A storm of negative press is about to descend on agents. Now is the time to spruke positive messages.
I attended the creditors meeting. It got fairly emotional, there was confusion, frustration and anger.
The emotional source is defined by the plight of student Paige Toner who has lost over $9000 on her dream holiday. There are retirees who have lost $25,000, couples who have lost $3000, $5000, $8000 and $12,000 apiece.
‘Appears’ is used below in my summary; these are not my accusations but pasting information from the public domain:
- It appears the agency owners previously had an Escape Travel franchise that had a TCF payout when they went into liquidation
- It appears they held a JTG franchise that went into liquidation
- There are suggestions they were trading insolvent prior to liquidating
- It appears that the day before liquidation commenced a caveat was placed on the house
- A suggestion not all assets, including a racehorse, were not listed
- A new agency has been registered to the same address
- Other businesses are owned by the same directors of CTS, including a ‘Pooch Salon‘
If I summarise the sentiments and questions and noting very clearly THEY ARE NOT MY sentiments
- Why isn’t corporate law protecting people
- Why was TCF ‘abandoned’/what is ATAS/ why didn’t my travel insurance protect it etc
- These people have done this before and will do it again
The elephant in the room though is ‘why do we need travel agents/they can’t be trusted/they are going to steal our money’.
I need to make it exceptionally clear I have not heard the passenger affected talk ‘generically’ about the industry. In fact, I cannot believe the people of lost their holiday monies are as reasonable as they are. But they won’t be telling the story.
Footage has been shot in an interview at the home of some of the affected travelers and of the group entering the Collins Street offices last Friday.
Reg Eustace was appointed as chair during the meeting. What was unexpected was his approved motion that went along the line of (and available on the Facebook page).
“…I was elected Chairman of the meeting of creditors of CTS Travel held on Friday… a meeting in the CBD of Melbourne on a Friday was not a convenient time or place for the more than 80% of the value of creditors based in and around Altona Meadows…a resolution was then passed to adjourn the meeting to Friday 5th June at a venue to be within the City of Hobsons Bay”.
Reg has legitimate involvement – his family have been affected, he has lived in the area for three decades and he has a background in liquidation. This battle is about to move from the plush office and into the home territory of Hobsons Bay. I sense Reg getting ready for the title fight with strong backing from his community.
The two remaining pieces of footage are the public uproar at a public venue and the chase down footage of the alleged perpetrators. They better run. Fast. Lots of people chasing them.
When compiled, this video footage is not going to look good for the travel industry. Sadly, it reflects negatively on everyone in the industry, be it right or wrong.
Recently in the trade press have been several announcements from travel groups who have put forward their own insurance policies for their customers. Great stuff.
But travel agencies need to get on the front foot, and now, with the positive messages of service and support into the public domain.
There needs to be united support of one another and good business practice and trust and transparency in the industry.
Network TV current affairs is going to have a pretty broad reach; even without a direct suggestion of blame, the footage will not make agents look valued.
If you are stuck with forming that message, drop me a line. Over the years roomsXML has run a number of pro-agent marketing initiatives and we are happy to share our resources.
Your survival and prosperity is the key to ours.
Do you think it’s time for the industry to come together?
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