A Letter from The CEO

Ella Thorogood

By Ella Thorogood

Posted on 31st March 2020

A note from our CEO addressing the latest news and updates regarding our business and the Coronavirus.

Dear Guest,

When I stepped into the role of CEO at Day 8 Experiences (Parent company to The Yacht Week) two years ago, I never could have imagined I would one day have to write this letter. You, our community, have always been at the heart of everything we do here at Day 8, so I want to take this opportunity to give you an open and honest explanation of the situation we find ourselves in.

We fully understand the anxiety and concern you, our community, must be feeling at this uncertain time, and I ask only that you trust that we are doing our utmost to balance this with the need to ensure that our business survives for the sake of all those who are dependent on us.

As you will undoubtedly be aware, the upheaval caused by COVID-19 is without precedent, and it has seriously affected the ways in which businesses in the travel industry are able to manage their contracts and terms & conditions. As such, the bodies that regulate the travel industry have made changes to their guidance, so that when this crisis is over and normality resumes, we will still be around to continue doing what we do best - creating unforgettable experiences.

My decision to follow this guidance was not made out of a desire for profit, but rather to protect a business that has been operating for 15 years, and the livelihoods of the 500 people it employs. Not only this, but I must also consider the communities and businesses across all of our destinations, many of which are completely reliant on tourism. Simply put: to offer cash refunds would not only jeopardize our business, but would also upend the lives of all those who work so hard to make sure each of our events lives up to its unforgettable reputation.

It is for this reason that we are following the guidance issued by ABTA, the trade association for travel in the UK, of which we are a member. This guidance pertains to the UK Package Travel Regulations, which we use to enforce our terms and conditions. This guidance has been relaxed to allow us to offer you a refund credit note for the same event next year (or another event), rather than providing cash refunds. The change that directly affects you, is as follows.

“That refund credits are allowed as an acceptable and enforceable alternative to immediate cash refunds, with all protections carried forward as part of a ‘Refund Credit Note’.”

Further discussions between ABTA and the UK government are underway to make legal provisions for a ‘consumer hardship fund’, that will protect the value of any refund credit note issued by a travel business, so that customers will not be at risk of losing their money should that business fail.

At this point I would like to make it clear that, given the fluid nature of this situation, the advice and support we are following is subject to change, but rest assured that we are in constant communication with the relevant bodies to ensure we are always up to date.

To summarise our position: we’re offering full flexibility for all bookings made for 2020, so that any of you who wish to do so will be able to move your booking to another week later in the year, or to 2021. These changes can be made at no extra cost, and our customer service team is on hand to help guide you through your options. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer cash refunds. To do so would quite simply mean the end of our business, and ultimately many of you would not only be left out of pocket, but would no longer have a holiday to look forward to once all of this is behind us.

Our main focus must be on preventing the spread of COVID-19. We will be adhering to all guidelines and regulations issued by governments and health organisations, and we will endeavour to keep you updated at all times via our website. However, this crisis will be behind us one day and I am confident that together we can weather this storm, and sail out of it stronger than ever.

I am fully aware of the potential damage that this may cause to our business and the goodwill of our customers and community. As a business that has always strived to provide fantastic experiences and exceptional customer service, I hope that you can appreciate just how difficult it has been to make this decision.

For any guests feeling anxious or unsure about your plans with us, remember that you can change your booking at no extra cost and that our customer service team is on hand to help arrange the move and discuss any concerns.

Thank you for your understanding during this uncertain time.

Kind regards,

Barry Gifford
Day 8 Experiences

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