In research from Which?, the magazine found that beach breaks are the most popular among British holidaymakers as the UK has some of its hottest weather. Over the last two years, holidays at the beach have accounted for 34% of all breaks taken by over 3,500 members who booked a break. However, the satisfaction ratings for these holidays was down 12% compared to other types of trips.
The survey compared 26 travel companies based on customer satisfaction, and the first ten achieved scores of at least 85%. Trailfinders had the highest rate of satisfaction at 97%, and it was followed by HF Holidays and InnTravel – both achieving 94% – Audley Travel at 93%, and Exodus at 90%.
Surprising to some, major holiday firms were ending up at the bottom of the ratings – with Thomas Cook at 60%, Virgin Holidays getting 69%, Thomson at 70% and First Choice ranking 71%. However, Newmarket Holidays had the worst customer satisfaction rating at 57%, while number three was Shearings Holidays with 62%, ranking just above Thomas Cook.
Responding to the impressive scores that some of the travel firms received, Which? Travel editor Lorna Cowan says that the travel industry has faced some challenging times over recent years, so they are thrilled that so many tour operators are performing well in their survey and delivering holidaymakers the high standard of customer service that they expect, she added.
The magazine also said that holiday firms have gotten higher customer satisfaction scores, on average, in this survey compared to most areas they research. They found the high performers had many loyal customers, and that almost half of travellers (46%) have travelled with the same holiday firm more than once. Their featured companies are made up of different kinds of holiday providers – from activity breaks to escorted tours, allowing their members to find one that accommodates their requirements. However, there is a 40-percentage-point gap between the best and worst travel companies, showing that some firms really need to raise their game. Holidaymakers can fly an Airbus A380 superjumbo between Newmarket Holidays and Trailfinders, the mag added.
Meanwhile, Which? has also discovered that there’s a big gap between the best and worst deals offered to exchange £500 for another currency while comparing rates online and in-branch. The magazine found that Thomas Cook charges €31.20, while the Post Office charges €13.50.
In a one-day snapshot survey, it found that the Post Office offered €578.50 for £500 in Glasgow and London. However, this dropped in Manchester, Southampton and Norwich to €574.85, while Birmingham, Sheffield and Haverfordwest had the lowest exchanges at €565. However, even bigger differences were discovered at Thomas Cook, with the best total offered in Sheffield at €585. The magazine was offered €583 in Glasgow, Croydon, Leeds and Haverfordwest; €580 in Southampton and Birmingham; €575.80 in London; €575 in Norwich; and €553.80 in Manchester.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd says that it’s unfair people are missing out on the best currency exchange rates just because of where they live. Although, they do understand that local competition could play a part in the set rates. Holidays aren’t cheap and these inconsistencies don’t help struggling consumers. Currency providers should ensure their rates are consistent so everyone gets a fair deal.
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