Agents have been working through the night trying to re-book clients left without holidays due to the peak summer collapse of Super Break and LateRooms.com owner Malvern Group.
Super Break has about 250 staff and about 20,000 forward bookings affecting 53,000 people.
About 250 customers are currently on holiday and are Atol protected.
Administrators for Malvern Group are due to be appointed today (Friday).
Graeme Brett, of South Shields-based Westoe Travel, said he was “devastated” that York-based Super Break had gone into administration as part of the failure.
Brett said agents would be shocked to learn that Super Break had “chosen” only to protect packages with Abta and not hotel-only bookings.
“Super Break produced a hotel-only brochure that displayed the Abta logo and a recorded message when you rang their call centre referred to full protection on your booking,” he said.
“We have ten bookings affected as most of the 133 bookings we had with Super Break had rail and hotel thereby making a package.”
He claimed: “It would seem many agents and customers were misled by the extent of the cover Super Break had chosen to take with Abta.
“As Super Break took money from agents up to 12 weeks before travel then many agents have paid for forward bookings that they will not get the money back for.
“Other bedbanks that sell hotel-only, just take payment after the customer has travelled.”
Brett said: “Our team worked till 2am today making sure that we rebooked hotels and travel arrangements for customers travelling this weekend and early next week.”
He praised Super Break national sales manager Gary Gillespie, who took over from Graham Balmforth on his retirement in 2017, and north-east, Yorkshire and Humberside sales executive Briony Smith for their “amazing support” of his agency in the past year.
Brett also thanked is own staff “who are working through the night to rebook all of our customers booked to travel with Super Break.”
Thank you to our amazing team at @westoetravel who are working through the night to rebook all of our customers booked to travel with @SuperBreak#Superbreak
The benefit of using an @ABTAtravel Travel Agent pic.twitter.com/9fX20FO128
— Westoe Travel (@westoetravel) 1 August 2019
This was the benefit of using an Abta travel agent, he added.
The agency issued a notice to customers saying: “Sad news that Super Break, who provide rail and hotel packages to London and other UK cities, have gone into administration.
“If you have booked through Westoe Travel we will be rebooking your arrangements for you and will contact customer in date order of when they are travelling. If you had booked direct, please call in and we will assist you with your arrangements.”
Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association president Ken McLeod described the collapse as “another significant blow for travellers in the height of the summer season”.
He said: “This is the second major blow for Scottish travellers in 48 hours, coming on the back of the news that BA pilots may strike in the coming month.
“It demonstrates once more that, for peace of mind and assistance on hand when you truly need it, booking via a professional travel agent is the informed and sensible choice.”
Read Abta and the CAA’s advice for agents and consumers here
McLeod added: “There will be holidaymakers currently on Super Break trips and who have booked trips but have yet to travel who will be affected by this. Those who have booked through a travel agent will be able to rely on their agent to assist them with the next steps. Travellers should contact their travel agent as soon as possible.
“Consumers who have booked online or directly will have to act themselves and we know from similar previous issues that getting this can be challenging for them. Sadly, it appears highly likely that all Super Break holidays which have not yet departed will be cancelled.
“If you have a booking with LateRooms.com which you booked yourself through their website, you should contact the hotel directly as soon as possible to confirm your booking.
“Laterooms.com was an agent acting on behalf of the accommodation suppliers and therefore your booking should be secure as Laterooms will not have take or held payment on behalf of the accommodation provider. You should be able to pay your hotel directly.”
Kelly Cookes, head of Freedom Travel Group, was one of many who took to Twitter to react to the failure.
She said: “Very sad news. I bet there aren’t many people in our industry who haven’t sold a Super Break product during their career. Thoughts are with the teams.”
Gold Medal and Travel 2 managing director Lisa Mcauley said: “Super Break, one of my favourite operators way back when I was behind the counter..sad day for all involved; best wishes to everyone.”
Steve Martin, general manager of BP Travel Marketing, said: “Super Break has been there for my many years in travel. They employed so many wonderful people who became by friends.”
DER Touristik UK CEO Derek Jones responded: “That is really sad news. So many fabulous memories or working with the team at Super Break over the years.”