The tourists who buy holiday trips on-line, receive the same protection as using traditional travel agencies – decides European Parliament. New law reinforces tour operators who have put on modern retail channels especially based on SaaS - software that allows you to manage tourist traffic over the Internet. In Poland, the only comprehensive solution in this area is Magello.
MEPs approved the so-called a travel package, the new EU regulations that modernize the law for tourist services dating back to 1990. Since then, the low cost airlines and online sales tremendously changed the way planning and organizing tourist trips by customers.
The new rules extend the definition of 'trips packet' with a range of tourist services offered via the Internet to provide on-line booking users equal customer protection. According to the new law in case of bankruptcy of travel agency they are protected by law as they would be being the customers of traditional travel agencies.
The rules assume that the traveller will be able to opt out of the booked travel, if the price will increase by more than 8 percent. The initial proposal from the European Commission the level was 10 percent of the original price.
Moreover, the related travel services purchased online from separate providers who within 24 hours will exchange the consumer’s data (eg. flight, rental car servicves) would be considered part of one package.
Travel agencies and travel offices’ customers will have the right to withdraw from the contract at no charge if in the target country will explode riot, there will be a natural disaster or for other ‘serious situations that could significantly affect the stay'. Of course there is main condition – it supposed to happen before the date of the trip. In the other case the organizer shall have the right to download 'appropriate and reasonable charge' for withdrawal.
If unforeseen events such as natural disaster or a terrorist attack prevent tourists return as planned, the organizer of the trip will have to pay for any additional costs of stay for up to three days. Travelers have to be well protected in the event of bankruptcy of the operator, too.
‘Due to all changes in the tourism industry especially the growing trend of on-line the need of modernisation and adaptation to the above changes seem to be more than urgent’ says German MEP Birgit Collin-Langen. ‘Thanks new laws travellers in Europe will be strengthened. New ways of reservations have been included within the scope of new law. Moreover, consumers are fully informed of their rights. We were also able to take into account the economic interests of the tourism industry - operators, travel agents or hotels’ Collin-Langen adds.
The vote in the EP concluded legislative procedure. EU countries have two years to implement the new law into their legislation and another six months to implement them.
Although two years seem quite distant date, the tourism industry knows very well that we are talking about not more than four large seasons in business. And that is the time that will allow the industry to build and develop an internet sales channel for end customers. Small and medium-sized European tourism operators are unable to get their own independent software for support of such a move - the purchase of their own on-line booking system is simply economically unjustified.
‘Knowing about these changes we’ve met tour operators’ needs’ says Michał Piórkowski, CEO and co-founder of Magello. ‘We have prepared a service that allows for perfect coordination of such sales with unlimited access from anywhere in the globe. By creating Magello, on-line booking and on-line sales system, we used the solutions of the greatest players of the market and prepared them in such a way that at the lowest possible cost can benefit from small and medium businesses in countries such as Poland. But of course we are not closed just for Polish tourism sector – we are going to be main SaaS-in-tourism-industry provider in EU’ he adds.