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Airlines continue to trim schedules as consumer confidence wavers

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airlines continue to trim schedules as consumer confidence wavers

The way in which people are booking flights has altered massively thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

Many have seen holiday plans scuppered in recent months and a battle to obtain refunds.

However, appetite for an overseas trip hasn’t waned for everyone – and it appears last minute bookings, to see what countries are on the ‘safe’ to travel list, have grown in popularity. 

Emma Coulthurst, expert at TravelSupermarket, said: ‘In the last week or so, we are seeing people looking at coronavirus rates, booking and going within a few days.’

Airlines have dramatically reduced their capacity due consumer confidence during Covid-19

Airlines have dramatically reduced their capacity due consumer confidence during Covid-19

She adds: ‘The lead time between looking, booking and going has drastically reduced as a result of Covid.’

‘Prices are low to try and stimulate bookings. As airlines need to consolidate due to demand being less than they’d hoped, you may see some flights being cancelled but any cancellation will require a full refund.’

Anyone who is able to quarantine will be more likely to book a holiday, data from the travel comparison website suggests.

Easyjet recently announced that it would be flying less than the 40 per cent of planned capacity it had earlier this year, due to a drop in consumer confidence amid the ongoing pandemic.

It is not the only airline that has had to dramatically reduce the number of flights it was planning. Government travel restrictions have limited the amount of people ready to fly abroad, with the latest rules quarantining those who returned to the UK from several Greek islands. 

Ryanair has chopped its capacity by 20 per cent whilst British Airways is also flying less than 30 per cent of its usual schedule.

However, while prices have soared for those who are having to make a quick return from their holiday when government guidelines change, the cost of some flights have plummeted as carriers battle for business.

It can be difficult to plan schedules at the moment as restrictions are constantly changing

It can be difficult to plan schedules at the moment as restrictions are constantly changing

Scheduling headache for airlines 

Many airlines will be unwilling to cancel flights unless strictly necessary to avoid cutting their schedule further and paying out hundreds of pounds to customers in refunds. 

Cancelling flights could also see tens of thousands of holidaymakers stranded abroad.

However, flights would not automatically be immediately cancelled due to a change in travel advice. 

There are a number of customers who will still choose to travel, for example, if they are nationals of that country, live in that country or if they are returning home as they will need flights to continue. 

The situation with coronavirus rates for different countries has made it really difficult, if not impossible for airlines to capacity plan.
Emma Coulthurst – Travelsupermarket 

But it can be incredibly difficult for companies to plan their schedule as the advice given to those travelling is changing all the time.

Emma says: ‘The situation with coronavirus rates for different countries has made it really difficult, if not impossible for airlines to capacity plan.

‘Regular quarantine measures have brought regular and mounting dents to consumer confidence and these have impacted load factors.’ 

It has been suggested that a more rigorous testing system – or introducing one to begin with – should be put in place to ensure all those flying are safe and also to encourage more people to travel, knowing there are systems in place to protect them from the coronavirus. 

Coulthurst added: ‘Most people go away for a week so, perhaps a test before you go and then a test on return would work best to ensure those who are positive are found and those who don’t have the virus can get back to their daily lives and work.

‘Whatever system is deemed best, it is needed as soon as possible. Currently, demand is low as those who can’t afford to or are unable to quarantine are not likely to travel.’ 

Ryanair is reducing its prices by 50% to try and encourage travellers to book flights abroad

Ryanair is reducing its prices by 50% to try and encourage travellers to book flights abroad

What are airlines offering short-term? 

Ryanair has dramatically reduced some of its prices with the hope of luring customers to book fights.

Last week, the airline launched 50 per cent off over 750,000 seats for travel in September and October to 240 destinations.

It also released a seat sale at the beginning of September with fares as low as €5 across one million seats.

This week, the website is had a ‘clearing out sale’ on 100,000 seats, starting from under a tenner. These types of deal could continue in the near future. 

Clear out: Ryanair is offering deep discounts on flights for the coming weeks

Clear out: Ryanair is offering deep discounts on flights for the coming weeks

Despite the tempting offers, it confirmed it has been forced to cut 20 per cent of its capacity for the months of September and October due to a slowdown in demand caused by government travel restrictions. 

Forward bookings with the airline have notably weakened, given continuing uncertainty over recent Covid case rates in some EU countries.

