Holiday giants get burnt in customer satisfaction survey

Some of the biggest holiday companies offer the poorest service, according to a Which? magazine survey out today.

Tour giants Cosmos, Thomas Cook and First Choice were at the bottom of a customer satisfaction table compiled from more than 4,500 Which? members' holiday experiences.

Only 44 per cent of Cosmos customers described the company as efficient, while Thomas Cook received a lower rating than any other tour operator for its holiday reps.

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The average customer score for the companies in the survey was 77 per cent. Cosmos was in last place with a score of 57 per cent, with Thomas Cook getting 58 per cent and First Choice and Crystal scoring 63 per cent.

Top was French specialist VFB Holidays, with a score of 94 per cent. Second was Trailfinders (89 per cent) and third was Explore, which scored 88 per cent.

The customer score was a combination of customer satisfaction and how likely people were to recommend the tour operator to a friend. Companies were also rated on the organisation of their holiday, any journeys involved, the accommodation, tour reps, customer service and overall value for money.

Overall, 92 per cent were satisfied with their tour operator's organisation of their holiday, with VFB getting a 100 per cent score in this category. The survey found that the average spent on a trip away had risen from just under 900 per person in a 2008 survey to more than 1,000 now, with 22 per cent paying 1,600 or more.

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Which? Holiday head of research Rochelle Turner said: "It's great to see the small operators doing so well. They have the advantage of being able to offer a more personalised service – something valued by many.

"However, larger tour operators still have an important role to play in offering affordable holidays to families. The vast number of holidaymakers that these companies deal with each year means it may often be harder to provide the attention to detail their smaller rivals can offer."

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