Tour Operators will tell you that their’s is a tough business. What with holidaymakers cutting out the middleman and booking their own holidays. To counteract that threat many work doubly hard to promote the ‘value-adds’ that they can offer including all the little things that help make a choosing and booking a holiday through them all the more enjoyable; like personalised customer service.
So we were amazed to see that a stonking 41% of holiday makers who booked their holiday with a cultural tour operator (called RSD Travel) were unhappy with the service they provided. What’s even worse, this company specialises in escorted tours!
As a result of their woeful customer service, the company tops the list of ‘Customers who had a problem on their holiday’, which arose from a survey carried out by Which? Travel. Jules Verne, (strap line’ Inspiring tours worldwide’) came in second with a score of 30% whilst lesser known Newmarket Holidays garnered (if that is the right word), 27% – so sharing third place in this rogue’s gallery with Leger Holidays.
Substandard accommodation, incompetent reps and terrible customer service are the three gripes that came out top in the list of problems encountered by Which? Members. What’s so surprising here is that all these issues are largely within their control and so are ‘fixable’, as opposed to adverse weather, striking workers or mechanical failures, all of which can ruin a holiday too but are definitely outside the control of the tour op.
Specific complaints lodged against RSD was that the company ‘didn’t deliver on its promises’. This would appear to break rule #1 for a customer service company, which is ‘never break a promise made to a customer’. One customer, who says was promised a ‘sumptuous buffet’, ended up ‘eating a cheese roll while standing in reception’. Others complained of enduring ‘the hard-sell’ to upgrade their itineraries and of being taken to jewellery, carpet and leather goods shops as part of their trip, and then being put under pressure to buy merchandise.
Reading this litany of how not to run a tour operator we were surprised how many of these irritating things are still being tried on customers. In 2018! Of course, RSD might well point to the hundreds of satisfied or very satisfied customers that they have served over the years. The trouble is, they haven’t voted for them, whereas the disgruntled ones have.