Dealing with Cancellations
As the spring hunts and summer season approaches, calls from guests inquiring about cancellations are on the rise. We have reached out to a number of our members to ask them how they are dealing with these calls. They have all expressed great concern over refunding deposits. As our industry faces the possibility of not having an operating season or at the very least having a late start to the season, considerable thought must be given to how you handle your cancellations.
We know that relationships you build with your clients are important to you and the success of your business but at a time like this, so is the revenue that you have generated from your deposits to date. Both are critical to your business’ survival. Finding a way to retain both can be a challenge but it is something you need to consider. Remember, this pandemic was impossible to foresee for anyone and it is not your fault that you cannot be open.
A number of operators have shared with us the way they are dealing with calls from guests inquiring about cancelling. This is what we have heard:
At this point, most are offering the option to postpone May/June trips for later in the season (July/August). Bear Outfitters could offer to postpone spring hunting trips to the fall (if they can accommodate the increased number of guests for the fall)
- For those guests who wish to cancel or whose trip is being cancelled due to your inability to open, offer to defer their trip to next year and offer to apply a percentage of the deposit they paid for their 2020 trip towards their 2021 (ie, 60-75% roll over). This gives you the opportunity to retain some of the deposit towards this year and shows your guests goodwill by sharing the cost with them.
- Another option would be to offer to spread the deposit over two future trips. This would help to minimize future impacts.
- Even if you have a no refund policy for deposits, these options may help to retain clients and ensure revenues for next year.
- It is not recommended that you return deposits entirely. This will put the future of your business in serious jeopardy.
You have to know that you are not alone in making these tough decisions and we hope that the information we have provided will help you.
In the future, if you do not do so already, it is recommended that you encourage your clients to purchase trip cancellation insurance. There are a number of companies that offer it and we can provide more details to anyone who may be interested in learning more.
With all of the uncertainty that this monstrous pandemic has brought on, there is one thing that is certain, there will be aspects of our businesses that will undoubtedly change.