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Drop in number of complaints in tourism sector

The number of complaints tourism businesses has dropped on this time last year, according to the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI).

In the tourism sector, 12.5% of customers experienced a problem, which is 1.9% lower than in January 2021, when 14.1% of customers complained.

Tourism bucks the trend in the bi-annual poll of 10,000 consumers by the Institute of Customer Service, which found that – across all sectors – the number of UK customer complaints has risen from 11% to 13%. This rise was put down to the availability and reliability of products.

Four travel companies made the UKCSI top 50 – and all rose in the rankings, while travel’s overall sector score rose.

Jet2holidays came in eighth, up from 26th in 2021. Trivago ranked 29th, up from 105th last year. Saga, which announced last week its decision to reduce the number of agents it works with, was ranked 34th, up from 133 in the list, and online travel agent (OTA) jumped to number 35 from 38 last year.

Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said:  “This report shows that we are the best tour operator and airline in the UK for delivering first-class customer service and customers can rely on us to look after them. Our customer-first approach continues to be at the heart of everything we do, and it is fantastic to have our efforts recognised yet again by being named as the leading airline and tour operator for delivering great customer service.”

Meanwhile, OTA Lastminute.com and Virgin Holidays were in the top 20 most improved organisations, improving 11 and 8 points respectively.

Findings reported the three leading issues customers believe organisations in the sector should improve are: website navigation, making it easier to contact the right person for help, and friendly staff.

Data from the survey suggests 37.7% of customers are willing to pay more for better service in the tourism sector.

Institute of Customer Service chief executive Jo Causon said: “The latest UKCSI results demonstrate the complexities of the current environment, with relationships between brands and customers in the tourism industry becoming increasingly challenging.

“There is no easy remedy for rising prices and uncertainty over future travel restrictions, so we must all become better at dealing with delays and disappointments. Although satisfaction with complaint handling and overall satisfaction has improved, we need to address wider service issues if we are to improve the nation’s performance and productivity.

“More customers than ever before are willing to pay a premium for quality service. This suggests there is an opportunity to invest in delivering the real value that customers expect and deserve.”

Those polled are representative of the UK adult population and results based on 45,000 survey responses relating to the customer experience with a specific organisation.

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