A Luxury Gold journey is supported by a dedicated, professional and highly trained team both on the road and by a global office-based operations team. We are talking to Jillian Gattrell our Director of Operations for Luxury Gold who will be sharing our latest innovation the Luxury Gold Well-Being Director.
Can you please introduce yourself and give us an insight into your role?
My name is Jillian Gattrell and I am the Director of Operations for Luxury Gold. I’m currently based in the London office of The Travel Corporation and have been with the company for close to 15 years in a number of differing roles. In my current position I am responsible for overseeing the smooth operations of our Luxury Gold trips. This ranges from Traveling Concierge training and management, supporting the on-the-road team during journeys and dealing with crisis situations.
Can you tell us how Covid-19 has impacted operations for Luxury Gold?
As you may know in the beginning of the year borders in Europe were shut nearly overnight which led to us repatriating guests home at incredibly short notice. Assessing the situation as it was evolving, The Travel Corporation’s leadership team then deciding to suspend all operations to ensure we were staying true to our ethos of putting the guest’s experience at the heart of everything we do. As we don’t have trips on the road currently my team is working hard to adapt to our new normal for when journeys restart.
What would you say to guests who would like to travel but might have some concerns traveling in the pandemic?
Firstly, I am sympathetic. This year has been incredibly challenging on a number of fronts, but I am one of those people who always sees the positive in any situation. In recent weeks we’ve heard of promising vaccines and in some countries infection rates are coming down.
Travel ignites our imaginations, lets us share in authentic experiences with locals and, when on a guided tour, with like-minded individuals in a group setting. I think focusing on the positives of travel and what it brings to us is paramount to getting over the first hurdle of planning a trip. There has recently been research that suggests that it is less likely to contract Covid-19 on a plane than by going grocery shopping12. What I would also like to stress is that at Luxury Gold we have always had very strict protocols on safety and hygiene.
Can you please go into more details about Hygiene Protocols & Distancing?
PRE-TOUR HEALTH DECLARATION
All team members and guests will complete a personal well-being declaration before joining their tour. If a guest has tested positive for COVID-19 (or is traveling with someone who has), they will not be able to join the tour until cleared as “fit for travel” by a medical professional.
SMALLER GROUPS, MORE PERSONAL SPACE
With our smaller groups and uniquely reconfigured coaches with fewer seats, you can travel as part of a social travel bubble and still maintain your physical distance and benefit from more personal space.
Our coaches are equipped with air filters that are inspected and cleaned daily and replaced regularly. The on-board filters help purify the air as you travel.
Quality checks will ensure that all travel partners meet local regulations and the established TTC, WTTC and WHO.
Hand sanitizer is accessible and freely available. We ask that you bring your own face mask and gloves, but in the case of emergency, personal protective equipment will be distributed to you.
All frequently touched surfaces inside your coach — including handrails, doors, tables, overhead lockers — plus your luggage handles, will be disinfected multiple times each day.
Visit landmark sites before and after hours, when they’re not open to the other travelers, so you can explore in a small group and maintain your physical distance
Our Traveling Concierge and drivers have been trained to the highest standards and now will have an extra team member to ensure the delivery of our enhanced hygiene protocols, the Well-Being Director.
Can you please introduce the Well-Being Director?
There will be a Well-Being Director on each of our Luxury Gold Trips in 2021 in all regions*. They are an industry first, brilliantly conceived by our Chairman, Mr. Stanley Tollman. Using his great experience in the travel and leisure industry he understood that our Traveling Concierge need to provide our guests with outstanding experiences, our drivers with the task at hand when we go back on the road and therefore we needed an extra team member to look after our guests’ well-being and support them in navigating travel during the pandemic.
How does the Well-Being Director help with the new normal that we’re in?
The Well-Being Director takes a proactive approach to guests’ welfare and dedicates their attention to the latest hygiene and physical distancing protocols throughout a journey. Up to date with the latest regulations from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), World Health Organization (WHO) and local government authorities, they are always available to overcome any concerns. The Well-Being Director will support your Traveling Concierge and driver in making your holiday perfect for you, so you have peace of mind to enjoy your experience fully. The Well-Being Director will always be available to you and ready to answer any questions or concerns relating to your well-being. They’ll be specially trained to provide you with latest information on international developments and guidelines that contribute to your well-being while traveling.
How can the Well-Being Director give confidence to our guests to join one of our journeys?
The Well-Being Director will undertake daily monitoring and health checks of all guests, as well as the Traveling Concierge and driver. They’ll also support the driver in daily sanitization of the coach and ensure all hygiene, physical distancing and well-being regulations are met each day.
Will the Well-Being Director deal with Luxury Gold’s suppliers?
As part of The Travel Corporation (TTC), we’ve strengthened our already high health and hygiene standards, reflecting our 100 years of guided vacation and hospitality experience. Our latest protocols are aligned with the guidelines provided by the WTTC and WHO. The Well-Being Director is responsible for checking that all hotels, restaurants and other venues that you will visit on your holiday meet these expected standards.
Some of our guests might be worried about sanitization of luggage, can you speak to that?
The Well-Being Director will provide personal support with luggage management throughout a guest’s holiday, ensuring all handles are sanitized during loading and unloading.
What other services will the Well-Being Director offer?
The Well-Being Director is also available to help with spa and beauty appointments at the hotel and to lead early risers on wellness walks as fitting within the itineraries.
Lastly, could you please share a personal learning from these past months?
Our Chairman says ‘This too shall pass’ and although we would like for Covid-19 to disappear so we can all get back to doing the things we love, I know that even if the disease isn’t eradicated the saying stays true. I don’t have the same length of experience as Mr. Stanley Tollman but I have lived through other big disruptions in travel such as the Volcanic Plume of 2010 or even the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s, or, other incidents to know that ultimately travel will survive and thrive because it is what brings people together. The perfect cure for the upheaval of 2020? Planning your next Luxury Gold journey!