As a result of the ever evolving challenge created by the global spread of the COVID-19 virus, we find ourselves in an unprecedented time. The steps being implemented today are in the best interest of our guests, our valued partners (you!) and Uniworld as a company. As a follow up to the email you may have received last night from our CEO, Ellen Bettridge, I wanted to share with you the following immediate news regarding cancellations and commercial policies changing for our LATAM team.
1) Suspension of all European itineraries until April 23, 2020:
Due to the operational challenges brought on by the onset of the COVID-19 virus, we are suspending all cruises in Europe until April 23rd and will be offering impacted guests the chance to rebook on any 2020 or 2021 cruise OR receive a Future Cruise Credit eligible to be used during the next 24 months. An email has been sent today to both our partners (see attached) and our guests and the Uniworld website has been updated: https://www.uniworld.com/en/already-booked/travel-information
2) Updated Cancellation Policy:
To help alleviate the uncertainty our guests may be feeling about their upcoming cruise, we have released a temporary update to the terms of our cancellation policy for all 2020 cruises to allow our guests more time to make a decision about their travel plans. Guests can cancel up to 14 days prior to their cruise and receive a Future Cruise Credit for the penalty amount incurred at time of cancellation, or they can rebook any 2020 cruise without penalty. Non-penalized amount will be refunded at time of cancellation. Guests also have the option to rebook with one of our Travel Corporation sister brands for 2020 or 2021. Exception: Published cancellation policies will apply to cruise/tours booked for Oberammergau.
3) All 2020 FAM and AGENT RATE trips for both Uniworld and U River Cruises have been cancelled for the remainder of 2020:
- Revenue Management has suspended all FAM rates and inventory for the remainder of 2020 as we will need this inventory for accommodating guests and future bookings.
- We will restore our FAM inventory once again in 2021 once the situation and circumstances have become normalized because of our belief in the potential to benefit the most from experiencing our brand and that sentiment has not changed and we still very much want you and your valued sub-agents to travel with us!
- We will look at re-establishing inventory and availability towards in the end of 2020 so that a future date in 2021 can be selected.
4) 2020 Co-Op Funding Suspended until June 30th
There continues to be a diminutive demand for travel and in particular cruise travel. As a result, we have made the decision to suspend all co-operative marketing funding through the end of the second quarter (June 30) for LATAM. We feel it’s necessary to take these measure to ensure our funding, as well as the funding you provide on your end as our partner, is successfully utilized. Should we have marketing initiatives that are “in the pipeline”, we will be halting efforts to complete these, and holding funding for future initiatives.
- Regarding co-op marketing associated with upcoming events, these funds will also be suspended as I am simply unable to travel to attend these events through the end of the second quarter (June 30).
- It is our intention to reallocate these suspended marketing co-op funds to future initiatives in late Q3 and beyond, possibly into 2021. We appreciate your understanding and support as we proactively address the booking climate in this every changing world.
We sincerely appreciate your understanding during these difficult times. Rest assured I remain committed to your success and remain available either by email or phone should you have further questions. Please keep in mind that tough times never last, but tough teams so. I am with you during these times and look forward to brighter days ahead. Our policies will be updated going forward and always found at the link I have provided above so you can always reference this link going forward. I will also forward any news or developments going forward.