Aggressor Adventures Charts New Waters on the Client Engagement Front

Aggressor Adventures has taken a deep dive into ramping up its client engagements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most notably, the tour operator, which specializes in liveaboard scuba diving itineraries, has partnered with dive suppliers and manufacturers to offer incentives for customers to buy their products—thus keeping them engaged and ready to use those products once the coronavirus is suppressed.

“We have had a great response from their customers sending us receipts showing the proof of purchase so they can receive a voucher for future use with us,” said Aggressor Adventures CEO Wayne Brown. “We have also had other suppliers hear about the program and ask if we can partner with them.”

Although Aggressor doesn’t receive a portion of those sales, “we see the access to their customers for potential future sales with us as more than ample compensation and hope it has helped their sales as well,” he said.

The company is also engaging its clients in a variety of other ways, as well. “We have a very extensive list, that continues to grow, of customer engagement initiatives. Our first was to ensure all the destination staff follow our ‘Clean, Sanitize & Refresh’ program for deep cleaning and sanitizing, as well as refreshing linens, painting and repairs,” Brown said. “They then send us weekly photos and videos that we post to our social media, as well as create video montages to post.”

Additionally, Aggressor has featured its chefs around the world to create three- to five-minute videos for its “Cooking with Chef” series, with a focus on favorite local dishes. “These are shared on Facebook, as well as our site,” he said.

The company is conducting twice-weekly Zoom sessions, some of which are hosted by celebrities. Sessions include talks with Les Stroud, creator and star of “Survivorman,” who shares his past and upcoming adventures with Richard Wiese, Explorer Club president and host of the “Born To Explore” television show.

The Zoom sessions also feature yacht captions who provide details on their destinations.

“An upcoming [session will focus] on how we will keep our guests as safe a possible once operations resume with all the updated procedures and sanitizing efforts,” Brown said. “We will be announcing in an upcoming eNews letter to our guests about June Ocean Clean Up Month, asking them to help with local waters, whether that be salt or fresh water, and to send us pictures and videos of them cleaning up for us to share.”

The operator also launched the Aggressor Addicts Facebook group for guests who have traveled with the company at least once; it is running fun weekly contests, enabling group members to win gifts and vouchers.

Looking to expand beyond the dive market, Aggressor began adding river cruising and safari lodges to its portfolio several years ago. “Moving into river cruises was an easy transition. Adding safari lodges in places with unique cultures and environments was the next step to further expand the adventures a guest can participate in with us,” Brown said. “I have adhered to our small group bespoke offerings with these new adventures also. Having only 16 to 22 guests allows us to connect personally with each guest and ensure they get the most out of their time with us.”

More than half us Aggressor’s reservations come from travel advisors, Brown said. “We have always heavily supported them with free advertising and marketing materials, and even offer them a commission should one of their past customers start booking directly with us.”

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Bob Iger Details What's Needed to Reopen Disney Parks

Disney Chairman Bob Iger is among the group of business leaders selected to a special California task force focused on reviving the state’s economy amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

It’s been more than a month since Disney parks, including California’s Disneyland Resort, were temporarily shuttered in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. While many guests are eager to get back, Iger recently outlined some of the challenges as well as potential solutions for parks when it comes to reopening.

“Clearly, making people feel safe from getting the virus is the biggest obstacle and it’s clearly complicated,” Iger told KABC. “It’s not just about—as far as we know—social distancing. It’s about taking a number of steps, implementing a number of procedures to make sure that people feel safe.”

As many experts have already pointed out, Iger believes expanded testing will be necessary before Disney parks can open their doors again.

“It’s likely that we’re going to need some mass testing, at scale, and some form of contact tracing as well so that we can identify people who have been exposed or people who have had the virus and may be of harm to others,” he added, noting that a vaccine is still likely months to a year away.

Earlier this month, Iger suggested that Disney parks could potentially screen guests for illnesses when they reopen to the public. “Just as we now do bag checks for everybody that goes into our parks, it could be that at some point we add a component of that that takes people’s temperatures, as a for-instance,” he said in an interview with Barron’s.

There’s currently no timetable as to when Disney parks will reopen. However, Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort call centers are not taking any bookings for the months of April and May, Disney confirmed in late March.

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Jet2 cancels all flights and holidays up to mid-June

As the coronavirus crisis deepens, Britain’s second-biggest holiday company has cancelled all flights and holidays up to mid-June.

Jet2, based in Leeds but with operations from airports across the UK, made the move after the Foreign Office warned against overseas travel “indefinitely.”

The company offers both scheduled flights and package holidays.

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A spokesperson said: “In view of the ongoing uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have taken the decision to recommence our flights and holidays programme on 17 June.”

The decision means customers are entitled to a full refund within 14 days.

Many firms are currently unable to meet the repayment deadline stipulated by the Package Travel Regulations. Abta, the travel trade association, is lobbying to have the refund deadline extended.

Jet2 will contact all passengers booked to fly before 17 June.

“We are proactively contacting customers in departure date order to discuss their options, one of which is rebooking their holiday to a later date,” the spokesperson said.

“We know just how important holidays are to our customers, and how much they give customers something to look forward to, particularly during difficult times such as these.

“We recognise that these unprecedented events have had a huge impact on our customers, and we would like to thank them for their loyalty, understanding and patience.

“Although these are difficult times for everyone, the sun will come out again.”

The move does not necessarily mean that all planned Jet2 operations will re-start on 17 June.

The spokesperson said: “We are keeping this decision under constant review, in line with guidance from governments and the relevant authorities.”

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