Taking care of travelers
How We've Adapted
by STA Leadership Team
Article dated: May 20, 2020
In this blog:
BEHIND THE SCENES AT STA
We hope you and your family are safe and healthy.
Together, we are adjusting to the ways this pandemic has affected our daily lives, our interactions with loved ones, and our most cherished traditions. The team at School Tours of America is continually making adjustments to meet the needs of the families and educators we serve. Like many of you, we are adapting by staying connected from our homes, and working hard to create helpful policies and procedures, new resources and more.
As the effects of the pandemic threatened travel on a national level, we immediately began working alongside our teachers and Group Leaders to develop custom plans for individual groups. As the situation developed, we continued to work with groups on a case-by-case basis to truly understand the evolving needs of our travelers. We realize that this individualized approach may have slowed our response for some groups, but we made the decision that getting it right was more important than getting it quick. Our small team shouldered the enormous task of rescheduling thousands of travelers while working with our trusted network of vendors to collect refunds and allow a maximum return to cancelled travelers.
How we're adapting with "Traveler-First" solutions:
We continue to work toward solutions which meet three important criteria– put the needs of our travelers and their families first, ensure that School Tours of America remains intact, and allow for an improved version of our life-changing tours to resume as soon as travel is safe and appropriate. Here are a few examples of updated, proactive policies:
School Tours of America has implemented a “Safe Travels Task Force” to create new policies, protocols, and procedures for all components of future tour programs. We remain committed to our promise that we will only operate a tour when all aspects of the tour program are safe and viable. Details of all new safety procedures for staff, Group Leaders and travelers will be shared as we move closer to your travel dates.
We are currently working with Group Leaders to determine travel dates for any 2020 tour that was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All participants desiring to travel on the original itinerary but on the new 2021 dates will automatically be moved to the new dates without the need to do anything and at no additional cost. To protect the full investment each of our travelers made, any participant who is unable to travel on the new dates has the option of receiving a generous cash refund or a digital future-travel voucher worth 100% of their investment. The vouchers may be sold or transferred to other travelers or applied to a future School Tours of America trip for the original traveler. For full details, check with your Group Leader.
We know how important it is to get refunds right, so our specialists have developed an efficient process to work through each travel month as quickly as possible for the thousands of families requesting a refund.
We are working with an experienced call center which allows our teams to do what they do best. Our Tour Coordinators are optimizing rescheduled travel by revising itineraries, appointments, bookings, and more, while our Customer Service Team is remaining focused on maximizing and expediting refunds for cancelled participants.
WE HEAR YOU
Our team is so appreciative of your patience as we make necessary changes to our polices and procedures to accommodate all needs of educational travelers as they unfold. As many of you know, School Tours of America was founded with the simple mission of treating customers like family while providing the greatest educational tours possible.
School Tours of America is so grateful for the opportunity to prove that we truly care about the needs of each individual traveler as if they were our own family. The positive comments we hear from YOU: our beloved educators and parents, have strengthened our mission and brought smiles to our faces when we needed it most.
We cannot thank you enough for your support in this time of change and cannot wait to move forward together as we resume the honored tradition of life-changing educational travel.