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Travel firm launches video appointments for lockdown bookings

Kuoni said customers will be able to chat with travel experts working from home (Kuoni/PA)

A luxury travel brand is launching a video appointment service on Friday for holidaymakers eager to book their next trip.

Kuoni said customers will be able to chat with travel experts working from home while its 48 stores are closed due to the coronavirus lockdown.

It has reported a “steady stream” of new inquiries for holidays taking place next year.

Kuoni boss Derek Jones said there was “little appetite” for video appointments before the coronavirus lockdown, but attitudes have “shifted massively”.

Customers value having a real person to talk to
Derek Jones, Kuoni

He went on: “Meeting someone face to face, even by video link, creates a rapport with customers and a genuine understanding about the type of trip we can create for them.

“There’s a personal connection that you often don’t get from an anonymous voice over the phone.”

Mr Jones described booking honeymoons, weddings and other special trips as “one of the most important decisions of people’s lives”.

He went on: “We want to create an environment which is safe but brings that same level of happiness that they’d normally get by seeing a trusted travel expert face to face.”

Holiday firms are struggling to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with countries around the world imposing restrictions on travel.

Many customers have been left frustrated at being unable to obtain cash refunds for cancelled flights and holidays within time limits set out in consumer law.

Mr Jones said: “Trust will be absolutely vital to travel’s recovery.

“If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from this crisis, it’s that customers value having a real person to talk to.

“There’s no doubt that people want a holiday to look forward to, but they also want expert insight about the ease and safety of travel plans for the future.”

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