The dust has finally settled, at least the dangerous dust, and the planes are flying high. Many people still remain stranded, but normality is expected soon. So what has the travel industry learnt? I suspect that what was already known by experienced industry campaigners has simply been proven. Whilst the volcanic ash was unprecedented, it could always have been something else such as a heatwave melting runways or alike. The principle remains that it will be for courts to decide upon whom the responsibility of paying the bills and compensation ultimately lies. To my mind, this really is nobody's fault and people have to take care of themselves. Unexpected happenings do occur and why should tour operators be left to foot the bill? Why airlines for that matter? What has transpired is that I am not aware of any bed banks covering chrges for clients abroad, though am happy to be advised and proven wrong if that is the case. So, those who have not booked packages have potentially been left with little or no recourse, and perhaps little assistance abroad. I have heard of many being helped beyond the call of duty. Mosaic Holidays http://www.mosaicholidays.co.uk/ were working round the clock and others were too, I'm sure. I suspect the eventual winners will be the advisors and legal teams who would have been inundated with calls for advice.
Now the complaint letters begin to roll in as people have recovered from their ordeals and look to pin the blame on someone else in order to make a buck. I hope that companies stick to their guns and act in a manner they deem to be fair and just.
As everyone fights harder for business, hotels and destinations need to seek new ways of attracting tourists and the MICE market. At present, discounting still seems to be far too prominent, but there are also added value offers around that offer something really tangible. However, it seems everyone is fighting for a market that is not convinced it should travel, with a lack of certainty still prevailing. It is down to hotels, resorts, destinations and countries to innovate and use the services of local companies (or perhaps I should say people) who really know how to get to he people who are selling holidays, and who can create a co-ordinated, integrated marketing campaign. Awareness and accessibility are fundamental, though it sure helps to have some unique selling points too. I am gearing myself up for next week's ITB show in Berlin where I shall be meeting with organisations for whom Darren Panto Associates can make a real difference. We have the ideas, contacts, knowledge and determination to make it happen - as we say: "Your success is our success."