Message from our President, March 19, 2020:
I’ve built my life around travel. I met many of you on my journeys around the globe. We all have a shared mission to enhance our lives through travel abroad. The last few weeks have turned that world upside down and we’re all learning to navigate in a new world that, for now, requires us to stay in place rather than roam. As always, we’ve aimed to adapt for our customers in a situation where the landscape has been changing daily. Most of our partner schools have had to close temporarily, just as we have had to move to a virtual office environment for the safety of our staff, which we know has made communication more difficult. For those who have been frustrated by this entire situation, we understand and apologize.
Given the unprecedented nature of these times, we are working with individual group leaders to provide custom solutions that are best suited to their specific needs, so that we can ease the burden on our would-be travelers. Times are tough, we know, and we want to be there to help you now and in happier days filled with travel that lie ahead.
Encore/ACIS Founder and President
I’m booked to travel with you this spring (March-April). What are my options?
We are currently working with group leaders who were originally scheduled to travel this spring to present an option for an alternate trip either later this year or in 2021. Our first hope for everyone involved is that we can find a new opportunity for your group to travel. Once group leaders have selected a new option, travelers will then have the choice to either roll over to this new trip (with all money paid to date automatically applied to the new trip) or cancel their participation.
What are your refund policies if I choose to cancel in a situation like this?
Given the circumstances, we have enhanced our cancellation policy for participants who had selected the Comprehensive or Basic Protection Plans. Our new cancellation policies for trips outside of USA/Canada are shown in the chart below. These enhancements are based on the non-refundable payments we have made to our travel suppliers. We are asking all of our travel partners to re-visit their policies wherever possible so that we can re-evaluate ours in the next few weeks. Our Ultimate Protection Plan, which was available to all participants during the registration process, offers greater cancellation flexibility for any reason.
For reference, our standard cancellation policies can be viewed on our Protection Plans page.
*The comprehensive Protection Plan Fee, Ultimate Protection Plan Free, and any visa fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. Non-refundable fees also include, but are not limited to, Encore/ACIS Travel Voucher Credits, late fees, and canceled check fees. Encore/ACIS Travel Credit Vouchers are transferable, are not redeemable for cash, and expire 12/31/22. Please contact Encore for more details.
How can I use the travel vouchers?
Our travel vouchers give you a chance to springboard toward future travel with Encore, ACIS, or our parent company, AIFS. You can use the voucher on any Encore performance tour or ACIS program outside of the USA and Canada. Vouchers can also be used on college-level programs, namely AIFS’ College Study Abroad and Global Experience’s international internship programs. Study abroad programs are offered in 22 different countries, with short-term, semester and academic year options. Internships are available in 13 different locations and cover career fields ranging from business to non-profit to technical fields.
Our vouchers are fully transferable, so you can easily sell them to a friend or colleague who is interested in traveling on any of these programs. Vouchers need to be redeemed for travel starting before December 31, 2022.
I have an overseas trip with you that departs this summer (after May 1). What should I do?
Our advice for you right now would be to sit tight. We are freezing summer travelers’ current cancellation policies from March 1 through April 15. This means it would be advantageous to hold off on making travel decisions right now and ensure you have as much information possible before making a final determination.
We will be discussing new travel options with any interested group leaders, but we are starting with the groups that are due to depart in the next few weeks. Please bear with us and use this extra time to gather more information, knowing that you’re waiting risk-free.
What should I know about rolling over my trip to next year?
For the many groups that are rolling their trip to 2021, all money paid to date will be automatically applied to the new trip. We are also working with group leaders to create customized options for people who will no longer be part of the ensemble at that time
Will my price stay the same if I roll?
Yes! Encore is proud to offer a price match guarantee for all groups who decide to roll their trips to 2021. Assuming that your group retains the same itinerary, venues, group size, terms and conditions, and equivalent dates, we will honor your previously negotiated rate!
What if my school decides for us that we can’t travel in 2020?
If a school suspends all student travel programs, then participants will be canceled under the enhanced cancellation policy outlined above or postponed to 2021 travel.
When can I expect to receive my refund?
Typically refunds are processed within 45 days of receiving your official notice of cancellation, however, Massachusetts’ governor has issued a stay-at-home order for all non-essential businesses that will run through May 4. As a Boston-based company, this will limit our ability to print out refund checks, but we will do everything in our power to process refunds as quickly as possible while ensuring the safety of our employees and the local community.
If I am traveling on a performance tour to the United States or Canada, will there be any adjustments made for these programs?
Although we are working to increase our flexibility on these programs, trips within the USA or Canada remain subject to our standard cancellation policies. As we formulate a plan with your Group Leader, they will be sure to communicate your options.
What if something happens to me or our group while we’re overseas?
Encore maintains a worldwide safety network so we always have local support no matter where you are traveling. Our 24-hour Duty Officer systems operate in the U.S. and overseas non-stop to deal with any emergency quickly and professionally. Additionally, all participants are enrolled in an international medical insurance plan coordinated by AXA, our round-the-clock, 365-day travel assistance provider.
There is nothing more important to Encore Tours than the safety and security of our participants. We have been continually monitoring the latest recommendations from the CDC and State Department to guide our response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In addition, we have been consulting with a third-party travel security specialist that advises us on the risks associated with travel to different areas in the world.
For specific questions related to your upcoming trip, group leaders can reach out to their program consultants. At this time, we encourage parents and students to communicate directly with their group leader for updates. For more general questions, please call Traveler Support at 877-460-3801 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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