The big two and Cosmos have slammed the results of a Which? Holiday survey that saw them score the worst for customer satisfaction.
The survey, which has been released this week, saw 4,507 Which? online panel members mark operators on aspects of their holidays including journey, accommodation, customer service and value for money.
Of the 28 companies named in the survey, Cosmos came last with an overall score of 57%, followed by Thomas Cook, which scored 58%, First Choice and TUI-owned Crystal both scored 63%, while Thomson came 23rd with a score of 66%.
Cosmos, which also included Cosmos Tourama, scored just 44% for efficiency, while Thomas Cook was criticised by consumers who were dissatisfied with poor quality hotel rooms and unhelpful resort staff.
Cosmos, First Choice and Thomas Cook were all awarded just two stars for value for money, while Thomas Cook scored just two stars for the quality of its reps.
The report does admit the larger tour operators could face more problems because they are more likely to rely on charter airlines, coaches for transfers and large hotel complexes.
Cosmos mainstream products managing director Stuart Jackson said: “We carry out our own holiday satisfaction surveys with our customers [some half a million in 2009] and can confirm that less than 3% have had cause to complain during this time.
“We will continue to listen to our customers and strive to improve our quality, value and choice as well as providing them with the best possible consumer protection.”
Thomas Cook UK and Ireland chief executive Ian Derbyshire added: “The Which? Holiday report is in total contrast to the high levels of service that our customers tell us about and that we pride ourselves on.
“From our own surveys, which number more than 100 times more people than the Which? Survey, our customer satisfaction scores have increased year on year, with 94% of our holidaymakers rating Thomas Cook as either excellent or good for their holiday last summer.
“With almost nine out of 10 holidaymakers rating our reps equally as high, we find these results difficult to accept.”
TUI UK and Ireland communications director Christian Cull said: “More holidaymakers rank their holiday with us as excellent or good than any of our competitors. We also know that 4.6 million people would happily recommend us to their friends.
“Again, 4.6 million tell us they will come back to us for another holiday, and a similar number rate our holiday advisors [reps] as excellent or good too. We intend to raise each of these numbers further in 2010.”
The top companies in the survey were largely specialists and direct-sale only operators with the top five slots taken by VFB Holidays, which scored 94%, Trailfinders and Explore, which were both awarded 89%, Voyages Jules Verne on 88%, and Ramblers Worldwide Holidays with 87%.