Center Parcs issues important update about its holiday parks during lockdown
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In a message to customers, chief executive officer Martin Dalby said that staff were busy dealing with hundreds of cancelled or rescheduled bookings and that the parks will remain closed in line with Government guidance.
In a statement, he wrote: “These are indeed challenging times, I can count on one hand the number of times we have had to close any one of our villages over the last 33 years, and now all our six villages have been closed for a number of weeks.
“As you know, the leisure and hospitality sector has been at the forefront of taking the necessary actions to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Here at Center Parcs, we are doing everything we can to get through this crisis and to be ready to welcome families back to our villages, as soon as it is the right thing to do.
“From the very outset of this crisis our overriding aim has been to protect you, our guests, our 9,500 employees and our village facilities and to support, where we can, the communities in which we are located.
“Closing our villages to guests in March, was the right decision, taken at the right time. We recognise just how disappointed many of you were to have your break with us cancelled, so we wanted to offer you as much flexibility as possible; the option to re-book, with a £/€100 incentive, or to take a refund.
“We have also changed our terms and conditions to allow more flexibility in paying the final balance on breaks in the coming months. We intend to maintain this approach going forward to provide reassurance for those of you that wish to plan ahead.
“I acknowledge that the process for refunding the cost of your break has been slower than we would have liked and I appreciate that this has been frustrating for some.
“With our Contact Centre closed, we have had to quickly set up our Contact Centre agents at home and establish new processes.
“We have a team processing tens of thousands of date changes and refunds remotely, which has been and continues to be a challenge. As well as putting more of our people on to this task, we are developing new systems to speed up the process. With every week we are closed, we are improving and speeding up, but please bear with us, we are getting through the lists as fast as we can.
“Our 9,500 fantastic employees are the beating heart of our business and are the reason why so many thousands of families enjoy their short breaks with us every year.
“The vast majority of the Center Parcs team are currently not working, but we are committed to supporting them during this period, so that we can welcome them all back as soon as possible.
“We do have small teams working on our villages doing a fantastic job looking after our buildings, our woodland and, of course, the wildlife. Equally, a small number of us are working from home, ensuring our basic Head Office business functions are still running and that we continue to pay our key suppliers and of course our employees.
“These teams are doing a great job for Center Parcs, as well as for the local communities of which we are a huge part. From food bank donations and Easter egg deliveries, to our UK nurses returning to the NHS or employees supporting the vulnerable in their local communities, I am so proud of the part our people are playing in supporting those who are in need, or those who are keeping us all safe.
“As a business, we recognise our responsibility to supporting the national effort to beat this virus and, via the various appropriate organisations, we have offered to open our doors to key workers where accommodation is required and we will continue to do so for as long as this is necessary.
“Finally, we continue to monitor and review the national situation and will extend our closure period in line with the latest government guidelines. I don’t know when we will be able to welcome you back to Center Parcs, but I do know, when the time is right we will be here, ready to offer our unique family short break experience.
“Whilst we are getting more time than ever with our loved ones within our individual households, and whilst technology is doing a wonderful job keeping us remotely connected with others, I am sure we are all looking forward to getting back together again properly, socialising and having fun and laughter with our extended family and friends.”