Bank supports Chorley coach holiday firm through coronavirus crisis

A Lancashire holiday company that received standing ovations for getting its customers home safe says it is determined to come back stronger than ever, thanks to support from Lloyds Bank.

Friday, 3rd April 2020, 11:45 am
Alfa Leisureplex Travel is based in Chorley

The Chorley-based Alfa Leisureplex Group takes more than 115,000 people on holiday every year with a fleet of 48 state of the art modern tourist coaches and 22 seaside hotels across the UK, including popular resorts such as Newquay and Llandudno.

Most of its customers are over 60, so the business had to move fast to shut down its operations when the government advised against all non-essential travel on March 16.

Managing director Emma Russell said: “As a responsible employee-owned business, we made the decision to close and bring our customers home straight away.

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“We felt it was the right thing to do to get everyone home as soon as possible so they could stay safe, stock up on essential provisions and get ready for the social distancing measures that were coming into place.

“When we made the announcement, we got standing ovations in some of the hotels and we’ve been overwhelmed with messages of support from customers, who are really appreciative of what we’ve done.”

Now Alfa has cancelled all its holidays until the end of April, with customers offered the option of either postponing their trip to a later date, getting a credit note or a full refund.

The reservations team isworking from home to deal with customers enquiries and refunds, whilst the majority of the firm’s workers are currently on furlough.

A £1.9million overdraft extension was agreed by Lloyds Bank within 48 hours to help fund the refunds.

Emma said: “The support we’ve had from Lloyds gives us the security that we know we can continue to refund customers and we haven’t had to make any rash decisions .”

The £43million turnover business is 75 per cent owned by its 710 employees, who each receive an equal share of the company’s profits.