Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Published on Monday, November 23, 2020

Customers return to OTA after improved service

Travel Republic appears to be winning back consumer confidence after improving its service since the start of the pandemic, but some holidaymakers say they'll steer clear of rival online travel agents.


In its latest move to win back business, Travel Republic added free Covid insurance to every new booking so customers are guaranteed a refund if they can't travel due to contracting the illness.

They will also be covered for cancellation if they're made redundant due to Covid, while Travel Republic is also promising customers full refunds if their holidays are cancelled for any reason outside their control.

As a result, the OTA has received positive feedback on social media, with many customers saying they would definitely book with Travel Republic for 2021.

Customers said they had already booked with the agent for next year due to the introduction of the Covid cover and the fact that it had performed better than its rivals during the pandemic.

"Yes there were problems this year but they behaved better than most and we will carry on using them," said one Facebook post.

Another wrote: "They cancelled my holiday and I've already got a full refund, I will be booking to go away with them next year, I also think it's great to have the Covid protection."

While most of the comments on social media were in praise of Travel Republic, a handful of clients said they wouldn't use the OTA again due to problems getting refunds after their trips were cancelled in the summer.

Travel Republic turned its phones off at the start of the pandemic
due to a deluge of refund requests and customers complained that emails went unanswered. But in a post on its website earlier this month, Managing Director Antonio Fellino said they phone lines had reopened and he apologised to customers for the inconvenience they'd endured.

At the time, he said all customers with cancellations up to 25 October had been refunded and all others would be refunded within 14 days of cancellation. Some customers complained on social media that they were still waiting for refunds from trips cancelled months ago, but others praised the company for improvements in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, customers of some rival OTAs say they are still struggling to obtain refunds for holidays cancelled in the early summer.

Several customers said they would 'steer clear' of Loveholidays, with some expressing concern that the OTA quit ABTA earlier this year.

Both Loveholidays and On the Beach decided to leave the travel association rather than comply with ABTA's code of conduct which says packages must be refunded if the Foreign Office advises against non-essential travel.

However, the decision to give up their ABTA membership could backfire as several customers say this is the reason they'd choose to book with Travel Republic instead. One previously loyal Loveholidays customer wrote on Facebook that she would avoid the company since it no longer has ABTA membership, adding: "Shame as I have had good holidays with them".


By Linsey McNeill, Editor (UK)

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