As the travelling public becomes more aware of the importance of booking with reputable companies and financial protection, ABTA reports that in the first six months of its financial year (July–December 2008), which takes in the period immediately after the failure of XL, 51 per cent more travel companies joined ABTA than in the same time period the previous year.
And why are they joining at a time when the general economy is in a downward spiral? Undoubtedly, ABTA offers its Members value for money. For £750 a small business gets the same benefits as a multinational Member. Firstly, there’s the brand. ABTA has on two occasions been voted by an independent body as a Superbrand, together with organisations such as Coca Cola and the BBC. In sheer financial terms ABTA estimates that the presence of the ABTA logo in Members’ windows, brochures or websites brings in millions of pounds each year.
Secondly, the array of benefits offered to ABTA Members is second to none. The results of ABTA’s most recent Member survey found one of the most important benefits of ABTA membership was increased business due to the confidence given by the ABTA logo. Members also cited other key benefits of ABTA membership including the protection of pipeline monies, the legal advice from the travel industry’s experts, consumer benefits of booking with ABTA Members, and an industry voice for lobbying. For those Members who did call ABTA for legal advice – 96% of all Members, generating approximately 11,000 enquiries - 100% of those surveyed said they would use ABTA for advice again.
ABTA has compared costs of a basic subscription package to join ABTA, the TTA, Global and Advantage, and found ABTA provided extremely competitive rates. In addition, whilst companies such as Advantage appear to cover only 85% of tour operators’ claims if an agent goes bust, ABTA‘s cover is more robust with ABTA covering 100% of any claim they pay out on. Any lower level of cover will leave agents at risk of being personally liable for claims.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: Time and again the value of a strong brand has proved itself across a range of industries. We are justly proud of the ABTA brand. It is the gold standard of the industry and the ABTA globe the most sought symbol of reassurance. As a result it is giving ABTA Members a competitive edge. We know that as an organisation we continually have to assess our work, make improvements and keep costs down, but ABTA offers by far the best value for money.
Other important benefits that help Members run successful and profitable businesses are offered by ABTA. These include: