ABTA’s proposal on bed bank liability was passed with 82% of votes in favour at a meeting today.

In total 167 members voted in favour, and 37 against. The vote means that ABTA accommodation providers who sell their products through ABTA agencies must take responsibility if the agency fails. It does not apply to suppliers that act as principal.

Fifty people attended the meeting at ABTA’s offices in London Bridge, with most members voting by proxy.

ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “I am pleased to see that the membership has re-affirmed its commitment to the principle of financial protection, and the obligations that ABTA members have to customers. In a fast-changing commercial environment, it is important that customers continue to have confidence in booking with ABTA members.”

Further talks are likely to follow the vote, ABTA chairman John McEwan admitted earlier this week. Bed banks have expressed concerns about the proposal, with some saying they would review their ABTA membership if it goes ahead. 

Two other proposals were also passed at the meeting. One was a proposal to change the qualifications of membership so that applicants will be subject to further scrutiny in respect to previous directorships of failed companies. This was passed with 94% in favour as 195 members voted in favour and 12 against.

A final resolution to restrict use of trading names of failed companies that were not members of ABTA was also carried by 95%, with 197 in favour and 10 against.

Tanzer said: “I think these are measures that will strengthen our credentials as an association and help consumers, particularly when a company fails.”

Head of legal affairs Simon Bunce told the meeting the first resolution on bed bank liability did not address the issue of liability depending on whether bed banks traded as principals or agents, but specificially aimed to make it clearer for consumers as to where the responsibility lies in the event of a travel agency failure.