On 23 March 2020, the UK began the Coronavirus National Lockdown which would affect all businesses on a scale that no one could have predicted.
As one of the oldest walking companies in the UK, we had witnessed difficult times in the past. The Foot and Mouth epidemic of 2001, forced us to close for the majority of the year, but we came back fighting.
This felt immediately more threatening.
With Covid-19 having the potential to impact business for months, each accommodation or luggage transfer company that we spoke to was receiving cancellations on a massive scale everyday. Generally small family businesses themselves, for weeks, the work was heartbreaking.
Over the past year, we had already been updating our ‘Crisis/Continuity Plan’, but nothing tests a theory quite like reality. Within weeks, our Director, was covering business, whilst the staff were kept safely at home.
Our hosts really are some of the best in the business. Throughout summer they re-decorated, they re-designed gardens and menus. They created more Covid-friendly social areas and devised new cleaning schedules to protect guests. Some looked after key workers and helpfully passed on their experiences to us.
We have always believed that our continued success relies on being prepared and managing change effectively. We also want to play our part in supporting the rest of the world in overcoming this global crisis. We feel we are all responsible to make that change.
With that in mind, we updated our Walk Pack with a comprehensive Covid 19 section, preparing our walkers in advance as much as possible.
We invested in system development and reviewed every process within the office. We liased with our hosts and transport suppliers adapting itineraries where needed.
Once our team could be re-introduced to home-working we refreshed and retrained everybody, so that we could provide our customers with the best possible service.
When customers could get walking again, their feedback forms revealed that everyone’s combined efforts thankfully had resulted in uninterrupted, hugely enjoyable holidays. Returning to open spaces, being away from constant news updates and being amongst nature again.
We can’t pretend that we know exactly what the year ahead will have in store for us all, nobody does, but when you are ready to start making plans for your next escape, we know that we are ready too.
Excellent customer service is our top priority.
Our small, family-run business can react to any necessary changes instantly.
Our hosts and transport suppliers are ready.
Rare wildlife and plants have returned to the countryside.
Our seas are cleaner and bursting with life.
The skies are clearer.
Pollution is down by 50% across Europe.
And the hypnotic rhythm of walking remains the most relaxing way possible to explore the world.