Seating plans now essential
Coach tour and day trip organisers really should be going the extra mile right now to get the best experience for their group, to help attractions and to make more profit.
Reading my colleague’s coverage of the Coach Tourism Association webinar – and very good it was too – I see that one operator felt it is the duty of a hotel to work out social distancing for ‘bubbles’ and individuals when they get to the hotel. Maybe that’s right, strictly speaking, but if we are to work with our hotel partners, we must shoulder some of the extra work.
In any case, every operator running excursions and tours should now be planning available seats on a schematic of the actual coach which will be used. Not just to manage risk, but to make more profit and keep customers happy. Under no circumstances should the final seating arrangement be left until last, or left to your drivers.
A coach seated with individuals could barely carry 20 individual passengers socially distanced. But no group is made up entirely of individuals, and should you be lucky enough to have family ‘bubbles’ and couples book, your potential loading rises at by at least five, perhaps ten seats, because the individuals in the group do not need to be socially distanced.
Not only should the couples and ‘bubbles’ be fully understood at booking, your team should be planning them into a seating scheme for the vehicle, allocating seat numbers to each group, couple or individual, and passing this list to the driver AND to the hotel. This is how we should be working with our travel partners, not passing the buck.