The Which? travel report claims that financial protection is now the second most important factor people consider when booking a holiday. However it revealed when mystery called by the consumer watchdog, agents from a number of travel agencies were giving out often unclear, misleading and inaccurate information about the financial protection the customer would receive when the agent dynamically packages separate parts of a holiday together.
Jennifer who runs her own home-based travel business with the support of leading independent travel company Travel Counsellors, comments; “This survey really highlights how important it is that customers know exactly how they are protected when booking their holidays. In 2006 ABTA removed the financial protection it offered to customers through its travel agents bonding scheme. This is something very few customers are aware of, and more so many ABTA agents don’t actually know what is and isn’t protected for their customers, and through no fault of their own are giving misleading or inaccurate information out to their customers about how their money is protected.”
The report revealed although 34% of agents managed to get across a general message about financial protection, they were often so vague that customers were unlikely to get a full understanding of how they were protected.
In 2004 Travel Counsellors, which has over 700 agents in the UK, left ABTA, the Association of British Travel Agents, and formed its own financial trust to offer full financial protection to its customers. So Jennifer can offer her customers all-encompassing travel protection for any arrangements they want to make.
Jennifer says; “Our Financial Trust means that all travel arrangements, from flight only to tailor-made holidays, are fully financially protected, giving my customers total peace of mind. It provides them with a financial guarantee that very few other travel agencies can match. The current economic climate means that unfortunately there is always the possibility of travel failures, so it is reassuring that I can tell my customers that their money is 100% financially guaranteed and I will be there for them immediately should things go wrong.”
This has become a very prominent issue within the travel industry and comes during the Government’s ATOL consultation process, which hopes to simplify financial protection for customers. At present many customers require tailor made travel arrangements which may not be covered by ATOL protection. ABTA no longer guarantees to financially protect the customer and Jennifer believes this should be made clearer to the public.
She adds; “I feel the issue of financial protection needs complete clarity and transparency from ABTA, as reports such as these can put all travel agents in a bad light. As a Travel Counsellor I am extremely proud to be part of a company that takes its customers’ financial peace of mind so seriously and can offer our customers complete protection when booking their holidays.”
Working from home and using award winning technology Jennifer is available at a time to suit her customers – meaning unlike high street agencies she can be contacted during the evenings and at weekends.
For more information or to discuss your future travel plans please contact Jennifer on 0845 058 7976 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org