It confirmed that most of these cuts would be frequency reductions rather than route closures and they will be heavily focused on those countries such as Spain, France and Sweden, where rising recent Covid case rates have led to increased travel restrictions.

This includes Ireland which continues to impose a uniquely restrictive Green List, imposing 14 day quarantines on visitors from most other EU countries such as Germany and the UK, which have lower Covid case rates over the last 14 days than Ireland.

It is currently finalising its winter 2020 schedules which run from the end of October to the end of March, deciding how many flights it is likely to go ahead with. 

Ryanair has cut 20% of its capacity for September and October due to a slowdown in demand

Ryanair has cut 20% of its capacity for September and October due to a slowdown in demand

A spokesperson for Ryanair said: ‘These capacity cuts and frequency reductions for the months of September and October are necessary given the recent weakness in forward bookings due to Covid restrictions in a number of EU countries.

‘Over the past two weeks as a number of EU countries have raised travel restrictions, forward bookings especially for business travel into September and October have been negatively affected, and it makes sense to reduce frequencies so that we tailor our capacity to demand over the next two months.

‘Proper testing at airports, and effective tracing, as is being conducted in Germany and Italy, is the only realistic and proportionate method of supervising safe intra-EU air travel while effectively limiting the spread of the Covid-19 virus.’

This is Money contacted Jet2 but it said it was unable to comment on seat availability as the information was ‘commercially sensitive’.

However, it is also offering cut price tickets to entice customers, giving £100 off per person of all summer holidays booked on the site for 2021.

The offer is available only to the first 50,000 customers whilst it is also offering 10 per cent off all summer holidays for 2021, again to the first 50,000 customers.

Holidaymakers can choose which offer depending on which gives them the biggest discount and what is still available.

Meanwhile, BA has also cut flights due to the ongoing pandemic with a spokesperson saying: ‘We are now in the sixth month of flying less than 30 per cent of our schedule. This is a fast-changing situation, and we keep our schedule under constant review so we can respond to customer demand as necessary.’

However, if a customer’s flight is cancelled they are entitled to a voucher or a full refund with its Booking with Confidence policy covering customers due to travel up to the end of September 2020.

This means that if a customer wants to change their booking they can – re-booking or taking a voucher for future travel which is likely to encourage more people to book with BA. 

Deep travel discounts in 2021? 

With some flight schedules still being worked out and the likeihood of reduced flight capacity, it is currently hard to establish whether prices will rise thanks to shrunken space, or fall because of lack of demand. 

Currently, it appears the latter is happening – with Jet2 for example, as mentioned above, offering discounts for summer 2021 bookings now.  

Gavin Harris, commercial director at Skyscanner, said: ‘Travel providers continue to offer extremely attractive pricing for travel into 2021 and are doing everything they can to ensure flight schedules, keen to instill consumer confidence during this time of uncertainty.

‘Although travel has looked different in 2020, we have seen that UK travellers are still eager to get away and are finding ways to do so within the rules. 

‘Unfortunately, schedule changes are sometimes required to comply with regulations and fluctuating passenger volumes.

‘To mitigate this, many airlines are offering new flexible booking policies, so you won’t lose out if your flights need to be changed or cancelled. You can also book hotels with free cancellation. That way, it is easy to stay flexible. You can book now, then decide if it’s right to go later.’

Those looking to travel abroad are urged to take caution before booking as travel restrictions change from day to day. 

If possible, they should try and get travel insurance, which may not cover them for catching coronavirus, although some do, but should still cover them for loss of belongings.  

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Shoppers saw £98m worth of gift vouchers expire during lockdown

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shoppers saw 98m worth of gift vouchers expire during lockdown

An estimated £97.7million was lost on shopping vouchers that went unused during lockdown, new research has revealed.

A quarter of people had a shopping voucher, worth £45.70 on average, that expired during the period when many shops and businesses were forced to close their doors, according to new data from Which?. 

Around half of those with an expiring voucher said it was automatically extended by the retailer, while 15 per cent said they had to request an extension.

However, 36 per cent – an estimated 3.1million – did not receive an extension on their shopping vouchers worth £30 on average, automatically losing all the money they had left.

