ACTA Creates “Best Practices” For Suppliers, Calls On Industry To Comply
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
ACTA president Wendy Paradis
ACTA has developed a comprehensive list of "best practices recommendations" for travel suppliers, and is calling on suppliers to get on board with the initiative.
The newly-formed “COVID-19 Travel Agency Leaders Advisory Committee” has gathered feedback from ACTA members across Canada. The committee consists of the ACTA Board of Directors, the Canadian Corporate Travel Association (CCTA), senior leaders from consortia, host agencies ad ACTA’s 30 largest travel agency members.
The committee has learned of many challenges faced by its members with respect to Future Travel Vouchers, Credit Card Chargebacks, and the need for Commission Protection during this new COVID-19 reality.
"ACTA believes that the travel industry will be stronger by working together with more efficient and consistent best practices in place," says the trade body in a statement.
"ACTA recognizes that travel agents must follow the terms and conditions of suppliers as legally, they are the agents of suppliers. Whether it is tour operators, airlines or cruise lines, the challenges are similar for travel agencies having to deal with several different and ever-evolving policies and procedures. There is a need for consistency where possible."
ACTA says it has established a smaller, separate task force to focus specifically on group bookings as it was revealed that groups have their own unique issues. More details on groups will follow soon, it says.
Here are ACTA's best practice recommendations for suppliers:
Future Travel Vouchers (FTV)
Provide Travel Agencies with written FTV within 14 days of booking cancellation
Have an expiry date of 24 months from the original travel date
Be honoured at the same value, at minimum
Offer any residual value in the form of a credit, or provide as a cash refund
Not define a particular destination, airline class, category of hotel or category of cruise line
Allow for transfer to another person or the corporate buyer. The Booking Agent should be able to access and manage the transferability of the FTV
Accessible and manageable via the GDS or other booking software
Issuance and redemption of vouchers should be without additional costs imposed
Ensure that all policies are the same whether the booking is made direct by the consumer or with a Travel Agent
Be refundable upon the term of the expiry date (24 months)
Advocate to governments to protect FTVs with a Federal Government Guarantee to ensure that consumers will be guaranteed a refund due to the insolvency of an airline, tour operator, cruise line, Travel Agency or travel related business.
Work to resolve Credit Card Chargebacks as the Merchant and
Do not pass any COVID-19 related credit card chargebacks to the Travel Agency
Do not pass along any Debit Memos as it relates to a COVID-19 credit card chargeback or refund
Share relevant information with Travel Agency to enable them to assist with a credit card chargeback.
Protect and Pay Commission to the Travel Agency
At the time of deposit and/or when the file is paid in full, regardless of travel date
If the travel is rebooked, cancelled or refunded (and definitely if the supplier has retained partial payment)
On any fees applied
Respect confidentiality on a Travel Agent’s mark-up.
Support the Travel Agent with clarity on the details of policy changes and coverage
Provide documentation in writing and in a format that is in plain language and can be easily shared with consumers.
Once a policy has been determined, refrain from changing it.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.