Why we still deal with the pandemic
What: The pandemic / Where: Around the globe / When: march 2020 – march 2022 / Genre: Our services
The pandemic seems to be over in most of Europe. But for a company like Maximal Trips this is not the case. In this blog we will try to explain our difficulties, how we deal with them and how it can affect you as a traveller.
March 2020 - how it all started
We had everything fixed, just three days before going to Rampage in Antwerp: buses from six countries and 35 cities, passenger lists and tour leaders. Emails with information had been sent out to everyone and all drivers were fully briefed. It was our first trip since the successes of 2019 and it would have been another very good year for Maximal Trips.
A call came in and we heard the event could not take place due to a virus called Covid-19. This news was simply insane and we – just as most travellers – could not really believe we could not party anymore that weekend. It was an unprecedented situation and at that time we could not foresee that it would take another 2 years before we could hit the road again. Shortly after we even got the ‘good’ news that the event was rescheduled to september 2020. In those first days we did not realize yet what the impact of the virus would be and how long it would keep us away from organizing bus trips to festivals.
Having a break during one of our trips
2021 - how we dealt with the ongoing crisis
We sort of survived 2020, although we had to cancel 100% of our bus trips. We tried setting up some new stuff but every time we were about to launch (succesful) projects corona hit back. At a certain point we had to give up and we focussed on all the rescheduling of our trips, making alternative plans with our partners and helping customers with their questions.
2021 was the year of the vaccin, but pretty soon we realized that we could not really organize any bus trips. Our intercontinental fanbase combined with traveling across borders made everything too insecure. It was around april 2021 when the curtain finally fell and another season was over. Again: cancellation of 100% of our trips.
By the end of 2021 we started looking forward to 2022 and there was a certain optimism. Together with our partnering festivals we were happy to make new plans for the next season. Still, despite all vaccinations, the pandemic was still there and another depressing winter with curfews and nowhere to go for a party was here.
2022 - how the world had changed
It was March 2022, almost exactly two years after the first cancellation, when we could organize the very same trip to Rampage in Antwerp that had been cancelled so abruptly in 2020. Being able to do what we are good at simply felt great.
Meanwhile, we realized things had changed. Where other companies flourished during and after the pandemic, our sector still suffered from the losses we made. We saw two things happening. First, our clients did not book as early as usual, although booking early was still cheaper than booking last-minute and you would save your spot in the bus. It was as if nobody really had faith in another ‘normal’ festival season anymore. Let alone the ongoing pandemic in overseas countries which prevented people out there from coming to Europe. Second, there were not as many buses and drivers anymore. Companies got rid of part of their buses and drivers went to other sectors and did not come back. This caused a shortage, reinforced by all companies, schools and bridal couples who needed a bus all at once for their getaways. Gas prices went up due, especially after mr. Putin started his war against Ukrain.
And so we faced big issues from both of our supplier side as from our customers. The pandemic was not over at all. Although we were and still are flexible enough to adapt to the new situation, we had to deal with things beyond our control.
The Maximal Trips pre-party, calm before the storm…
2023 - how we will survive
It is with great regret that the whole situation affects not only us as a company, but also our beloved travellers who travel with us since we have started this back in 2012. With less travellers it is harder to combine cities and more necessary to reschedule people or even cancel their trip. We simply cannot combine everything and even our best bus partners cannot wait that long with getting trips confirmed. Meanwhile we face a huge raise in pricing which we unfortunately cannot always change in our ticket prices for customers.
The world has changed and we are trying to keep pace. We are truely sorry every time we cannot deliver what we promised. Organizing bus trips is all about planning and making forecasts about routes and figures. At the moment it sometimes is like steering in the fog. We just try to do this as good as we can.
When it comes to cancellations we are keen on finding solutions for our traveller. Also, we try to do this on time so they can find alternative ways of transport. We understand how important it can be. Because after all these years we still go to festivals ourselves. We still like to party and we seek for adventures in places far away from the ones we know.
Of course there is good news too, with many trips we can organize again, happy people in our buses, new projects in even more countries. We feel blessed with our portfolio and partnerships and it gives us the power to continue with doing this. It was at that festival in Germany back in 2011 on a sunny summer day where the enthusiastic MC kept on screaming as loud as he could: “Maximaaaaaaaaaaal”.
With this blog we’ve tried to give a little insight in the current situation for us in particular and for the festival scene in general. Although you might not have got what you wanted, please know that we are doing everything to keep the festival scene alive and as vibrating and energizing as it always has been. Do contact us if you have any further questions.