Gift card carnage: An estimated £97.7m was lost on shopping vouchers that went unused during lockdown

Gift card carnage: An estimated £97.7m was lost on shopping vouchers that went unused during lockdown

Gift card carnage: An estimated £97.7m was lost on shopping vouchers that went unused during lockdown

This equates to an estimated £97.7million across the whole of Britain.

Those from an older demographic were more likely to lose money, with 46 per cent of those aged over 55 claiming they did not receive an extension for their shopping vouchers.

Meanwhile, 42 per cent of those aged 35 to 54 did not receive an extension either, however this figure dropped to just 20 per cent of those aged 18 to 35.

The gift card industry is worth £6billion every year, according to the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association.

Many retailers introduced new Covid-19 terms and conditions during lockdown and offered to extend vouchers.

While some proactively contacted customers, others were not so helpful.

One person told Which? they had emailed a retailer regarding vouchers that were due to expire during lockdown, and received a swift response extending it.

However, another said they were left ‘disappointed’ when they contacted the company who told them ‘hard luck, basically’.

The industry is worth £6bn every year, according to the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association

The industry is worth £6bn every year, according to the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association

The industry is worth £6bn every year, according to the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association

Concerns over ‘experience’ days 

A popular gift for Christmas and birthdays, experience days for hotels, spas, and activities are another area of concern. 

This is because they often have expiry dates, and given the difficulties to book these in the last few months, coupled with a potential scramble to use them, mean some could be looking for refunds.

One voucher holder told This is Money that a hotel is refusing to extend a £280 spa voucher she purchased as a Christmas present for her brother and sister-in-law last year.

Louise said: ‘My sister-in-law is a teacher and can only use the spa during school holidays. They tried to get in in February but were unable to get an available appointment. 

‘They intended to try again for Easter, but the Covid-19 lockdown happened and everywhere closed down.

However, when Louise’s brother phoned up again to rearrange in August and asked if the voucher could be extended until next Easter to give time to make an appointment, as well as make sure all facilities were available once fully open and to avoid visiting during a potential second wave, they were told that there would be no extension and no replacement for one of the treatments.

They were also told they had to pay a further £8 each on top of the £280 already spent for PPE if they wanted to come to the hotel before December otherwise they would lose the voucher and money.

Customers with vouchers that expired are advised to contact the company to try and get an extension.

All retailers are expected to be reasonable and extend vouchers that customers were not able to use during lockdown.

Customers with expired vouchers are advised to contact the firm to try & get an extension

Customers with expired vouchers are advised to contact the firm to try & get an extension

Customers with expired vouchers are advised to contact the firm to try & get an extension

Anyone considering buying shopping vouchers now should be wary, as coronavirus has had a severe financial impact on many retailers – with some big names disappearing from the high street altogether.

The possibility of further coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the near future could also make it difficult to spend vouchers.

Adam French, Which? consumer rights expert, said: ‘Our research suggests consumers may have lost tens of millions of pounds on expired vouchers during lockdown.

‘Many retailers have extended shopping vouchers that expired during lockdown, so if you have a voucher you were unable to use it is worth contacting the company.

‘Anyone considering buying a voucher should be aware of the risks, as some well-known retailers have collapsed in recent months and further coronavirus restrictions could make it difficult to spend vouchers and gift cards.’

The survey of 2,000 UK adults was conducted by Opinium on behalf of Which? between 25 and 28 August 2020.

Figures based on an estimated 3.1million UK adults with vouchers worth £31.70 each that were not extended or used during lockdown. 

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How do I make sure my CV lands me an interview? 12 tips

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how do i make sure my cv lands me an interview 12 tips

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the Government’s plan to protect jobs through its Winter Economy Plan, but some believe this won’t be enough to save them all.

There was a slight uptick in the number of people becoming unemployed between May to July, according to Office for National Statistics.   

But with the furlough scheme coming to an end it is likely to rise further. There are jobs available but the problem for job seekers is that there are now more people than usual applying for them. 

A spokesperson from recruiter Indeed says: ‘Competition for the average job on Indeed has more than doubled since last year.’

There are lots more people applying for jobs so it's hard to stick out from the crowd. But it's not impossible even though recruiters spend just six seconds looking at CVs

There are lots more people applying for jobs so it’s hard to stick out from the crowd. But it’s not impossible even though recruiters spend just six seconds looking at CVs

Recruiters don’t take long to decide whether to advance a candidate through to the interview stage.

