A huge thanks to Stephen Mason, senior partner at Travlaw for a very insightful and informative seminar, before our Spring Networking Lunch at the fabulous Blythswood Hotel last week. Coming from one of the UK's top Travel Lawyers, it was (as the credit card advert says) :- Priceless!
Many agents now have their own ATOL's (or small business ATOL's) and it means that in the eyes of the law, they are liable for any holidays that are booked as 'a package'. Now that might seem like a straightforward statement, but ever since I have been in the travel business there have always been some big question marks around what actually constitutes 'a package'!
Stephen kindly clarified some of the issues, highlighted some of the test cases and helped define what currently constitutes a package. He then moved on to explain how things will change when the new EU Package Travel Directive (PTD) will be implemented in 2018.
I won't go into this in too much detail because we have included a link below* that will take you to his full presentation, but if it is relevant to your business, it is definitely worth taking a look as there are some major changes ahead.
He then covered the very relevant and topical issue of the huge rise in Gastric illness claims which are currently plaguing the industry - (apparently driven by claims companies starved of their lucrative 'whiplash' claims due to government intervention in the car insurance system).
This is currently so bad that it has affected many of our members and associates - there have even been rumours of some Spanish hoteliers threatening to withdraw from offering 'All Inclusive' holidays in order to beat the claims companies and culture that are threatening their very existence (If guests are forced to eat elsewhere, it is more difficult to prove that the hotel is liable).
Stephen explained that there are moves afoot for government intervention regarding raising the small claims limit that will make it unviable for claims companies to become involved. But this process has now been delayed by the General Election.
Unless something can be done about it soon, it will definitely be a case of a few bad eggs ruining it for the majority. If you pardon the pun, of course.......
Alan Glen SPAA President