A Crisis of Attitude in the Travel Industry?

I was struck by the recent headlines whereby an employee of Thomson's allegedly told a holidaymaker to 'shut the **** up with ur moaning' simply because the holidaymaker believed that they should have received the holiday they booked for. The article advises that Thomson apologised, dismissed the staff member and was carrying out an investigation and assisting the police.

Recently we have heard from a holidaymaker who sought to deal with another major tour operator with her flight complaint.  The holidaymaker made what she believed were valid points, but became frustrated by what she saw as the tour operator's representative stone-walling her; she persisted as all Consumers should!

Imagine her surprise when she received an e mail from the tour operator's representative by mistake; it stated:


Help me with this woman!

She is grating on me!!


The holidaymaker thanked the tour operator's representative for copying her in on the e mail; she received the following response:

"My apologises for sending this e mail to you. I had mistakenly sent my response to your e mail address rather than that of my colleagues"

The representative advised that they were passing the matter to their senior colleague and that she would hear from them in 14 days.

The holidaymaker was understandably taken aback by the response because it did not actually apologise for the making the comment, rather that it had been sent to her by mistake!

The holidaymaker being somewhat annoyed by this major tour operator's responses, voiced her concerns and frustration via Facebook given the lack of care, attention and contact.  

The holidaymaker was subsequently advised by e mail that the matter had been escalated but she would have to wait whilst the matter was prioritised.  

Within that same e mail, the senior member of staff reiterated that she had been  asked to remove her negative posting on Facebook; the holidaymaker refused, but seeking to be constructive offered an olive brach to discuss all the issues to avoid further problems by e mail!

The response from the senior tour operator's representative agreed to speak but wanted to know what they were going to talk about first, so that they could prepare!

By this stage it was clear that her complaints had been passed down the line back to the original recipient of the offending e mail; the holidaymaker insisted that the matter be dealt with by a manager.  She then received a response which stated:

"Our escalation procedure is such that the only time a case would be escalated above myself or any other senior member of staff is when the customer is unhappy with the service I or another Senior member of staff have offered"

They added;

"I have worked for [MAJOR TOUR OPERATOR] for 8 years and was at one time a Team Leader/Manager myself but chose to take a step back for personal reasons"

They concluded;

"I am more than experienced to deal with your case, unless you are unhappy with the service received from myself, I am not prepared to escalate this case to a Manager at this time"

The holidaymaker by now was completely and utterly fed up with the way this had been handled and requested that the matter be escalated to a Manager, as she had been previously advised would happen with her complaint.  The holidaymaker received the following response from the same 'Senior' representative:

"I have forwarded a copy of our entire email chain to my manager for him to contact you. I must advise however that call requests to Managers are within 48 hours, and as you have provided me with no further information as to why you wish to escalate this, he may not be able to provide you with a response over the phone"

The holidaymaker subsequently received a written response to her complaints.

Perhaps it's me, but if something goes wrong or something is sent in error, shouldn't you be bending over backwards to placate and apologise to a Consumer? If companies want to 'trim' their costs, then they could do no worse in examining how they actually deal with complaints and more importantly, have they got the right people representing them & making the responses? Times are tough within the Travel Industry, but if companies are making changes to the employees terms and conditions, are those same employees lashing out at the only people they can - the Consumer? It is time for the Travel Industry to get a grip of attitudes before more stories like this surface!


Tags: Holiday Complaints Travel Reviews Travel Blogs

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