Deepa Somasundari, director of client success at global job site Indeed, says: ‘Employers spend as little as six seconds looking at a CV and like all humans, can often make quick decisions and snap judgements.

‘To stand out from the rest of the pile, jobseekers can apply some creative techniques to their CV but should always remember that relevance is what catches an employers’ gaze, not emojis.’

Here, the latest Interview Cheat Sheet focuses on 12 tips that could help you stand out from a crowd, help stamp out mistakes and get you into an interview to help land the job you are after.

1. Font trick for certain companies can work 

Ross Patel, co-founder of Sweatshop Media, says he was offered a job with Apple after he personalised his CV. 

He says: ‘A quick Google search led me to a file download for Apple’s font. I loaded it into photoshop and in true Apple style, wrote the words… “Ross Patel.”

‘I continued with “Apple Changed My Life” in a subtle and characteristically Apple space grey. 

‘I finished it off the cover page with an Apple logo in the centre. After three rounds of successful interviews I was offered the job at Apple.’

This little trick can work at a host of companies, and could be a way to stand out from the pile of CVs that employers are likely to receive. 

Co-founder of Sweatshop Media, Ross Patel, says he was offered a job by Apple after he took time to personalise his CV and demonstrate why he loved the brand

Co-founder of Sweatshop Media, Ross Patel, says he was offered a job by Apple after he took time to personalise his CV and demonstrate why he loved the brand

2. Get your elevator pitch right 

Melissa Sergeant, managing director at Bishopsgate says: ‘People that pique my interest and receive five minutes more of my attention are the ones that get the elevator pitch right – whether it’s in their CV or the first couple of minutes talking to me. 

‘Talk about what’s different about you. Tell your potential employer about your unique selling point. 

‘I usually look for the whole package. I don’t just focus on skills and what people have done in the past.’ 

3. Add a little colour 

Amanda Augustine, careers expert at TopCV, explains: ‘In the past, it was usually frowned upon to add colour to your CV. 

‘However, it’s now becoming less taboo to accent your CV with a colour or two that help make your application stand out — without distracting the reader or overshadowing the content of your CV.

‘If you want to use colour, select a deep hue to use for the titles of each section of your CV; avoid font colours that will blend in with the white background of your document, such as yellow or pastels.’  

Melissa Sergeant, managing director of Bishopsgate Financial says its important to work on your elevator pitch

Melissa Sergeant, managing director of Bishopsgate Financial says its important to work on your elevator pitch

4. Include a left rail 

Augustine says: ‘Whilst a traditional one-column CV is still perfectly acceptable and polished-looking, at TopCV we’ve found that CVs with a left-hand rail or column offer a fresh look that catches employers’ attention.’

This is where some information is displayed in a separate column in the left-hand side, such as personal details and education. 

‘This alternative CV helps your application to stand out. 

‘Just remember, while CV designs with a left-hand rail successfully pass through the electronic net, CVs with a right-hand rail or column will not.’  

5. Don’t hide behind technology 

Sergeant says: ‘Too many people are still hiding behind laptops and devices. The ones that follow up with a phone call and just want five minutes of my time – those are the ones that get my attention more. 

‘Of course it’s all about balance. If they carry on and on they lose me. But it is a nice to make that human connection as that’s so often missing.’

6. Network online 

Use professional online networks such as The Dots, Indeed and LinkedIn. Patel says: ‘Stay engaged and keep an eye out for any opportunity that comes up. 

‘Don’t be afraid to apply for something you’re not sure if you want. If they like you, they will make space for you and it might not be where you expected it to be.’

Kirsty Davis, head of talent acquisitions at Fennies Nursery says it's important to prove your credentials in your cover note

Kirsty Davis, head of talent acquisitions at Fennies Nursery says it’s important to prove your credentials in your cover note

7. Prove your credentials 

Do this in your CV or preferably upfront in your credit note says Kirsty Davis, head of talent acquisitions at Fennies Nursery, which currently has eight roles available (see below). 

She explains: ‘Cover notes are an opportunity to highlight their best attributes, skills and expand on their relevant experience. 

‘This is what we hope to find compared to the notes and lists of generic qualities which often litter CVs. 

We look for that “I can prove it” statement. 

‘For example, “during my training period as an apprentice, I shadowed senior staff, allowing me to see the leadership and management skills and the operations behind a busy team. I am now a qualified Room Leader and successfully managing a team of eight staff.” 

