Spend day going through the various meeting notes made during WTM. Interesting that I seem to have made numerous contacts - wonder how many will result in contracts. Receive a tip for a horse with my daughter's name in it - it is still running.
I wonder how long the credit card providers will continue to cover travel failures – let’s face it, there are bound to be more on the way soon. The fact is that the government does not appear to care, so surely we will see an increase in the number of travel providers withdrawing from the current ATOL system, and ABTA, and many not bother with a Trust account, and only when the “cowboys” fail, will we even realise they were never bonded in the first place.
This ruling has massive ramifications, and when push comes to shove, I do not believe the majority of clients are willing to pay extra to be regulated or have their monies safeguarded, anyway. Everyone is scouring the internet for a deal, and do they care that scheduled air services are unregulated? Do they even know? So why care for an holiday? As for a split package, what a joke. I’m sorry, but you either take responsibility, or you don’t – and that goes for the provider and the consumer.
Take some time to read the judge’s comments and the commentary of the Travel Republic vs CAA case. What has been clear to me, since the EC Package Travel Regulations were unveiled in 1991, is that it will ultimately be for courts to decides on cases. It is as fudged, unclear, and unfair now as it was back then too – I spent a year studying the EC package regulations and its implications (90-314-EC), and my conclusions are still the same now, some 18 years on: “written by solicitors for solicitors”.
Well, the trains are hopeless and my wife and I decide after waiting for 50 minutes to take a cab to Stanmore tube station. As we are about to leave, a totally empty train arrives, and we board with glee – as do the hoards at the station. A good journey to West Hampstead, a good tube journey and a good DLR journey – finally; arrive at Excel in less than 95 minutes from boarding the train. My day will surely go well. First meeting fails to show up, knew it was too good to be true. Random meeting turns up – an hotelier sees me looking for my no-show and we talk – and she asks me to put together a proposal to represent them. Then the original meeting shows up some 45 minutes later, which was also excellent. Here’s hoping – mind you, it is clear that even the top end of the market, where money never appears to be a problem, is seriously being affected by the credit crunch and drop in stock-market values, especially in terms of holiday booking trends. The very wealthy have lost millions, and many are feeling their losses. Would like to have that problem.
Beginning to wilt at the station waiting for a train to get to WTM at Excel. Finally arrive after just 2.5 hrs journey. Today is a really important day for me – need to have a positive day. Lots of meetings set up and raring to go. First meeting goes well and then get introduced to a VIP (not sure the VIP felt the same way). Catch up with Alison Jago of Completely Croatia which was great as not seen each other for a very long time. Also meet with a possible resort client – I could do great things for them. Catch up with Peter Grace of Jaz Hotels and Tsvia Vorley of Danubius Hotels and then stumble across Rafic from Rida International - quite a character and very laid back - any more so and he could be lying down.....he is a very hospitable gentleman. Have two other meetings, which seem pretty positive. Now for that dreadful journey home.
Leave myself even more time to return to Excel. Takes 3 hours and catch the train with my wife to West Hampstead for the first leg. We are crushed like sardines standing on the train, and the general mood seems pretty aggressive on board. Have a tough and tiring day at WTM and seems like the general mood is very negative from tour operators, travel agents and hoteliers alike – the exhibition is pretty busy today. Not too many tour operators seem best pleased with hoteliers, and hoteliers seem to have the impression that Thomson (Tui) and Thomas Cook have too much control – funny that, when it is they who seem to be allowing that to happen with exclusive deals. Have excellent meeting with Thai 6* hotelier and will return Thursday to meet again. Have a meeting at the Marriott Grosvenor Square in the evening – classy hotel.
First day of World Travel Market (WTM), headed out of the house early. First Capital Connect trains causing cancellations with their “work to rule” and could not get on first train that did finally arrive due to it being full to bursting. Finally get to Excel at Custom House after 3.5 hours - should take less than 2 hours – many exhibitors at the show, from all around the world, are heard mocking the British transport system and asking how we hope to hold the Olympic Games successfully. Busy day but seem to spend most of it renewing acquaintances rather than making new ones. Still, has to be done and great to catch up. Take nearly 4 hours to get home with all trains home cancelled – end up returning to tube to the end of the line and then taking a taxi, somewhat exhaustedly, home – and a long and expensive day.
Returned from the conference through the driving rain to Herts. Spent afternoon at niece’s 6th birthday party – very nice, though found the cake rather moorish – perhaps the north pole trip should be back on the cards. Been proof reading the new website of Darren Panto Associates at www.dpaglobal.co.uk which goes live in few hours. Be interested to know how many visits it will receive. Hope prospective new clients will be impressed and want to be part of this exciting development.
Conference started for real. Some very good speakers in the morning, with a history of Palmair from Stephen Bath - though did stretch the timings. The Hawk test flight story was memorable with great pictures of before and after. I won’t be doing any trips to the north pole - 3.5 stones weight loss and pork scratchings.