Office Update & Coronavirus – 28 May, 2020
Information for Destination International Holidays Customers.
We hope you are all staying well and safe during these extraordinary times. We appreciate your continued support and patience while we update your bookings under these challenging conditions.
We are in the process of changing all reservations that were scheduled until July, 2020. If you have a booking during these months, your reservation will be deferred.
A big thank you to our customers that continue booking for 2021 and it’s exciting to see tour operators launching more 2021 departures. We are now offering no-deposit on 2021 international bookings until 1 August, 2020. So when you book your 2021 overseas holiday you won’t have to pay a cent to lock in a special deal!
We have also launched our Down Under Deals with many great Aussie holidays now available. So when the time is right and you’re able to explore more of Australia, make sure you view our website to see the incredible selection of travel experiences that we can offer close to home.
Destination International Holidays continues to monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation very closely and government bans on overseas travel and domestic travel restrictions remain in place. We join the authorities in wanting you to only travel when it is safe to do so. You can visit the smartraveller.gov.au for more information on current travel advice.
Please see our below answers to frequently asked questions about upcoming travel arrangements. You can also watch the below video to get a greater understanding of how the travel industry is affected by the pandemic.
We thank all of our customers for your valued support and kind words during these tough times. You mean the world to us!
Bookings Being Actioned in Date Order
We are now actioning tour deferment bookings up until July 2020.
Due to the high volume of requests and complexities with re-booking each reservation, your consultant will be in touch in order of departure dates.
We understand customers are eager to receive updates on their holiday. You can email your travel consultant at any time and we will be pleased to share whatever news we have available.
We thank you again for your understanding while our team is working extremely hard to reach out to all of our travellers with future bookings as soon as possible.
Our phones will be answered between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm Monday to Friday on phone number 1300 813391, but email is the best way to reach your consultant (see below).
There will only be one travel consultant per day on telephone duty, so we appreciate your understanding while there will be longer waiting periods than normal to speak to a member of our team.
Our office in Kew is temporarily closed until further notice, but our travel consultants continue to work from home.
How to Contact Your Travel Consultant
Due to the sheer number of reservations we are carefully re-booking, the best form of contact is via email.
If you know the name of your travel consultant, you can contact them as follows:
Karen – phone 0499 921 609, email [email protected]
Dave – phone 0499 902 064, email [email protected]
Mark – phone 0459 097 162, email [email protected]
Cati – phone 0418 556 565, email [email protected]
Laura – phone 0499 927 954, email [email protected]
Leanne – phone 0437 851 966, email [email protected]
Some of our team will be taking annual leave during the COVID-19 situation. If your enquiry can wait until they return, that would be greatly appreciated. For anything urgent, please see above for who to contact in their absence.
If you have not heard from your consultant within 2 business days, please send a friendly reminder email to [email protected] and she will follow up for you as soon as possible.
You can also still reach our office by phoning 1300 813391.
See why travel credits are being offered rather than refunds
This video gives a great explanation of how the travel industry works. It also helps travellers understand why credits are being offered rather than refunds in most cases or why a refund is taking longer to process.
Previously, all airline tickets were only valid for 12 months from the date you purchased the ticket. This would have been outlined in the airfare conditions that your travel consultant communicated to you when purchasing.
All airline tickets remain non-refundable, but several airlines are now offering extensions on their tickets and you can defer travel to a later date with amendment fees being waived.
Qantas and Emirates are allowing passengers to use the value of your airfare for travel until 31 December 2021.
Qantas is working on flights departing until 30 September, 2020, but for many airlines there has been no decision made yet on airline ticket departure dates from 01 July, 2020 to 31 March 2021.
In most cases there will be no change fees applied to the ticket, and nothing extra to pay if your new flights are of the same or lesser value as your original ticket.
It is important to note that airfares have different travel seasons and booking categories. So it is possible that the date you choose to rebook your flight may be in a higher season or more expensive seat category and you would then need to pay more for your airfares. All of this will be explained to you by your travel consultant when they contact you about the rebooking process.
We are monitoring each booking very closely and we will be in touch regarding your booking as soon as we have information from your carrier.
Tour & Cruise Bookings
All overseas tours departing until 30 September 2020 will be suspended at this stage. These tours will not be operating and will be deferred to new dates in 2021.
We anticipate that tours departing from 01 October to 30 November 2020 will also be deferred, but there is no policy in place on these departure dates at this time.
