Deserved? No.

By | Category: Travel rumblings

I can’t say that I am cheering from the rafters about the decision by the British Travel Awards to give On the Beach the accolade of Best Online Travel Company.

Should it have won any award at all?

This was a company that refused to follow ABTA guidelines on returning money to customers who were legally entitled it, resigned from ABTA in protest, was the subject of a Competition and Markets Authority into its refunds policy and was warned by CAA about its practices after many complaints had been received from the public about not being refunded.

Why is it entitled to any award other than Best Company at Providing Some of the worst Customer Satisfaction?

In fairness to the British Travel Awards (BTA) who run the awards, members of the public vote in  these awards but many companies contact customers and travel writers urging them to vote so for those that do, you cannot claim that the voting was fair. But the BTA has to honour the votes it receives and, this year, it had 132,000 voters.

Has the time come to consider how awards are determined?

Whilst votes from us mere mortals are useful as opposed to the trade picking from its own as happens at many awards, shouldn’t negatives be taken into account? Perhaps the number of complaints received by trade associations and regulatory bodies should be deducted from the votes received from the public?

Should companies and organisations be banned from soliciting votes from its customer base? Obviously, the bigger the company the more customers it can potentially go to about supporting it. Smaller companies have a disadvantage in any such system.

That On the Beach has won this award – and a number of others at the BTA – brings some element of doubt about the validity of any awards and that is to the detriment of both the awards itself and all those companies who also won.

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