The Troubleshooters – 10th February 2006

Don’t let your workplace worries get you down. Whatever your question, Travel Weekly’s panel of experts has got the experience and knowledge to solve it.

This week, Helen Simpson on what kind of holiday your customers are protected for; Peter Stewart on ATOLs and component sales; and Jill Foley on keeping staff motivated.

Click here to meet the experts and submit a question…

Peter Stewart

troubleshooters - big Q I am a travel agent seeking to develop web based travel component sales. To what extent will these sales fall under the ATOL regime?

troubleshooters - big A You will need an ATOL for flight sales unless you are an agent for an ATOL holder or you are a ticket provider. Other components will have to be included within the ATOL flight turnover if the various components are sold as a package. The key determinant as to whether or not there is a package is the price – is it an inclusive price or not? Inclusive price means more than total price.

A total price is what you get when you go around a supermarket putting various items into your trolley and the items are then simply aggregated at the checkout desk into a total price. An inclusive price means rather more than this. If a bottle of wine is being sold at £5 per bottle but £50 per case, the per case price is an inclusive price because you have to take all 12 bottles to obtain the special price of £50.

In other words, an inclusive price is one which cannot be broken down. If, for example, you offer a flight to Rome’s Fiumicino airport and four nights accommodation at the Grand Hotel Plaza for the price of £850, that is likely to be regarded as a package offered by you at an inclusive price. If, on the other hand, you sell or offer for sale four nights accommodation at the Grand Hotel Plaza for £750 and a flight to Fiumicino for £100, even if a consumer decides to take both of those services, you are not offering a package.

Helen Simpson

helen transparenttroubleshooters - big QWhat general advice should I give to a customer who comes in and asks what kind of holiday they are protected for?

troubleshooters - big A Broadly, the current position appears to be that if an agent sells a holiday he has put together himself, he doesn’t need to have an ATOL, provided that each element is priced separately and not presented doesn’t quote a single inclusive-holiday price. If the agent doesn’t hold an ATOL, the customer won’t be protected unless the suppliers provide cover; this might happen for example, if the flight is ATOL protected, though increasingly flights are being sold direct by charter as well as scheduled airlines so there is no ATOL cover. If the customer wants a protected holiday, then the safest course is to sell a package made up by an ATOL holder and covered by ATOL.

Jill Foley

troubleshooters - big Q I have a member of staff who says he can’t cope with his workload and is threatening to resign unless I give him less responsibility. However, the job has been successfully carried out by his predecessors and I do not believe the load is beyond him. How do I tackle this situation?

troubleshooters - big A Keeping good staff motivated is an important and sometimes tricky situation. I suggest you need to get to the heart of why your team member is struggling with the workload and I would approach this by working through in some detail his current activities, looking for the source of the pressure. There may be some simple hints or tips you can give, or tasks you can reprioritise that will relieve the immediate situation. The discussion will give you the opportunity to talk and find out if there are any other issues, perhaps outside of work. You can then give support if the problems are driven by temporary issues.

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