Complaints about travel companies reach someone who can make a difference only about half of the time, new research claims.

This is regardless of whether holidaymakers complain via social media or with direct feedback to a member of staff.

The findings come from a study of 1,700 consumers on their experiences of customer service across the tourism industry, including hotel stays, flights and holidays by customer experience consultancy Qualtrics.

Consumers believe their feedback on accommodation is not appreciated or actioned by hotel staff. Comments made via a formal survey are considered the best way to reach someone who can make a difference.

One in five travellers believe that senior airline executives do not care about their views and one in 10 say that airline staff ignore their feedback.

The research also reveals the potential impact of a negative experience when making a complaint, as opinions given by friends and family influence the travel choices of nearly a quarter (23%) of holidaymakers.

Qualtrics UK enterprise industry director, Gilly Harrison, said: “The travel market is highly competitive, but while attracting consumers at the start of their decision-making journey is important, too many companies fall down further into the process.

“Weeks and months of positive customer engagement can unravel if travel companies fail to leave a good impression once a traveller begins their holiday.

“Proactively asking holidaymakers for their opinions, whether through a formal survey or a follow up email, is a vital part of this process and will translate into improved customer experiences and positive referrals in the longer term.”