‘Showcase yourself around your three strongest points. This may be an achievement; it may be your targets met or why you are that team player.’

8. Bold the text 

Somasundari says: ‘One way of highlighting specific skills, experiences and achievements is by bolding the text. 

This will help draw the attention of employers to your abilities. Jobseekers should never underestimate the importance of a clear layout and a length that does not exceed two pages.

9. Keep your CV short 

Somasundari says: ‘The best CVs will use as few words as possible. For that reason, formatting experiences as a list of short statements is better than writing out long detailed paragraphs. This will also help cut down on the overall length.

‘Depending on your line of work, you may direct the reader to view a video, case study or other write-up you’ve posted to your personal website to show the employer just how dedicated you are to adding value to their team.

10. Try and solve the company’s problems 

Augustine says pitching a solution to the organisation’s needs could land you the job. 

She explains: ‘While this wouldn’t necessarily go on your CV, you can utilise this technique when you’re applying for positions that are of great interest. 

‘If you’re incredibly passionate about working for a particular company and you are well-versed in their business, consider pitching an idea as part of your cover letter. 

‘Rather than merely reiterating your qualifications, start off by explaining how you can help the company fill a void or solve a problem they’re facing. 

‘Depending on your line of work, you may direct the reader to view a video, case study or other write-up you’ve posted to your personal website to show the employer just how dedicated you are to adding value to their team.’

11. Be creative in your application?

Trying to be creative may not work in every situation so it’s important to think about how well a creative gesture will be received before you spend your time, energy and even money on it.

Augustine advises: ‘Ask yourself if Is this an organisation that prides itself on creativity and going against the norm? Then, an unusual tactic may be well-received. 

‘However, if you’re targeting an organisation that prides itself on its traditions, your creative approach may make you stand out for all the wrong reasons.’

12. Read the details carefully

Crucially, it is important to read the requirements of a certain role – and not simply copy and paste a one-size-fits-all for all employers that you’re trying to get a job at.

Make sure you have a tailored cover letter, and all your CV details are up to scratch. You want to make it as easy as possible for an employer to look at your application and go: they get these basics right, they’re on my ‘yes or maybe’ pile. 

By Angelique Ruzicka 

Get hired! We showcase nine companies recruiting right now 

Amazon: The multinational company is currently advertising around 1,400 roles on LinkedIn with various roles on offer ranging from communications to to compliance. It also has over 1,000 remote roles on offer.  

Fennies Nurseries: Growing nursery Fennies has 24 jobs available 11 sites in London, Surrey and Kent. Cera has several care assistant jobs on offer. Apply at fennies.com/careers/job-search  

John Lewis:The high end department store is currently offering a number of places including roles such as a customer services officer and warehouse operative  

McDonaldsThe fast food company is currently advertising 10 jobs ranging from evening staff to customer experience leaders. 

Mitie: The British outsourcing and energy services company currently has 12 roles on offer ranging from office administrators to facilities assistants. 

Morrisons: Morrisons has several roles on offer including home delivery, logistics and store picker roles.  

NHS: If you want to work for the National Health Service they have a variety of jobs on offer including support workers, healthcare assistants and team administrators. Apply through Indeed.  

Specsavers: British multinational optical retail chain is currently advertising 13 jobs through Indeed such as receptionists, optical assistants and customer service advisors.  

Tesco: Tesco is currently advertising 1,876 roles which range from customer assistants, to delivery and kitchen roles.  

Sources: Indeed, Fennies,  LinkedIn, Amazon, Tesco, Morrisons

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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First-time buyers frozen out of housing market

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first time buyers frozen out of housing market

Existing homeowners have overtaken first-time buyers as the biggest source of demand in the housing market. 

Online estate agent Zoopla said the change had resulted from the coronavirus pandemic as younger families had been increasingly shut out by lenders. 

Changing landscape: Zoopla's latest house-price index found demand from homeowners looking to move had risen 48 per cent over the first three months of this year

Changing landscape: Zoopla’s latest house-price index found demand from homeowners looking to move had risen 48 per cent over the first three months of this year

Zoopla’s latest house-price index found demand from homeowners looking to move had risen 48 per cent over the first three months of this year. 

Demand from first-time buyers was up 11 per cent – the first time since 2017 that first-time buyers had not been the biggest driver.

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