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AWTE bite-size session advises on handling customer complaints to keep out of court

Robust processes and procedures can help keep you out of court should a disgruntled holidaymaker seek to pursue a claim against your company.

In a bite-size Handling travel complaints to avoid litigation session, held by the Association of Women Travel Executives (AWTE), travel law expert Joanna Kolatsis said the supply chain, in particular, should strictly meet all legal obligations.

Joanna, a law partner at Gates and Partners, a leading aviation and travel law firm, who has also worked in a tour operator’s law department, added that it was vital for the holiday company to make its position and its terms and conditions clear. For example, are they a principle or an agent?

She said the best thing a travel company can do to pre-empt any claims is to “have robust processes and procedures in place to glean as much information as possible from their staff or representatives on the ground”. This should include, for example, a customer services report form, incident report form, and hoteliers statement template – and all processes should be backed up with training so everyone understands their responsibilities.
If a complaint is received, then it is vital to review all the documents on file from any staff in question. “Hopefully, if the processes and procedures previously outlined are working, all of this information should be with the travel company before the complaint is even received.”

The most common complaints that prompt holidaymakers to pursue litigation or compensation are: loss of enjoyment, and personal injury claims.

Andrew Wright
Published by Andrew Wright