Independent tour operators top surveyThey beat the big names for customer satisfaction

10 January 2008

A tropical beach

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Big holiday companies are lagging behind independent tour operators when it comes to customer satisfaction, Holiday Which? reveals today.

Its survey of 3,916 Holiday Which? members found that customers of independent tour operators are generally more satisfied than people who travel with the ‘big two’ tour operators.

Nine independent tour operators achieved customer satisfaction scores of 80% or higher.

At the top of the table, Titan and Riviera Travel also achieved above-average ratings for their tour reps, journeys and overall organisation.

Tour operators

In comparison, Airtours, Crystal Holidays, First Choice and Thomas Cook – all owned by either by Thomas Cook or TUI Travel – languished at the bottom, faring below average for organisation and overall satisfaction. 

Only independent Cosmos received a lower customer satisfaction score.

Portland Direct was the exception to the poor showing of the big groups; six in ten customers would definitely recommend the firm to a friend. 

But Portland also had the joint lowest ‘value for money’ score and one of the lowest proportions of customers who were very satisfied with their tour rep.

Top destination

The survey showed that Spain is still the country most travelled to, and Riviera Travel, Expedia and Inghams were best for short-haul destinations.

For long-haul trips Kuoni, Saga and Trailfinders came top.

Holiday Which? Editor Lorna Cowan said: ‘With the rise in the number of do-it-yourself holidays, none of the tour operators are in a position to rest on their laurels. 

‘However, it’s great to see the independent tour operators performing so well in the face of big competition.  Thomas Cook and TUI Travel could learn a lot from Titan or Riviera Travel about how to keep their customers happy.’