Content of the Package Travel Regulation
The Package Travel Regulation (PTR) applies to companies selling travel packages or linked travel arrangements to consumers. The regulation demands that companies selling package travel must have guarantees in place, should the the selling organisation cease to trade. The guarantee assures a customer his/her holiday, cash or repatriation and must be provided by a third party. The provision of this gurantee differs from country to country. In Germany it is provided by insurance companies, in the UK the only organisations registered with the CAA can issue ATOL certificates (for packages containing flight of flight only), in France the guarantee is provided by the Association Professionnelle de Solidarité du Tourisme (APST).
The guarantees must be provided prior to customer payment. This provision will continue to apply to package travel and now also to linked travel arrangements after the new edition of the regulation. The first PTR came into force on 13 June 1990 and was amended on 25 November 2015 to taking into account the changes in the way travel services are booked on the internet. More and more customers are combining individual services on the internet. The new Package Travel Regulation has been in force since 1 July 2018.
The PTR creates transparency between contracting parties by clarifying their relation and responsibilities. In addition, the guideline
defines the new category of "linked travel arrangements ". The Directive does not apply to corporate customers with a general agreement.
New Aspects in the EU Package Travel Regulation
Linked travel arrangements
In case an agent, whether a high street travel agency or an online portal, compiles different services from different outfitters for the customers to create a trip, the PTR defines this as linked travel arrangement. The agent is obliged to inform the customer whether the trip is a package tour, a linked travel arrangement or just a single service. When selling a linked travel arrangement, all processes related to the respective components must be carried out individually, including e.g., booking, confirmation and invoicing. Collective payment may be conducted. If the payment for the trip goes directly to the agent, the agent is bound to be in possession of an insurance against bankruptcy. As already established the customer is required to address any lack of conformity in the performance of the service to the service provider.
Classification of the travel product
The travel agent or tour operator is obliged to classify the booked services and to inform the customer about the classification of the purchased service as package tour, linked travel arrangement or single service. If an agent passes on data to a service provider as part of an online booking, the respective trip is classified as a package tour if the customer books the additional service offered within 24 hours. An example would be the offer of hotel and rental car after a flight booking with transmission of the customer data to the hotel or car rental supplier in a link (click through booking).
In addition, the following innovation was installed with the new Package Travel Regulation:
- Standardisation of information obligations and traders declaration as to the legal nature of the travel product
- If a price increase exceeds 8 % of the total price of the package the customer my terminate the contract without paying a termination fee.
- Lack of response to written information sent by the travel agency or tour operator results in tacit agreement.
- The coverage of costs for alternative arrangements and return trip amongst others are now part of extended responsibilities of the tour operator.
- Notice period for of lack of conformity to the travel agency or tour operator has been extend to 2 years after return. More time is allowed for the notification of defects. Now travellers have two years instead of four weeks and can also report the defect to the retailer and no longer only to the organiser.
Vacation rental and day trips up to 500 € are no longer classified as package tour. Warrantly regulations apply.
Which functionalities in MIDOCO mid-office support your compliance with the Package Travel Regulation?
MIDOCO can create the necessary documents containing traveller specific information for travel packages sold in Germany and the UK.
Issuing ATOL certificates
The ATOL is obligatory to packages containing flights. In case you sell a package without a flight PTR applies but you will need a seperate ATOL. MIDOCO identifies the sort of arrangement, assembles the necessary components for the ATOL certificate and provides the customer with the individual certificate that applies to the sold service. MIDOCO delivers the obligational reports to the CAA that are prerequisite to the permission to issue the certificates to customers. For members of the ABTA, MIDOCO also provides the option to export partial components for the ABTA reporting. Moreover, MIDOCO is capable of providing data sets to PRISM and BA reporting.
Marking of corporate customers with master agreement
In MIDOCO CRM, a checkbox has been created for corporate customers (not for persons), which you can use to indicate that a framework agreement exists between this company and you. The consequence of this marking is that the regulations of the Package Travel Directive do not apply to the travel bookings of this corporate customer.
Categorisation under travel law
Sales services in MIDOCO must be categroised according to travel law so that the confirmation and invoicing process can be run through properly. Charges that are subordinate to a travel service share the fate of their parent service and do not have to be qualified separately under travel law. The same applies to tickets and purchasing services in one package. The travel-legal categroisation is always necessary, if it concerns journeys of persons or companies without a master contract, as then the Package Travel Regulation is applicable.
Preparation of forms
MIDOCO mid-office offers the possibility to generate the legally required forms, which have to be handed out after the end of the so-called neutral consulting phase and before the booking, from the application.
Electronic filing and signature (can also be used in context outside the Package Travel Regulation)
MIDOCO offers with the document folder a functionality to provide documents (.pdf) for the electronic intermediate storage and for the electronic signature. The electronic intermediate storage (e.g. for forms according to the new travel law) can also be used separately. This includes not only the forms, but any .pdf document! So also a travel confirmation of a tour operator from TOMA or Iris+, so that in connection with m.Doc almost no paper filing is necessary!
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