Do holiday companies have blacklists?

By | Category: Travel news

46-96573_ButlinsLogoThat is the claim that has been made to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in the UK.

In particular, it has been told that both Butlin’s and Pontin’s are keeping secret “blacklists” of Irish Traveller families. According to The Independent, which broke the story earlier this week, two separate families had their holidays cancelled due to the fact they the companies involved said they were not on the electoral register. Both are part of the Traveller community which is officially recognised as an ethnic minority and therefore discrimination – if proven – is illegal. This story has echoes of an almost identical story which also invloved Butlins which the Western Daily Press ran two years ago.

Butlin’s played the security card according to The Independent, quoting a spokesman who said, “As with all large party sizes for breaks around the festive period, our terms state that all UK-based adults in the party must appear on the electoral register… It is essential that we can be certain who our guests are. The safety and security of all those who visit a Butlin’s resort is our primary concern.” That argument won’t hold water. I seem to remember that many home grown terrorists that have been caught have been settled in this country for years and years and therefore would be on the register

Whilst these particular cases only involve Travellers, the questions that need asking is whether blacklists operate at all; if they do what sorts of people are on the list and in what markets do they operate. Is it confined to just the domestic holiday market or does it include overseas package holidays as well?

Probably most companies have lists – in their minds if not written down – of previous customers that it would prefer never to darken their doorstep again. We know that airlines are clamping down on those passengers exhibiting aggressive behaviour (probably drunkenness) towards passengers and crew with some people receiving bans. I am not talking about those incidents but about companies having a general list and not necessarily refusing to sell holidays to them but saying that those holidays in which the potential customer was interested have sold out or that only much more expensive holidays remain.

Why do I wonder whether blacklists might exist?

Because the story in The Independent reminded me of an incident of which I was aware in the 1990’s. Then, a company selling travel insurance was trying to build a list of people who had made claims on more than one occasion. It was planning to use that list to quote high if not exorbitant premiums to dissuade them from buying the insurance on offer. You could say that the company was pursuing good business practice by trying to minimise its risk. You could also say that the claims might have been totally justified in the first place and that the approach of the company was morally dubious.

Does anybody know if holiday companies operate such lists?

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