In 2010, I was referred to by one major UK tour operator as being an 'alarmist', when I pointed out that where there had been repeated sickness in a hotel in Los Gigantes in Tenerife for several years. I also pointed out that where tour companies have knowledge of such 'repeat' illnesses, they should advise holidaymakers before they travel! In addition, I also asked some pertinent questions not only of the tour operator but also the resort authorities.
Fast forward to 2013 and we have received many calls from anxious holidaymakers, not just for one hotel, but for several in the resort of Los Gigantes, AND, we have also been speaking to holidaymakers affected by the illness they have suffered as a result of their visit to this resort.
If I sat and said nothing about the problems down there, you can be assured that cyberspace would do the talking for me, so you see, this commentary is not led by HolidayTravelWatch, but the Consumers themselves!
When you speak to the Consumers either about to go, in resort or have just returned from Los Gigantes, you will realise what a loyal bunch of Consumers this resort and its hotels enjoy!
They will often tell you:
- How they have travelled there for years;
- They know the managers and staff of the hotels/restaurants by their first name's;
- The resort is a perfect winter getaway from the UK winter;
- That everyone is working very hard to resolve the problems in the resort;
- That they don't want the resort to suffer;
- That they don't want to become part of the 'compensation culture'.
What is evident from my perspective, is that this loyal section of Consumers are displaying the renowned British stiff upper lip, whilst suffering in silence at the same time!
In my view, the holidaymakers of Los Gigantes are too forgiving for many reasons:
- They know there are continuing problems in Los Gigantes, yet they return - would they do the same thing if they had a problem with a car or a TV?
- Holidaymakers to Los Gigantes are brand loyal, yet accept the 'excuse' that it is the holidaymakers who bring the 'bug' into resort!
- If it is a holidaymaker problem, why then does the resort authorities not employ the cruise ship approach, where if you have or are suffering with an illness, you are not permitted to go on-board; could the resort not apply the same 'entry' requirement if they think its the holidaymakers fault?
- If it's not the holidaymakers fault, why then have they not answered local people's and HolidayTravelWatch's questions?
- The repeat holidaymakers know that there has been a problem with sewage issues for years, yet remain 'individual' in their approach to the authorities;
- They suffer with illness - some repeating the experience over several years - yet blindly accept that it is so-called 'norovirus' without any form of testing;
- Some of the holidaymakers affected resist taking firm action for fear of being seen as greedy, 'jumping on the band-wagon', all because of some misplaced 'compensation culture' belief. I ask the question again; would you react the same way if you car or TV failed?
I want to tell the holidaymakers of Los Gigantes of the lessons learned by past holidaymnakers to other resorts. I can immediately think of 3 resorts where the same year-in-year-out illness issue was a factor. In all cases the holidaymakers were given the same 'care & attention' and the same 'excuses':
- Little or no information from the pre-travel advisors;
- A requirement to pay more if you want to change, ignoring important Consumer rights;
- Reps telling holidaymakers that they were not aware of any illness in the resort or hotel;
- Witnessing people being ill or being taken to the medical centre or hospital;
- Continued assurances that all precautions are being taken;
- Claims by tour companies that less than 2% or 5% are ill therefore there is no cause for concern.
Does that sound familiar?
In these historic cases, not only did holidaymakers take on the tour companies and won, but they also had the added benefit of seeing their favourite hotels and resorts up their game and improve the quality of the holiday product!
Would that have been acheived in these cases by that stiff letter to the chairman; most defintely not!
So my message to the very loyal Los Gigantes holidaymakers is this:
- Treat the failure of your holiday like failures in any other Consumer product;
- Do not be swayed by your loyalty - they say that familiarity breeds contempt - is that what is happening to you?
- Can you be sure that your illness complaints are just 'norovirus' - get yourself stool sample tested, and
- If you really want to help this resort, take action, whether it is as an individual or as a group and experience what many holidaymakers have enjoyed before you - justice and the real satisfaction that you brought about change!
You are to be congratulated for your loyalty to this resort and these tour companies, but is this the right way to have your loyalty re-paid?