What a tough year 2020 has been for us all!
We started off the year having taken a lot of bookings with some months being almost fully booked by February. The first lockdown came as a shock to many and went on longer than most anticipated. We had to contact hundreds of disappointed customers, most of whom we helped to rebook at no extra cost to them. There was much work to do making our premises and our boats Covid safe in line with guidelines from the government, the NHS and the British Marine Federation.
We reopened at the beginning of July, confident that our staff and our guests were safe, and we received many testimonials from returning customers in praise of the measures we had put in place.
“The whole boat was extremely clean. The handover was very detailed and well thought through and the COVID-19 policy made us feel safe during these strange times” – Amy Hayward
“This was a weekend break planned to celebrate significant birthdays and anniversaries across three generations but was held on tenterhooks by Covid-19 and the cautious lifting of lockdown measures. Foxhangers couldn’t have been more helpful through all the uncertainty, offering us four quality boats so that all four families could enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime get-together as we emerged out of lockdown. The knowledgeable staff, the training and handover all gave us the confidence to make the most of our time which we did, leaving us with unforgettable memories and the pleasure of being able to recommend such a generous, efficient and considerate company.” – Donald Hunter
Some customers chose to self-isolate on their chosen boat, taking advantage of the takeaway service many pubs along the canal were offering or self-catering in our superbly equipped kitchens. Others felt confident enough to eat in the pubs and both groups enjoyed their holiday.
Just as things were getting back to normal the “6 person rule” came into effect. Those affected were swiftly rebooked for a later date with some hiring a second boat to take the extra people that would have broken the rules. Then came the second lockdown in November and, again, we helped the majority of customers rebook to a later date. We received many emails praising us for the help we gave people.
We were so happy to be able to do our best for our customers, despite no government help beyond the ability to furlough staff. We were also delighted that we did not have to decrease our workforce (conversely, we increased it to help facilitate all the extra cleaning and checking necessary to keep everyone safe).
We continue to offer Covid Safe Boating Holidays for 2021. Read about the measures we have taken/are taking to keep all staff and guests safe here
We want you to feel confident when you book with us, so Your holiday will be covered by our Corona Virus Guarantee which means that if Government restrictions related to Covid-19 stop you taking your holiday you will have the option of transferring your holiday to a later date or a no quibble money back guarantee. Details of this guarantee here
We look forward to answering any questions you may have and welcoming you to a Covid Secure Boating Holiday on the beautiful Kennet and Avon Canal soon.
At the end of March 2020, we said our fond farewells to David who retired after five years as our Business Manager. David is now cruising the canal system for a couple of years – lucky chap!
Just before lockdown, David handed over to Dale who brings a wealth of experience to Foxhangers. He worked for Canal and River Trust for 37 years, working his way up to Operations Manager. It could not have been better timing for Foxhangers as Dale’s knowledge of Health and Safety made him the driving force in making sure our premises and our boats were all COVID-19 safe in time for the reopening of the country and the welcoming of guests back to Foxhangers. Dale has very quickly earned the respect of the whole team who value his guidance.
Caroline joined us in August this year as Business Admin/PA. She comes from a strong administrative background and supports the management team in many areas of admin and accounts. She has quickly settled in and is already a valued team member.
We also had three promotions; Ray who has worked as an engineer at Foxhangers for 10 years was promoted to Engineering Manager. Nicky, who joined us seven years ago and has filled various roles was promoted to Office Manager and Luke who joined our Boat Building Team three years ago is now Technical and Project Team Leader. Congratulations to all!
Stop Press! New 5* Boat Build In Progress!
Following the outstanding success of our first Five Star Boat, Darwin’s Fox which sells out at an amazing rate, we have recently started building her sister boat. This newest addition to our Platinum Fox Fleet will have the same layout as Darwin’s Fox which has sleeping cabins at opposite ends of the boat for maximum privacy. It will also boast the same luxurious features; additional drinks fridge, Nespresso coffee machine, granite worktops, TVs in every cabin, a king-sized bed, blue tooth audio system, 2 large showers with heated towel rails and underfloor heating.
We anticipate that our new boat (as yet unnamed) will be completed in mid to late 2021. We will be soon taking advance bookings for her for 2022 as Darwin’s Fox is already heavily booked for 2021. Watch this space for further updates!