Hello friends, we hope that you are well and keeping safe through these incredibly difficult times. We have refrained from making a statement until now, as conditions have been changing on a daily basis. But now we feel we have enough information to enable us to move forward in a way which will protect our customers, our business and this beautiful country.
IF YOU HAVE A TOUR BOOKED WITH US THIS YEAR
We are currently rescheduling our imminent and May 2020 tours into 2021 (and as far ahead as 2022 if anyone wishes to). We will be putting on several new Seven Day Outlander Tours through 2021 to enable us to accommodate everyone. These dates have already been booked with the hotels and blocked off in our diary, but they have not been released for general sale – so we are keeping spaces safe next year for our 2020 clients. As we reschedule each tour, we will open up a new tour next year. We will then transfer our customers over to next year on a date of their choice which has availability, at the same price they paid for this year – we will simply transfer you over without you having to re-book with us at all. Flights and any accommodation booked outside of our tour, should be offering the same when the time comes.
We can confirm that in mid-March we took the decision to close our diary to all new 2020 bookings until further notice, and we are not taking any final balance payments for tours booked for this year until such time that we know we are definitely going to be able to deliver the tour. When this will be is a huge unknown for everyone at the moment. At the time when your final payment is due, we will then be in a position to review your tour, and it’s at that point we will be able to reschedule you into 2021 (or 2022 if you decide not to come next year).
We have focused our business this year on Seven Day Package Tours. This means that for every tour, six people have arranged their own flights from somewhere in the world, and in most cases, they have also arranged additional accommodation – all to attend our Seven Day Outlander Tour.
For this reason we are not able to simply cancel Seven Day Tours at our own discretion, as it would create a huge ripple effect on clients’ additional travel plans. In short, we would be guaranteed to end up with many disgruntled clients. In this context, package tours are very different to one day tours. Therefore, it is vital that we wait until we are closer to the date of your tour until we can all decide, collectively as a group – all 6 clients and ourselves on each tour – how we all wish to proceed.
It’s for the same reason that we’re unable to simply cancel your tour at the present time if it is booked several months from now. If we do start cancelling Seven Day Tour bookings, and it turns out that your tour is deliverable when the time arrives, then we would be obligated to deliver the tour for the remaining people booked, which could be as few as one person.
As I’m sure you can imagine, this would be financially unviable for the survival of our business, which in turn would affect all our other future customers too. So, at this point, we have to apply our current cancellation terms and conditions to future tours, UNTIL the time comes to review your tour, which is 60 days in advance of your arrival. These terms and conditions protect not only us, but the others booked on your tour too. The cancellation terms mean that if it should need to, their tour can still go ahead. We have to take responsibility as a business to ensure that we can get through this, because if we don’t, then we would be letting down many dozens of additional people booked on future tours. We can’t let that happen.
Our Government is reviewing plans on a monthly basis, and we are going to need to follow suit. It does seem likely that this is going to go on for several months at least. It was really heart-warming to see on the news that the Chinese population are finally beginning to emerge. There is light at the end of the tunnel and we are going to get through this, one step at a time, one day at a time, and one tour at a time.
If you have a tour booked with us this year and have any questions, please contact us by email using this email address, so that we can keep track of all our clients’ questions in one safe place.
We can make you this promise: Andy and I are a solid team. We have lived and worked together 24/7 for 14 years, so we know one another very well indeed. We are currently in self-isolation at home and we are going nowhere unless one of us needs to go out to get food supplies.
We are going to work tooth and nail to get through this, no matter how hard we have to work over the coming years. We are standing stronger than ever as a team to protect you, to protect the business that we love with all our hearts, and to get our beautiful country, Scotland, through these incredibly difficult times. It is, without any doubt, a very scary time for millions of us.
We are going to keep our Outlander Facebook Page alive and vital. We are going to keep posting many of Andy’s tens of thousands of photos of this beautiful country. It has never been so important that we pull together as a collective, so that you can stand on the steps at Lallybroch, drive through the stunning mountains of Glencoe, see the awe-inspiring scenery of Skye…
Together we can ensure that our locations remain open when this ends, that our hotels remain open, and that our tourism industry survives these unprecedented times and can thrive once again.
We wish to thank you for your understanding and co-operation.
Please stay safe, and please stay in touch with us…
Andy & Di Nicholson