"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!" While Benjamin Franklin wasn't referring to holidays, so far as we know, the point stands. Planning is critical for ensuring that your trip runs smoothly. Our job is to look after you, keep you safe and provide an incredible holiday experience. We set out here what that involves.
How do you prevent something from going wrong during my holiday?
It's our job to ensure your holiday runs smoothly. But what do we do to ensure that this happens?
Firstly, before we have even put together your holiday, we have thoroughly researched and audited the components. We do this to ensure quality, safety, and that our ethics fit. In practice, this can range from carefully selecting the best local partners, doing spot checks on vehicles, guide training and hotel inspections or doing activities to see if they’re worthwhile. It could just mean ensuring we include the right restaurant for a lovely local-style lunch.
When it comes to your trip, we try to capture everything you need and enjoy upfront in our detailed consultancy process. Once we make the booking, we check it with our local partners for errors, check it with you to ensure it is everything you wanted and that we didn't miss anything. Then we do it again!
We deliberately avoid sending your travel pack until quite close to your trip. Often things such as flight times can change between booking and travelling - we take a belt and braces approach and recheck and reconfirm each component of the entire trip when sending out the tickets.
What happens if something goes wrong on my holiday?
Once you are on holiday, our local partner will be your first point of contact, with a bird's eye view of all the parts. They will contact you on arrival, and you will be supplied with a local contact number to use in any situation at any time of the day or night. We empower our team to resolve any issue there and then and they are best placed to do it quickly and efficiently.
We also have a UK number answered 24/7, 365 days a year if you would like to speak to an on-duty consultant in the UK. We would step in immediately if anything out of the ordinary happened. We're in charge and legally responsible.
If you have something you are not happy about or would like to see followed up on your return, let us know by phone, by email, or via our online customer survey. We call to speak in person no later than a week after your arrival home.
Note that we deliberately request our guides do not ask you for feedback locally, as this can cause embarrassment and is not often very useful. However, once you're back in the UK, we'd love to know about every aspect of your holiday and how it was delivered. In the unlikely event that you've had a problem and we cannot resolve it between us, we are members of ABTA (the Association of British Travel Agents) and AITO (The Travel Specialists), who offer a legal mediation service. We’re willing to bet that we can resolve it by good old fashioned direct conversations well before it comes to that.
Do you use our feedback?
Feedback is critical. Absolutely nothing beats up to the minute reports from the ground. Some of our best ideas come from customers, such as our ‘Tip-Inclusive’ holidays. Once you're home (and settled!), we send you a survey to complete and give you a call for an informal chat about how it went.
We monitor our Net Promoter Scores (NPS), a recognised way of judging the service that we provide both pre-and during your holiday. After confirming your booking, we use FEEFO for an independent assessment via a concise survey. We want to ensure there are no small niggles at this early stage, indicating that something might be wrong in the communication or delivery. We also do separate 'Net Promoter' scores for our consultants, which helps them improve their performance and our delivery. Please be as open as you can: we've been around a long time and have thick skins!
We also love to know where we stood out so that we can keep doing it some more!
How Do You Prevent Something Going Wrong on My Holiday?
As a company and as individuals, we have made plenty of mistakes over the years. We held onto ideas past their sell-by date and overlooked things. We have reacted and learned from those mistakes in our two decades of operation and have the basics down to a fine art. Here is our system to cover these 'basics':
1. Confirm booking with you via a detailed confirmation itinerary
2. Confirm booking with in-country partners
3. Authorise booking with a separate ETG team member, via a detailed checklist - our internal 'auth' process
4. Recheck everything six weeks before departure with in-country partners via our dedicated 'ticketing team'
5. Send out your 'Final Documents Travel Pack' with plenty of time for you to check everything through
6. Final check two weeks before departure (for last-minute bookings, we combine steps 3 and 4).
7. A pre-departure call for the 'just-in-case' check
There are a lot of processes around our 'magic dust' as well, but we won't list them here, except to say that it's a continual process of testing, monitoring, tweaking and adapting. We know there is always room for improvement. We share our internal feedback among the entire company and our local partners every week to ensure we are always learning, improving and leading on the delivery of better travel experiences as part of your holiday.
Do you offer refunds?
If a part of your holiday goes wrong or is not as you felt it should be, we are happy to discuss refund options and are confident in making this offer as it rarely happens. If the fault lies with the hotel, we will pass on the request and fight on your behalf. That said, we take our responsibilities seriously, so we will offer a refund not provided by a supplier if we believe that to be justified.
At ETG tips are included in our holidays, so if there is an issue with your guide and you feel that you would not have tipped, let us know. We will refund you that tip without question. Note that we will usually cover this and not try and recoup the expense from your guide.
What happens if my holiday cannot take place?
The response to the COVID-19 pandemic brought home the importance of consumer protection in the travel industry. If we are not physically able to operate your holiday, we will offer a full refund as we are legally obliged to do. When a holiday can still go ahead, we refer to our standard terms & conditions.
We try to talk in straightforward terms so you understand before you commit precisely what that commitment entails. In other words, you need to understand the amount you are risking financially and what insurance you need to offset all, or part of, this risk. We aim to try and speak human and adapt to your needs, which is why we will always go above and beyond in rescheduling or rearranging any trip where we possibly can, keeping additional costs to an absolute minimum. In short, our job is to make you get that incredible holiday experience one way or another!
OUR HOLIDAYS ARENOW TIP-INCLUSIVE
ETG has been working on the idea of tipping inclusive holidays since 2018 now. It's been a long road, and without some big hurdles to say the least, but we wanted to tell the whole story, so we've produced this long read blog to help take a deeper dive into this complex subject. We hope you enjoy!