Tour Cancellations-Terms & conditions for tour operators. What should you include?

Tour Cancellations: With all the disruption of the pandemic and the flood of cancellations, a lot of experienced operators are wondering what they should put into their Terms and Conditions to cover them for Cancellations, reschedules and addressing social distancing laws.

The answer is to keep it simple and follow a few steps to make a straight forward set of conditions for customers! Let’s have a look at the steps to get these under control.

Step 1. Cancellations

We get it. As an operator, cancellations are no fun. While you always want to try to reschedule a customer, sometimes it’s just not possible. This is where setting the expectations of the process early with customers can save a lot of headaches later on. Most customers are quite understanding that there may be conditions around cancellations. Don’t be afraid to set a cut off for cancellations, but try to think of what is reasonable for you and a customer. Whatever you set a cut-off, make it clear in your policy.

For example

Cancellations must be made more than 24 hours in advance to receive a refund.

Step 2. Refunds

Speaking of Refunds, what should be refunded? With the majority of bookings made with payment via credit card, fees are usually refunded but it does depend on your Payment gateway. Your booking software may also charge bookings fees to the customers. Talk to your provider and see if they do refund the fees. If not, the majority of customers will be ok with occurring a fee for cancellations if you explain there is a credit card fee occurred to you. The secret here is to make this very clear in your policy.

For example

Any refunds will occur a 1.5% fee to cover credit card fees incurred by the operator.

Step 3. Availability

With a lot of experience-dependent on good weather conditions, or having minimum numbers to be viable, Operators need to think carefully about what is reasonable for them and their customers. If your tour has to be called off in the event of bad weather, it’s still very important to make sure the process for this is stipulated in terms and conditions. Uncertainty with this can make customers uneasy and leave a bad impression.

For example

In the case of rain, the tour is cancelled and customers can choose to reschedule or receive a gift card to choose a new date for their booking.

Step 4. Vouchers

With gift cards and vouchers, it’s important to check there are no laws in your country/state regarding the expiry of these. Most customers will expect a decent amount of time on their gift vouchers but usually understand there has to be a limit.

For example

In NSW Australia, gift cards must be valid for 3 years.

Again, it’s important to make this very clear in your terms and conditions.

Step 5. Social distancing and hygiene

With the recent pandemic, it’s no surprise that your guests will be concerned about social distancing and hygiene at your business. Clearly outline what you’re doing to ensure the safety of your guests. This will boost their confidence in your business. Ensure you state an accurate representation of your measures and that you’re not exaggerating.

For example

You are reducing contact as much as possible by introducing mobile check-ins and contactless waivers. All the equipment to be used by guests are cleaned with antibacterial solutions before and after use.


These are just some of the main things you should consider when crafting the T&C’s of your business. However, the information on this blog is for general guidance only. it should not be used as a substitute for consultation with legal professionals.


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