OTAs bullish after XL collapse
(19 September 2008) One week after the collapse of XL Leisure Group, online agents are confident that they will not suffer any fall-out from a drop in consumer confidence in the travel business.
Expedia’s response to emailed questions was to talk up its confidence in the protection offered on all its packages by the ATOL scheme. He said that “the recent travel industry events have made customers more aware of the importance of bonding and protection for their holidays.”
He added that there has been a 10% increase in the queries to its call centres specifically about protection.
Lastminute.com suggested that the demise of XL was positive for a business with a strong brand. “With lastminute.com ten years old and established it should lead to more customers coming to us as it gives them that extra piece of mind. XL may have been the third largest tour operator but it wasn´t a brand,” it said.
Bookings increased on the day of the collapse but have tailed off since. It did see a slight increase in calls and traffic to its FAQs, but only had a few hundred directly affected customers.
Opodo’s UK director Caroline Noble also so an immediate lift in business, but mentioned that it also received a lot of calls from concerned Alitalia customers.
In terms of protection, she suggested that customers would not only be more likely to book using credit cards but also that demand for additional protection such as Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance would increase.