Jet2holidays is insisting that travel agents provide emergency contact numbers for their customers when making bookings via the operator’s trade website.

The operator says providing mobile numbers will allow it to communicate operational information 24/7 with trade customers before travel and when they are in resort.

It is also offering agents the option to provide a 24/7 emergency contact for their agency instead and pledged the decision is “not for marketing purposes”.

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Some agents have previously been wary of the operator’s calls to provide their customers details, fearing it opens up the door for them to be sold to direct by Jet2holidays. The issue has been raised at recent Jet2holidays trade conferences for independent travel agent partners.

But Jet2holidays has always maintained that the information will only be used for operational reasons, and says its decision will result in “better customer feedback” and more repeat bookings for agents.

If agents choose to supply a 24/7 emergency contact number for their agency, Jet2holidays insists “they must be prepared to operate a 24/7 response team so that they can pass important updates onto customers”.

Alan Cross, head of trade at Jet2holidays, said: “In this day and age, it is vital that we are able to communicate operational updates directly to customers via SMS, both pre travel and while in resort, so that we can keep them happy and up-to-date in line with our famous VIP customer service.

“We know that keeping our customers updated with important operational information is absolutely critical and is a key driver of our industry leading customer satisfaction levels. That is why having a mobile telephone number for every booking is vital, as it enables us to communicate quickly and effectively.

“If a partner is unable to provide a mobile telephone number for a customer, we ask that they operate a 24/7 response team so that we can channel communications through them. This is for operational updates only, not for marketing purposes, and we would like to thank independent travel agents for their continued support as we make this important change.”