With the impending implementation of the new Package Travel Regulations at latest by 2018, all travel companies need to start thinking now about how their current sales and contractual structures will be affected. Being able to differentiate between a ‘package’ and the new form of ‘Assisted Travel Arrangement’ is crucial. Getting it wrong could mean investing in insurances, bonds and trust accounts that might not be needed as well as being a breach of the legislation.
The definition of a ‘package’ in the new Package Travel Regulations will extend to all combinations of travel services that display features which travellers typically associate with holiday packages, notably that separate travel services are bundled together into a single travel product for which the organiser assumes responsibility.
It makes no difference that travel services are ‘tailor made’; and the same principles will apply irrespective of whether the booking is made through a high street travel agent or online. The keys are: i) the single point of sale; ii) the inclusive or total selling price, and iii) where services are advertised or sold under the term ‘package’ or under a similar term such as a “combined deal”, “all-inclusive” or “all-in arrangement”. The definition also covers travel services that are combined after the conclusion of a contract where a trader entitles the traveller to choose between a selection of different types of travel services.
But of larger significance is the introduction of the ‘Assisted Travel Arrangement’ which will be caught by parts of the new Package Travel Regulations. This definition again covers the sale via a single point of multiple travel services or contracts relating to the same trip but extends to situations where separate payment is made and also covers a travel company that assists travellers or targets them to procure travel services leading to multiple contracts with different providers of travel services, including through linked booking processes or ‘click throughs’ where contracts are concluded not more than 48 hours after the confirmation of the first travel service. This category of arrangements is designed to catch the online or high street travel agent rather than the more traditional tour operator offering the traditional package holiday.
So, now you know what you are selling, take a look at how the new Package Travel Regulations could affect you.