Last updated 1 December 2020.
What to expect and how we will be keeping you safe in 2021…
As we look forward to 2021, our attention is firmly focussed on ensuring we have done everything possible to make travel safe and enjoyable in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. To help inform and reassure you about what to expect from your Simpson holiday, we’ve answered a few of your questions below:
What will the travel experience be like?
What will you do to ensure my accommodation is clean?
Are there any other changes I should know about?
Are you still offering childcare?
What happens if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 whilst I am on holiday?
Am I insured against COVID-19?
- Without doubt, the airport and flying experience will be different. The UK government requires passengers on all public transport, including flights, to wear face masks. You can also expect to be required to wear a face mask in airport terminal buildings and at the boarding gate. In summary, you should be prepared to wear a mask or face covering at all points of your journey.
- The UK government is also advising minimising luggage and checking baggage into the hold wherever possible. All flights bought as part of a Simpson package include hold baggage.
- Many airlines are changing their on-board service, in particular offering limited catering; we, therefore, recommend you stock up after you go through security and before you board with any drinks and snacks you require.
- For specific information about how the airlines we use are adapting flying in the 'new normal', including how they are cleaning aircraft, please refer to their dedicated webpages: Easyjet, British Airways and Jet2.
- There may be different procedures on arrival at your destination airport and accommodation, where required by local governments. We will advise you of particular procedures at your chosen destination as and when they are communicated to us.
- Currently, all flights from Gatwick are departing from the North Terminal. Passengers arriving by train can take the free shuttle to the North Terminal and those arriving by car will find the multi-storey car parks open at both terminals. The North Terminal long-stay car park is also open. Although the South Terminal is not in use for passengers, the Boots pharmacy in the Arrivals Hall is open and accessible. (Please note, Boots in the North Terminal does not have a pharmacy.)
- British Airways are offering an Overnight Bag Drop service, available from 16:00-22:00, for flights departing the next day before 13:00 from London Heathrow Terminal 5.
Simpson Travel has always demanded the highest standard of cleaning from our partners and owners – in 2019 customer surveys, 96% of guests rated our cleanliness excellent or good. In line with recommendations from the World Health Organisation, together with the UK and local governments, we have developed an enhanced cleaning plan specifically to combat the transmission of viruses. All our partners and owners are briefed on this plan, agree to it and regular auditing is undertaken by our overseas teams. Specifically:
- Cleaners will be paying extra attention to cleaning ‘high touch’ areas in the accommodation. These include light switches, remote controls, hairdryers, safes, bathroom and kitchen surfaces, kitchen utensils, keys and handrails.
- Cleaners will be asked to use hypochlorite solution to thoroughly disinfect the accommodation before occupation by each party.
- All bedding will be laundered in cycles where temperatures are maintained at 65° for not less than ten minutes, or 71° for not less than three minutes.
- All villa Welcome Packs will include hand sanitiser, alongside a selection of complimentary cleaning supplies.
- Any unnecessary paper e.g. leaflets and guides will be removed from the accommodation. Unfortunately, regular clients will notice there will be no brochures or copies of ‘On Travel’ magazine in their rooms or villas this year. We will still have villa books in place, which will be thoroughly cleaned before each new arrival (in some properties this may be replaced with a digital version that will be sent to you before you arrive).
- Cleaners themselves will follow strict protocols, including wearing disposable gloves, removing shoes/wearing disposable shoe protectors and following social distancing rules when working in teams.
- We ask our hotel and villa owners to test the chlorine and pH levels of their pools regularly to ensure they offer a safe environment for our guests.
To minimise any risks, your Local Concierge will be taking a ‘socially distanced’ approach to your care and will typically be conducting welcome meetings by video or voice call. They will, as ever, be available by WhatsApp, email, text or phone to assist you throughout your holiday and are very much looking forward to seeing you - virtually, if not in person. In addition:
- Check-in and check-out times for all accommodation will be strictly observed to allow adequate time for cleaning and preparation.
- For villas that include mid-week cleaning, guests must vacate the property while the clean takes place to comply with social distancing guidelines.
- Hotel breakfasts will be offered on a table-service basis rather than as a self-service buffet.
- In hotels, daily servicing of rooms will not take place and will be switched to an optional mid-week clean to minimise contact with housekeeping staff.
- Sun loungers in hotels, villa complexes and on beaches will be spaced a safe distance apart.
- Certain local services and facilities e.g. hotel spas, snack bars and childcare services may be subject to change or closure; please read the overview and details pages of your chosen accommodation carefully for details of specific changes.
- Car hire and transport providers are briefed and audited on enhanced cleaning requirements.
In 2021 we hope to offer our normal crèche and kids' clubs at Mousses in Lefkada and our complimentary children’s activity programme ‘Beach Life’ at Bella Mare Hotel and GK Beach Hotel. Social distancing measures will be applied as necessary.
Our local teams and partners are fully briefed on the processes and procedures necessary should there be an outbreak, or suspected outbreak, of COVID-19 whilst you are on holiday. The response will vary depending on whether you are staying in a villa, with just your own party, or in a hotel or complex with other guests. Should you, or anyone in your party come down with any symptoms of COVID-19, please inform your local Simpson Concierge immediately and they will advise you of the next steps. As always, our dedicated teams are there to ensure your welfare and are ready and happy to communicate on your behalf with local health professionals and authorities.
It is essential you have the correct travel insurance. For your travel insurance to be valid, the FCO must have removed their advice against 'all but essential travel'. You should check that your policy covers you for medical expenses, subsistence and repatriation in the event that you or a member of your party contract COVID-19 during your holiday. If you took out a single trip policy or renewed an annual policy after the outbreak began in February 2020, you may not be covered. Whilst we do not sell or recommend specific travel insurance policies ourselves, several insurers, including Cover for You, AXA and Trailfinders, are now offering policies that specifically cover COVID-19. Please note, from 1 January 2021 EHIC cards will no longer be valid.