Holiday bookings: Are friends and family Traitors or Faithfuls?

By Lisa James
27/01/2024
Home » Holiday bookings: Are friends and family Traitors or Faithfuls?

It’s been an exciting weekend. Not only were hopes high for holiday bookings now everyone’s been paid, it’s was also the final of BBC1 One’s devilishly addictive show, The Traitors.

After 11 nail-biting episodes, The Traitors drew to a close and we found out whether the Faithfuls managed to work out who had been leading them up the garden path. Did they banish the Traitors and win the cash prize, or did the devious Traitors walk away with everything, leaving the Faithfuls feeling diddled?

It got us thinking about Peaks and how busy agents are left frustrated when clients ask for advice, then go and book elsewhere. Agents have described being ‘ghosted’ by close acquaintances after they’ve done a significant amount of research, or only finding out someone close has booked a holiday after seeing a social media post. Friends and family, it seems, are the worst culprits.

When it comes to selling holidays, do friends and family make ‘faithful’ customers or do they sometimes do the dirty in ways that would put a Traitor to shame?

A Travel Gossip poll conducted on Friday revealed 50% of agents have fallen out with family and friends over a holiday booking. A staggering 39% have fallen out with close family and friends and 2% said they’ve ‘regularly’ fallen out with friends or family.

One agent said it ‘stung’ when a friend she thought was a Faithful turned out to be a Traitor and booked elsewhere. Other agents said the worse bit is that clients who booked elsewhere still expect help when there’s an issue with their booking.

And one told us: “My own mother once had me plan an £18,000 multi-stay trip in Mauritius and then rang one of the hotels to ask a daft question because she couldn’t wait for me to find out and ended up booking with the hotel direct.”

Half of agents haven’t fallen out with family or friends over bookings. This could be because a lot of agents choose not to deal with friends or family. One advised: “Avoid booking them – it’s easier and less stressful – even if you take it down to net, they always think you can do more for them. They don’t understand the low margins we work on. It’s not retail with 100% being added. Certainly not worth the stress.”

Another said family and friends are ‘best avoided’, with one saying ‘family have you in a price war’.

What’s the advice if you find out a ‘Faithful’ is actually a ‘Traitor’?

Agents are split on this. Don’t take it personally and just move on is the advice of some.

One agent pointed out: “Some of my close friends book online. It doesn’t bother me. I let them get on with it. It shouldn’t affect your friendship.”

Others said agents should understand that some people don’t like to mix business and pleasure. “Don’t let business come between family and friendships,” said another.

Some agents have a zero-tolerance approach and if they feel they’ve been messed around once, that’s it. Another said: “I have a three strike rule for family and friends. After three separate occasions you ask me to quote and don’t book, then don’t bother asking me again! They don’t understand the hard work that we put in to each enquiry. Know your worth!”

Another said the best way to deal with a Traitor is to ‘get revenge’ by saying: “Sorry, I can’t help you,” when they circle back after realising they’ve made a mistake in their DIY booking, or can’t get hold of the person they’ve booked through.

If you missed The Traitors, you can still catch it on iPlayer.

Picture credit: BBC

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