Interestingly there was a firm focus on the increasing numbers of unlicensed tour operators from outside the EU. The number of unlicensed traders marketing directly to the UK consumers is increasing, especially through travel exhibitions and online.
Speaking at this year’s AITO conference in Portugal, Josephides went on to explain, “ This is not only creating an unfair “playing field” but putting licensed operators businesses at risk and allowing consumers to travel, often unknowingly, without financial protection.”
The Importance Of Package Travel Regulation Compliance
Josephides went on to highlight that non-EU travel companies still have to comply with the Package Travel Regulations. “It’s one thing if a customer sources these companies themselves, but it’s another if they are advertising their services on Google or at consumer travel fairs.”
All travel professionals, tour operators, and travel agents have a responsibility to always ensure that consumers understand The Package Travel Regulations. Derek Moore, Aito Chairman, made a really important point that “Agents can foster the knowledge in people’s minds its important to use a licensed operator.”
On a positive Aito also discovered the number of holidaymakers choosing to travel with a fully bonded travel company increased by 30% after the collapse of Monarch. This highlights consumers are becoming more aware of the importance of financial protection in travel.
The Aito Travel Insights Report 2017 showed the survey results from polling 25000 people in both September and October. 45 companies took part in the poll and asked their clientele.
83% of participants said they booked with specialists because they value the knowledge and expert information. 47% said they choose a travel company based on customer service and relationships. Surprisingly, the price was fifth on the list of importance and reasons for booking with a company.
In essence, financial security is becoming of utmost importance to the consumer and this will become even more important as and when rogue traders fail. Consumer protection is key for a tour operator or travel agency.
It is imperative that the travel industry works together to uphold the reputation and integrity of the travel industry. The rogue traders will inevitably keep appearing but if the consumer keeps being educated on the importance of booking with a reputable travel company and ensuring their money is protected then the travel industry will be able to start playing on an even field.
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