Protected Trust Services has reported a surge in popularity in the trust account model with 37 new members joining in the last three months of 2018.
This represents double the number of members who joined the travel industry protection firm in the last quarter of 2017.
Members pay a fee to join PTS and in return receive a package including the provision of an Atol, Package Travel Regulation compliance, merchant services, insurance advice, links to suppliers and the ability to add suppliers, currency hedging facilities and software such as a back-office selling system.
New members are predominantly tour operators but also include travel agents and flight-only companies. And already since the start of this year, PTS has had eight new members, according to head of marketing communications Jacqui Cleaver.
She said: “The trust account model is becoming more popular by the second. We see ourselves as a scaffolding system to support our members rather than stopping them from doing what they want to do. There are so many limitations and cost implications [in the current marketplace]. At PTS we support our members to enhance their independent travel business and we respect that they all have their own vision.”
She attributed the introduction of the new package travel regulations as one of the reasons for the rise in members.
She said: “Since July 2018 it has become clear an independent trust account, supported by insurance, is the only legal option concerning the trust solution. A travel company cannot run its own client account, nor can they have a professional associated to their company run a client account – this is not a PTR compliant trust account.”
Cleaver added: “A further reason, we believe, that our trust account has become the popular choice for PTR compliance is that we offer a scalable solution. Whether your company is a start up or a large established travel company the rates are the same. This leads to the PTS trust account solution being, we believe, the most cost effective and manageable long term approach.”
Total current membership of PTS includes 192 tour operators; 25 agents and three flight-only companies.