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To say the last few weeks have not been challenging would be an understatement, says local travel company Holidays & Cruises.
“Over 600 of our bookings were put at risk from the collapse of the Thomas Cook group,” said Steve Plummer, who runs the Bradford-on-Avon based company. “It meant that the Freedom Travel Group subsequently failed; our business sat under the Freedom umbrella to protect clients’ monies under the ABTA licence we operated.
“The 23rd September was one of the darkest days in travel and one that has left ripples across the industry. Waking up to the news was nerve-wracking but as Freedom Travel was always profitable. we thought a sale would happen very quickly. But this did not happen and later that day we were advised that Freedom Travel Group Limited were also in liquidation.
“Our immediate concern was our customers and the monies paid for deposits on holidays and days away which were with the Freedom Travel Group.
“We quickly established a new bond within 48hrs under the Travel Trust Association which is the only body to offer a 100% financial guarantee and also put in place a supplier failure cover on all our holidays for our clients.
“Working through this with our team, we contacted all affected clients and went through with them the procedure given by ABTA to reclaim their monies, assisting some by completing the phone calls to the banks and also completing forms so they could get these underway with as little delay as possible. All bookings were affected with the coach side of our business so it was a mammoth task.
“I have to comment that some of the banks do need to understand the market they are working in as certain clients that travel with us are not technology savvy and to be turned away at the branch with little or no help is a complete disgrace; many clients do not have smartphones and the phone banking simply does not work for them!
“We are now in the process of re-booking all our clients onto the holidays they booked to bring some normality to everyone.
“We would like to say a big thank you for the understanding of our clients at this challenging time and we look forward to spending time with you on our Holidays & Days Away
“If any Holidays & Cruises client has received a letter or email from us and not acted please call us as you need to reclaim your monies. You have 120 days from the 23rd Sept to do this. Simply call the office on 01225 865725 for advice.”