Following the collapse of Super Break parent Malvern, some agents said they were shocked to discover that only flight-based package bookings were protected, despite ABTA’s logo being prominently displayed in Super Break brochures selling hotel-only breaks.
There has been widespread confusion in the trade and some agents say they have been left out of pocket.
The Travel Network Group CEO Gary Lewis said: “It is disappointing that Super Break’s failure will have a large financial impact on ABTA agents where they have all bought accommodation only from an ABTA supplier.
“This lack of clarity, and the ability of ABTA suppliers to have a choice on how they protect agents, does not reflect well on us as an industry.”
An ABTA spokeswoman said it has not required accommodation-only bookings to be protected for more than 10 years.
“There is no legal requirement to protect accommodation-only or other types of single element bookings (such as airline tickets), this is an entirely commercial decision for a business to enter into additional protection arrangements.
“We make it very clear on our website, in our materials and other communications that not all sales are protected. We also have a programme of proactively monitoring member websites, and in particular statements about financial protection, and will investigate any complaints about brochures and websites if it is alleged that they are misleading.
“It should never be assumed that accommodation-only bookings are financially protected. All accommodation-only bookings, booked either directly with a hotel or through intermediaries, are generally unprotected apart from where the customer paid by credit or debit card. If in doubt agents should ask the company they are booking with directly before proceeding.”