TravelManagers has announced the launch of its TravelManagers Customer Fund (TCF), with Chief Operating Officer Grant Campbell describing it as “the final component in our industry-leading consumer ‘Peace of Mind’ promise.”
“As far as we can tell, no other Australian travel retailer offers a more transparent and effective system of protections – a fact which we believe customers value more highly than ever in this post-pandemic travel environment.”
Peace of mind promise by TravelManagers
According to Campbell, the ‘Peace of Mind’ promise is constructed on a system of protections which help shield clients from financial losses that could result from the insolvency of scheduled airlines and end suppliers such as tour operators, cruise companies and hotels. It was first conceived in response to the disbandment of the government-legislated Travel Compensation Fund (also called TCF) in June 2014.
“As Australia’s exclusive network of home-based personal travel managers, with professional representation in every state and territory, TravelManagers takes its customer advocacy role very seriously,” he explains. “Whilst TravelManagers was and is endorsed by the Australian Federation of Travel Agents’ Australian Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS) which was set up in the place of the original TCF, we felt it was essential to build our own, additional system of protections that supported AFTA’s position on self-regulation and set a new benchmark in consumer protection.”
“No customer wants to learn that a supplier with whom they have made their travel arrangements has gone out of business and that their money is lost,” he adds. “TravelManagers’ ‘Peace of Mind’ promise has been carefully designed with three separate layers of protective measures, of which its newly announced TCF is the final component.”
According to Campbell, the newly launched TCF will assist in reimbursing TravelManagers’ clients in the unlikely event that an Approved Supplier fails financially and is unable to deliver the contracted service, leaving a client out of pocket. It provides additional customer protection for cases in which a client is unable to obtain a refund through their own travel insurance or their banking institution.
“TravelManagers’ TCF has accumulated $700,000 since funding commenced in December 2019, with further regular contributions set to see this increase to $1 million by December 2023,” he explains. “The fund has been ringfenced from TravelManagers’ general accounts by the establishment of a separate company with its own directors – an important element which upholds our commitment to governance and fiscal responsibility.”
Travel Compensation Fund
In addition to the TCF, Campbell explains that client payments to TravelManagers can only be made by credit card or direct bank deposit directly into a dedicated Client Trust account, to be held in trust until payment is made directly to each travel supplier.
“We have the additional protection of a Trust Account Fidelity Risk insurance policy which protects client funds in the unlikely event that they are missing from, or not paid into the Insured Trust Account as a result of fraudulent or dishonest activity,” he adds.
“Our Client Trust Account has operated uninterrupted since 2007 and has been subject to quarterly external audits which are published on the company’s website since 2014. We believe we are the only travel company in the world that has voluntarily introduced an independent audit of its client trust account with each audit published on its website.”
Cathy Moir, who is TravelManagers’ representative for Gymea Bay, NSW and has forty years’ experience in the travel industry, says she and her fellow PTMs throughout the country place immense value on the transparency and thoroughness of the elements that comprise the company’s ‘Peace of Mind’ promise.
“Pandemic or not, the travel industry will always have to contend with volatility in global financial circumstances,” she explains, “so for me and my colleagues, it’s essential to align with a travel brand that places such strong emphasis on protecting the interests of my clients.”
TravelManagers offers transparency
“TravelManagers’ multi-level approach to customer protection, and the complete transparency of its workings, demonstrates that it does just that,” Campbell confirms. “Other travel brands may claim to have their own versions of a ‘Peace of Mind’ promise, but a lack of transparency makes it difficult to determine their mechanics or effectiveness.”
“From quarterly published audits of our Client Trust Account to a complete list of approved suppliers, both of which are readily available on our website, clients and personal travel managers (PTMs) are fully informed of the protections that cocoon their travel transactions every step of the way.”
For more information regarding TravelManagers’ ‘Peace of Mind’ promise, visit: https://www.travelmanagers.com.au/peaceofmind/
TravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has a network of personal travel managers in all states and territories throughout Australia with a committed support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are secure and only used for client purchases.