Dear Valued Customers,
Whoever said it would be problematic to run an international tour company was spot on but who would have ever planned for something like COVID 19? These are clearly testing times for the global community, and especially so for small businesses with the travel industry being particularly hard hit.
It was around 13 years ago that the idea for Compass Expeditions was spawned around a dining room table in Clifton Hill, Victoria. Mick, Jerry, Brendan and Ryan had all met while leading tours for other companies through Europe, Africa and South America. Not only did they all become friends, they each shared a love of travel and dedication to ensuring their passengers enjoyed a holiday of a lifetime.
While collecting visas, riding across vast mountains, empty steppe and yawning valleys, wandering historic plazas and tasting foreign beers were all fun, what really motivated us was providing our clients a truly memorable and life changing experience. That was the motivation in establishing Compass Expeditions and it remains our focus today.
The last weeks have been difficult for Compass Expeditions having to face its corporate mortality. We have had to cancel all of our tours up until August with possibly more to come if travel restrictions remain in place.
Unlike the vast majority of other travel and tour companies, upon cancelling our tours, we have ensured all our clients have received a FULL REFUND of monies paid, as opposed to only offering clients to transfer their trip to next year and if you can’t or had other prearranged plans, bad luck! We understand that in these very uncertain times people would sooner have their deposits back in their pocket, not ours. We made a conscious decision not to hide behind our terms and conditions and force majeure clauses to retain funds or deposits.
Our reputation as a company that places our clients first and foremost was far too important to us. This of course has placed us in a vulnerable financial situation given the global uncertainty as to when normal travel will be able to resume. We have had to put off some staff which has been, frankly, heartbreaking. We are proud to be one of, if not the only, tour company to offer full refunds even if it has crippled us financially, we HOPE people will appreciate our integrity and willingness to do all we can as we are aware everyone is suffering, we hope people will choose to once again travel with us when the world is open for business again.
However, rather than closing the doors we have made the bold, and we hope not foolish decision, to continue operations, all be it with a skeleton staff for the next few months. We intend to streamline our expenses, maintain our office and our corporate presence and plan for trips in 2021 and beyond. In the spirit of streamlining, Mick has already returned to driving trucks to stay financially viable. Now he always loved trucks, but this was certainly not his plan for 2020!
We have been touched by the extreme generosity of clients offering to give us money to see us through, others booking tours for next year and the year after and paying deposits now, to help us out, clients calling the office to ask if we are OK and welcome words of comfort and assurances that they will rebook. We are ALL going through an unprecedented hardship currently and the outpouring of support to us, a company, has vindicated our decision to carry on, we really do have a “compass family” and we are so proud of our small company and the amazing clients (friends) we have.
Please be assured all deposits paid for any future trips are 100% fully refundable, we WILL NOT be using future trip deposits to keep the doors open. This is more than an empty promise, it is a guarantee, and our recent return of all payments while all around us service providers REFUSED to refund, stands testament to our word.
This will only work with the continued support of our clients. Those whose trips have been cancelled in 2020 are strongly encouraged to rebook for 2021. Those considering a motorbike tour, we ask you to choose to travel with Compass Expeditions.
Compass has always kept its clients as our focus and had their best interests at heart. Our decisions have always been based upon what our clients would enjoy, what would create a lasting memory and what destination would provide a fantastic experience and an anecdote at a dinner party or a tale to a friend or family member.
Our annual client get-togethers have been a tangible example of how we thank our guests while also seeking feedback on destinations and itineraries. It is you, our riders, that we seek support from now. Once a vaccine is found, once planes are flying, once borders have reopened, come travel with us and book your 2021 tour.
Just think, in 12 months’ time you could be riding a motorcycle up the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, flanked by glaciers and wildlife, you could be photographing lions in the Etosha National Park in Namibia, you could be visiting the majestic Pyramids of Giza, standing atop soaring 5000m snow-capped peak in Kyrgyzstan, rolling across the vast Mongolian hills, trekking the Moreno Glacier in Patagonia or wandering the ancient souks of Marrakesh.
If these last weeks have taught us anything, it is that life can change on a dime – so embrace it, not from the couch while watching Discovery channel, but from the seat of a motorbike. The world really is vast and wonderful, come travel it with Mick, Jerry, Brendan and Ryan!
Here is what one client has said about how we have managed the refunds:
“I again take this opportunity to thank Compass Expeditions for the honourable way they have handled what is a devastating occurrence to their business and no doubt considerable personal impact. The personal and business integrity shown is a compass heading for Australian businesses. We should all applaud and support other businesses that follow that heading.”
Stay Safe,Warm Regards,
Mick, Jerry, Veronica, Ryan, Brendan and the Compass Crew.