Our office is reliant on notifications from tour operators. For example, Gate 1 Travel is currently only working on their tours departing until 31 July, 2020.
Cruise lines are also deferring bookings and notifying us about departures in date order. MSC is currently working on cruises until 31 July, 2020.
Once we receive notification from the tour or cruise operator, your travel consultant will be in contact in departure order.
When changing to 2021, fees, if any, will be minimal and will only apply if services are of a higher price than your original booking. If you elect to cancel a confirmed booking, in most cases full conditions and normal cancellation fees will apply.
Deferring or Cancelling Future Bookings
All deferment and cancellation information is attainable from your assigned travel consultant. If you choose not to travel and request a refund, then you need to contact your travel insurance provider.
The travel industry response to COVID-19 reservations is as follows:
- Destination International Holidays is not holding your money. As soon as you make a payment it is transferred to the travel supplier (airline, tour company, hotel etc) to confirm your reservation.
- The ACCC has advised the travel industry to treat cancelled trips due to government restrictions in line with terms and conditions of the contract.
- Passengers’ travel arrangements are non-refundable, subject to the original contract.
- Most tour and cruise reservations may be re-booked for travel up to 18 months.
- With airfares, we are required to follow the exact terms and conditions of the airline in question.
- Travel agents act as agents for the suppliers. The supplier, not the agent, determines whether you receive a credit or a refund, depending on the terms and conditions of purchase.
- Destination International Holidays is contractually obliged to pass on the conditions imposed by all service providers, including airlines, hotels and tour companies.
- The supplier is holding your funds, not Destination International holidays, so any refunds must be released from the supplier before being credited to the client.
If a refund is available, any airlines, cruise, tour companies and hotels normally take up to 12 weeks to process refunds. In the current environment, you can expect significant delays of 3-6 months on top of this. These delays are not the fault of Destination International Holidays and we are doing all we can in the face of this pandemic to service our clients as promptly as possible.
We continue to support our clients by managing their bookings in ways that provides the best options and service for our customers.
Travel Insurance Claims
Please contact your travel insurance company first to see if they will allow you to make a claim based on a COVID-19 travel period cancellation. It’s important that you call them directly and the insurance company will be able to let you know what information is required to submit a claim.
Destination International Holidays can assist with the preparation of a claim letter only if you originally paid for your travel arrangements directly to our company. If you paid for your travel services elsewhere, you will need to contact that company to provide the claim letter for you.
In all cases, you will need to call your travel insurance company first to confirm if you are covered.
Our office cannot write a claim letter for our direct clients based on insurance company websites. It is important that you get very clear instructions from your insurance provider over the phone to make the claim. This step is essential in any travel insurance claim.
Any fees you are charged, or any other loss you may have experienced, should be pursued under your travel insurance. Even if you have been denied a claim, you can escalate the matter as a complaint to the insurer. If this fails, a complaint can also be lodged with the Australian Financial Complaint Authority (AFCA). As the Insurance Council of Australia has declared the pandemic a ‘catastrophe’ a special team has been set up by AFCA to review insurance policies with a lens of ‘fairness’.
30+ years’ experience and still going strong!
Destination International Holidays in one of Australia’s leading independent travel agencies. We have over 30 years in the travel industry and an expert team of experienced travel advisors. This puts us in a very strong position to ride out the challenges that the world is facing today.
Destination International Holidays is also a registered ATAS agent. ATAS is a national accreditation scheme by the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), which endorses travel agencies who have met strict financial and customer service criteria. This means we can offer you peace of mind when planning and purchasing your travel arrangements.
ATAS accreditation also requires us to process all client funds via a Travel Trust account. Any booking payment is deposited to the trust account, then paid promptly and directly to our suppliers to confirm your reservations. We only deal with reputable airlines and accredited overseas companies that also operate travel trust accounts. No matter when your date of travel, this strict criteria ensures your money is protected for your future travel arrangements.
Here are the best ways you can keep up to date:
1/ Re-visit this web page for the latest information.
2/ Follow us on Facebook at Destination International Holidays. Travel advice and policy information will be posted here regularly.
3/ Join our Travel Club, as we will send news of the most important updates to our email subscribers.
We are deeply grateful for the support from all our loyal and valued travellers and look forward to being able to assist you all soon.
Thank you for your understanding during these extreme times.
Destination International Holidays Management