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Simon Mennens • 1 week ago

Surely if a concerted campaign was mounted stating that even though the legality of what OTB is doing is not in question but the customer service and loyalty is; then a few more people would be disinclined to book with them.
You will always get people who have the Ryanair syndrome (ie I know they are awfully bad but they are cheap enough that I will return to them again and again) but there will be a cabal of customers who will not use OTB and it will force the travel industry as a whole to understand it is not trading for their for its own sake it is their to service customers needs - the sooner OTA's and legacy companies understand that fact and stop hiding behind their legal position the sooner a very tarnished industry will gain some traction for public support to help them out of this hole.

Antony Winspear • 1 week ago

Times have changed and the primary determinator, the law as established by parliament needs to catch up.

Taking post-shots at OTAs for "poor performance" on refunds sounds like a combination of consumer frustration supported by traditional travel agents and tour operators supporting their justifiable angst knowing their model is under challenge.

As an interested bystander in-resort with no vested interest in this argument, apart from not wanting UK consumers being put off foreign holidays I would make the following observations:
1. Some airlines and some traditional tour operators (notably one with a formerly excellent reputation) have done themselves NO favours in mishandling the whole voucher/refund situation. (It is notable that a couple of "newer" UK tour operators are now very highly regarded here in resort for their customer service compared to the biggest).
2. OTAs provide what many people want - a greater freedom of choice (avoiding the A/I tyranny/use of "in-house" accommodation of some tour operators) without the "scary" prospect of going off-piste and booking everything independently (which I commenced in 1999 with no problems or regrets).
3. All businesses [and consumers] rely on primary legislation in source and destination markets to enable them to function successfully. Governments and politicians need to get their act together and sort this out, quickly!
4. Tour operators and travel agents need to accept that they live in a new world. Booking flights and accommodation direct is going to increase over coming years as consumers realise that they can trust well-capitalised airlines and reputable local accommodation owners. Here in the Greek islands we are learning to promote DIRECT BOOKING to reduce the over-reliance on profit-draining UK tour operators and foreign-owned organisations including "intermediate" internet operators mis-selling and starving the local economy AND ripping-off consumers with grossly inflated prices for every element of their holiday beyond the basic of a flight seat and a clean bed! (It is NOT unusual to find consumers charged 3x-4x the cost price for meals and budget [sic] "all-inclusive" drinks (often for very restricted hours, and using inferior local generic brands), up to DOUBLE prices on items such as transfers, car hire, etc.
Economic insurance policies are now on offer protecting direct booked elements including flights and accommodation.
5. Independent travellers staying in family-run self-catering or B&B accommodation enjoy a better experience at far lower cost - whilst the local economy benefits from money being spent in-resort benefitting local owners and workers, not imported workers on less than 50% of the local minimum wage and profits siphoned off to Israel, London, Frankfurt and the BVI! (Yes, apparently UK based travel operators have and do pay through so-called "tax havens").
Get your house in order traditional tour operators and travel agents, times are changing.

*I am not anti all-inclusive. We have some superb 5* all-inclusive spa resort hotels here offering the finest accommodation and varied cuisine of the highest order. Prices start at c200€ pp per night. STOP SELLING so-called budget all-inclusive whist paying the hotel less than your local school probably receives for a school dinner! (Ironically is only the BRITISH who seem to expect something for nothing... German, Polish and French guests staying on one local A/I budget hotel (Voldemort Towers by Voldemort Tours LOL) had ZERO complaints! They knew they'd booked at a bargain price for lovely rooms and a great pool area... they did NOT expect haute cuisine... just a decent Greek buffet breakfast and "free" pizza and ice cream for the children during certain restricted hours. STOP OVER-PROMISING! Be honest!

Janice Redmond • 1 week ago

We booked for Portugal on 6th February for September I was in cummunication with on the beach about our holiday but was told we weren't entitled to a full refund as our hotel was still open and our flights would go ahead. If for any reason anything changed they would be in touch. Our parties ages were 51/54/79/80 nobody wanted to take the risk as we're not young things anymore and my husband would have lost his job as we would have to have done 14 days self isolation. On the beach kept sending me an email back stating about the hotel and flight going ahead. We have ended up getting nothing we lost all our money.

Jimbo • 1 week ago

Disinclination is no reason for a refund, which is precisely SC's point.

However:
I don't know anything about SC except he apparently started a multimillion-pound ski operator while still a student and allegedly he's from Macc, but you could just as easily say "Cheshire", which puts a totally different slant on his background. In short, what I'm saying is that while I feel his argument has some merit, I don't think, from a PR perspective at times of financial hardship, that a posh boy is the best person to be making it. (But then maybe he isn't).

Everard • 1 week ago

Simon Cooper is 100% right, and all these thinly veiled jealous embittered and snidey comments about OTA's are a bit pathetic.

