Travel agents have been warned to be careful using the word “holiday” when defining packages on their websites. The warning was issued today during the LexusNexus travel and tourism law conference in London, where Peter Stewart, partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse, said that agents needed to make sure their websites were “very clear.”
During the session entitled, “Package holidays: to package or not to package,” Steward said that travel agencies need to make sure “consumers have been given upfront information on what exactly they are being sold.”
“The term dynamic packaging is wholly misleading,” he said.
“Travel companies have to sit back and think what are we doing; what exactly is it that we do? The word holiday doesn’t automatically mean it is a package but there is confusion.”
“An explanation to consumers is a key element that will gain judicial sympathy” in assessing liability in a case, Stewart said.
“It’s all about customer perception – if they are being mislead, it is very difficult to argue against that. Agents have to give the complete message to customers. There might be a marketing advantage to representing something as a package holiday, but you can’t have your cake and eat it.”
Meanwhile Stewart also said that the term “dynamic packaging” was likely to become defunct in future. In the wake of the Atol reforms, which ensure refunds if a travel firm fails, agents are likely to replace the term with the label Flight Plus