in the current climate along with over 90% of respondents looking for a ‘Booking Confidence’ promise from their tour operator.

With concern about populated-sites clients are most likely to request a small/boutique hotel, a resort complex with private villa-style accommodation on site or opt for a private villa with resort facilities or private apartment.

Key worries are limited experiences in the destination due to the impact of Covid-19 on local tourism attractions, followed by health and safety protocols on airlines and travel disruption and curtailment / ability to get to the destination or home.

With over 90% of clients intending to take a holiday in 2021, and almost 50% looking to holiday in the next six months these points have been addressed in the two confidence promises.

Book with Confidence is a package of flexibility and incentive initiatives including:

- Deposits reduced to £100 pp for holidays with scheduled flights
- Holidays based on low cost flights incur a deposit of £100 pp plus the flight cost
- Final payment due date reduced to ten weeks prior to departure
- Administration fees are now free up to and including three changes
- Cancellation is free up to ten weeks before departure (ten – three weeks pays flight only for scheduled flights and flight costs only up to three weeks for low cost carriers)

At the heart of Travel with Confidence are five pillars, based on the entrenched values of the brands, highlighting key principles and processes to provide ultimate reassurance for customers. The pillars are:

Experts – both Sovereign and Citalia are ABTA and ATOL bonded and with experience in booking holidays for 45 years, offering 24/7 concierge service for ultimate peace of mind

Destination Knowledge – ensuring staff destination knowledge is paramount so that all customer questions can be answered and resolved

Trusted Partners – working with partners that have customer safety and wellbeing at their core

Privacy Options – offering an extensive range of private villas / apartments with access to resort facilities and in-room dining to allow for a more secluded holiday experience away from the crowds. In addition, Sovereign holidays all feature private transfers as standard meaning a high level of comfort and spaciousness and airport lounge access means customers avoid the hustle and bustle of the main terminal.

Health and Safety - encouraging high standards through trusted partners with robust health and safety audits in place