A Message from our CEO

The sudden and uncontrolled situation with the coronavirus pandemic has hit the whole world. The fast spreading capability of the virus and the fact that it can be transmitted by people who aren't showing any symptoms has our governments in a state of panic.

The impact on the travel industry is a disaster unfolding at such a rapid rate no one really knows how to mitigate it. As I write this we are watching cities and states shutting down their economies. Nothing is predictable in this situation, as it is entirely unprecedented. We may find later that there were incredible mistakes made. But those will be in hindsight, not something clearly visible to us today.

At RedWeek we are being crushed by the changes. Not only are customers afraid to make new commitments for vacations, but we are seeing a huge number of cancellations of previous commitments. In most cases these cancellations don't have as much to do with the fear of the disease — as with the banning of travel. On March 15 the government of Aruba banned travel to the island. On the island of Maui, the mayor has stepped up a series of greater and greater impacts on travelers and local businesses. First, there was the recommended social distancing with advice on washing hands, etc. A few days later he banned restaurants from serving anything but takeout. As of the morning of March 22, Hawaii's governor has instituted a mandatory, 14 day quarantine for all visitors to Hawaii. Obviously, this move will destroy the ability of our RedWeek visitors to their 7-day reservations.

When the government, acting in what is like a state of war, takes the kinds of actions that most world governments are taking now, there is going to be loss — personal loss. It's not anyone's fault. It is an unfortunate, unhappy fact of the condition of the society changing in an uncontrolled panic.

You may be someone that is on one side or other of a rental transaction for a unit that cannot be used. Our RedWeek system was designed for a stable economic system. The payment system is made to protect the renter from false advertising or scamming by crooks. It is also designed to protect the owner from sudden cancellations by the renter, even if for an issue like a medical or family emergency. In the case of the latter, the traveler is expected to have insurance to cover the loss of the rent payment made. But the insurance companies don't cover what is happening now. There are situations where the unit rented would be inhabitable due to storm, flood or fire. In these cases the owner would not be paid the rent. This unprecedented crisis for travel and living continues to get worse by the day. There is nothing normal about what we as a nation are going through.

RedWeek is doing the best we can with our team in what is anything but normal business. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to make both sides of the transaction whole in midst of this disaster.

We are structured to allow for our computer systems to do the bulk of our normal work. Our customer service team is sized and trained to deal with what are normal business needs and problems. The manual workload now is incredibly higher than normal and requires a great deal more personal attention than we've ever seen before. Our staff already work from home, so we didn't have to make that change — which so many in the world are having to do. We have limited, dedicated staff, and although they are working very long hours 7 days a week, we are struggling with the enormous backlog. But we will work through it and address every one of your issues.

For our owners — we have to look at the intention of the contract that was signed, that the unit must be habitable. The fact that the resort may be open doesn't qualify as habitable if the travelers can't, by government edict, travel to the resort. If the travelers are told that they must stay home to avoid causing a national health emergency then the resort cannot be considered habitable.

We understand the frustration and anger our customers have over canceled reservations, lost vacations, loss of expected income from a transaction contracted to be fulfilled. However, we are operating in an emergency situation that has not been experienced in our lifetimes. The virus and the government's reaction to it has become the unforeseen, but completely valid means of declaring the unit uninhabitable. We are forced to find for the renter in any disputed situation caused by this pandemic — at least through the end of April, possibly longer.

We look forward to a more stable future. America is particularly resilient. And we fully expect that the country will weather this crisis too. We are hoping and praying it is sooner rather than later.

Randy Conrads
RedWeek Inc.