As we face these unprecedented times together, our goal at WeTravel is to continue providing support to our community.
We understand that this pandemic is challenging all aspects of your travel business. Weathering the uncertainties which lie ahead will take careful planning and strategic work with your industry partners, employees, and clients.
A major factor in ensuring that your business remains viable is managing your cash flow. To avoid any unwanted surprises in already trying times, we recommend proactively preventing chargebacks or disputes caused by cancellations or the inability to deliver your services. Not only do they stop you accessing funds which you need to support your employees and business, but chargebacks can also have implications for your client relationships.
Watch the video from WeTravel to get advice on preventing chargebacks and disputes during coronavirus.
How To Prevent and Manage Chargebacks and Disputes
Be Proactive In Protecting Your Business
Being proactive with client communication during this time can save a lot of headaches later on.
Reach out the people who had paid for trips and let them know that you are available and doing everything you can to resolve queries. If they know that you are actively working through their questions related to a trip that’s no longer happening, there’s more incentive for them to work with you.
On the other hand, radio silence during uncertain times may result in chargebacks. When travelers don’t hear from you, they may assume that your business is going to close and their money disappear. In which case, they will apply to the bank to recuperate it and protect themselves from loss.
Offer Suitable Alternatives To Clients To Prevent Any Disputes
No one likes being forced into taking a particular option as compensation. Instead, offer up flexible solutions that will prevent disputes and make your clients happy. A positive experience now can help you secure the relationships which bring in bookings in the future.
Some ideas for preventing chargebacks which arise from disputes over compensation include:
- Processing a refund if a reschedule is not possible, especially if your customer asks for it
- Offering travelers a credit for future use or giving them the flexibility to reschedule trips for a date when things have stabilized
- Waiving the no-show fee if travel restrictions prevent your clients from going on their trip
Given the uncertainty of what tomorrow will look like as the coronavirus spreads, canceling or postponing your trip is not only practical but also the responsible thing to do at the moment.
Update T&C’s, As Well As Cancellation Policies For Future Trips
If you are faced with disputes over chargebacks, having very clear and concise terms & conditions, as well as cancellation policies, will work in your favor. Banks and financial institutions look for simple documents with clear terms when deciding on chargebacks.
Now is the time to update yours to make sure that they protect your business. As we learn from our experience of the times, you will likely know where, and if, your current set fell short.
Although the updated policies and documents won’t apply to the current trips you have been selling, you can include them for new tours going forward.
If you are clear on these terms and policies from the get-go, you will be able to navigate unexpected changes with confidence and foresight in your future trips.
Why Preventing Chargebacks Is Important
As you now know, there are several reasons why preventing chargebacks and managing disputes is key for your travel business.
Maintain A Steady Cashflow
Over the coming months, maintaining a steady and reliable cash flow is going to be crucial. While you are busy supporting clients in the hope to book them again in the future, you need to support your business now to get to that point.
Any unexpected client chargebacks will obviously result in a loss of the funds you have available. There are also the financial institution processing fees to consider, which are higher than if you were to process a refund.
Bad For Brand Reputation
Although sometimes unavoidable, especially given the situation, reaching the point of chargebacks can mean that communication has broken down somewhere along the line. While the times are stressful and everyone has a lot on their plate, you do need to make some time to pick up the phone or write an email if you want your business to weather the storm.
Without your input and reassurance that you are handling the situation, your clients are going to go ahead with contacting the financial institution for a refund.
Chargebacks may lead to other negative PR for your travel company as well. If a client is concerned enough to force a refund, they may well leave you bad online reviews too.
At a time when we all need to be working together, this is not the kind of coverage you want to be receiving for your brand. Once the crisis is over, travelers may be reluctant to engage in business with you if they see that you failed to support clients during these trying times.
Best Practices For Managing Disputes
If you are having a hard time finding perspective when negotiating disputes with your clients, keep these pointers in mind:
- Make it easy for them to contact you – you want clients to talk to you before they go to the bank
- Provide excellent customer service and support at all times
- Be clear and empathetic in communication
- If clients ask, issue refunds quickly with no strings attached
- Let them know about any delays you are experiencing
- Respond to queries as soon as possible – leaving anyone hanging can lead to unhappy customers
- Be flexible given the times and stress that everyone is under
As the situation with the coronavirus develops, we can expect more uncertainties regarding travel in the future. Proactively managing disputes and preventing chargebacks during these times can provide your travel business with a degree of relief on the chargeback front. And it’s an indicator of solid client communication.
If you haven’t already seen our list of helpful resources for travel companies to manage their business during coronavirus, then take a look here. We will be updating it as we go along with links to help our community during this time.
If you have any questions for us at WeTravel, then get in touch. Our team is always here to help. Until then, stay safe.