Simon Mennens • 1 week ago

rubbish - he leads a gaggle of companies that walk a tight-rope on the regulations but don't care about the customer.
The thin veil is from the OTA's themselves, they need to be upfront and tell the public of their position on things before taking their money.

Fabio • 1 week ago

He is not right as history will show.

marcelle haines • 1 week ago

I booked with OTB for a package holiday for September this year I booked in March and payed in full then 4 weeks before going told by email my hotel I choose was closed and they booked me into a different hotel then 2 weeks before I was due to fly told that hotel was closed and told I had to still fly but had nowhere to stay , they would refund hotel cost but that was all I told them I booked the whole package with them so it should be a whole package refund . I'm a single lady over 60 yrs old and told to still go with nowhere to stay I think it is disgusting how they have treated they customer's . I WILL NOT BE USING ONTHEBEACH AGAIN they take your money then you have to fight to get a refund

Lord Merlin of Nowhere • 1 week ago

Does anyone have a REAL addressfor OTB.....I fneed to serve a letter on them and presume it will never be answered if emailed....like their phone system....Chasing my wifes flight money from her family trip to Greece in August....having changed from Tui to EasyJet OTB have refunded the other 6 members of the party but not her..TUI insist they refunded all!

PeterM • 1 week ago

The real issue here = they do not to refund you.

Bletherer • 1 week ago

The underlying problem, IMO, is that liability has been separated from action.

If the goverment decrees that a particular holiday cannot take place, then the government should be responsible for repaying the customer.

It may then pursue the opertor for that part of the costs which the operator has not disbursed.

I really do not see why a blameless business should be forced to bankrupt itself.

(And I am not a tour operator)

peter sanity • 1 week ago

The law needs to change in that when the FCDO issue a edit against travel to a certain country it needs to be written in law and no flights or carriage direct from the UK should be permitted to that said Country full stop.
The two issues however are conflicted and OTB/Love Holidays etc need to simply stand up and say they cannot afford to pay back passengers in this crisis period and instead can offer a credit note.. What is to be ashamed of its fact so stop BS everyone and make a statement you will be respected far more if you do
ABTA and ATOL and any financial body needs to protect their members and stop sticking the boot in as the end result will be those bodies wont have jobs either otherwise.

The industry needs to stick together so everyone gets through this crisis.

Fabio • 1 week ago

The law does not need to change. You just need to ensure you book with a reputable company who operate a sound business model.

OTB / LH are simply tech companies that live off API's with flashy front end search engines.

They are not travel companies, the same as Just Eat and Deliveroo are not restauranter's.

peter sanity • 1 week ago

Why does the law not need to change?
Little point issuing any EDIT from the FCDO when Easy and Wizz and others
have operated from the UK to Countries that have been on the DO NOT TRAVEL list...

The whole Travel experience is awful but you cannot go to pubs or gyms now in certain areas but you can sit on an Aircraft and not social distance..crazy a 737-800 holds 189 passengers to social distance(2M) on this Aircraft the load is 16 pax only so how is this even allowed?

David Stewart • 1 week ago

Our holiday was booked as a package through OTB, long before Covid became a pandemic. We had to fight for the accommodation and transfers cost, but we still lost £750 on flights. We can prove there was a significant change to the holiday and OTB are refusing to refund the whole cost. There are thousands of customers in this situation. I doubt OTB will be in business next year. They’ve lost so much consumer trust, I doubt anyone would book a holiday through them again! I booked another holiday through Hays Travel and Turkey subsequently went onto the FCDO list. No quibble refund back in 24 hours! There’s a lot to be said for traditional travel agencies. I’ll continue to book through them for peace of mind in these uncertain times. OTB and Ryanair are both Crooks!

Fabio • 1 week ago

The key word in David's post above is "trust". Lose your customers trust you lose the business. This is a basic business rule.

Any good lawyer can argue for a loophole, however you must look after your customers.

Simon Cooper has clearly been tasked with simply keeping his business alive for the interest of his investors.

Ronald Cameron • 1 week ago

Hi i had to cancel my family hoilday 2 days befor i had to fly following fcdo advise .On the beach refunded us £350 we payed £1333.50 we are both key workers with kids we booked hoilday in January .Come on the beach stop ripping of key worker and pay money back

tcd0909 • 1 week ago

So I assume On The Beach have refunded all customers who booked pre-covid?

What about people who were encouraged/strong armed into rebooking? Those people have booked post-covid, but it's a bit ingenious to say that they knew the risk when they have been pushed into rebooking or done so to help the industry, and use this against them to deny them a refund.

KarlHarrison • 1 week ago

He's right. I have no idea what ABTA are thinking at the moment, All over the place.