As pressure increases on suppliers to waive cancelation fees, refund booking fees and service fees, owner of Thaba Tsweni Lodge and Safaris in Mpumalanga, Wendel Hough, writes that industry needs to understand the costs incurred.
This is something that nobody in the industry is talking about or taking into perspective, from the international consortium to the end user.
Let me illustrate. Firstly, irrespective of a client or consumer actually taking up his part of the contractual agreement (service), there are costs for every deposit made and refund done due to bank charges.
Secondly, irrespective of whether the client (consumer) actually arrives, costs are incurred when an enquiry is made, booking confirmed or cancellation requested, as the establishment or agent needs to employ reception and administration staff to deal with the enquiry, booking confirmation and cancellation and pay their salaries.
Thirdly, irrespective of the clients’ arrival, financial staff need to be employed to do the deposits and refunds and have to be paid salaries.
Finally, irrespective of the clients’ arrival, the hospitality and travel management databases used to collate all this information as well as the personnel to input the data, cost money.
These are by no means all the costs involved.
This once again emphasises the importance of terms and conditions as well as cancellation policies, which should be binding and upheld internationally. Once again the question is, what is the service rendered and when does that service commence? What do we define as the service? Who carries the risk?