RESEARCH carried out by Co-operative Travel Trading Group ? the UK's most comprehensive study of holiday complaints ? reveals winning and losing companies in the customer satisfaction stakes.
The views of a million Co-op customers was unveiled just as this year's late holiday booking season gets into full swing.
Despite the fact that in general complaints are falling, some big name holiday companies still refuse to divulge the overall level of complaints they receive. This means that the CTTG study is the only way UK holidaymakers can judge who is the best and worst at customer service.
Key findings of the study, which looks at the customer service performance of 25 of the UK's biggest travel suppliers during summer 2004, include the following findings:
?Unijet and British Holidays were best at keeping customers happy with a complaints to passengers ratio of just 0.08 per cent each
?Bottom of the league were Virgin Holidays and Balkan Holidays with complaints levels of 2.92 per cent and 1.65 per cent respectively
?Most improved operator was Thomas Cook, who managed to get complaints levels down from 1.88 per cent the previous year to 0.63 per cent
? Thomson, Inghams, Kuoni, Virgin and Cresta all refused to tell CTTG what their overall complaints levels were
? The overall level of complaints from Co-op customers against holiday companies dropped from 0.93 per cent to 0.69per cent
? Standards of holiday accommodation remained the top cause of complaints although the percentage of the total dropped from 35 per cent the previous year to 23.7 per cent. Other major causes included flight changes (7.3 per cent), accommodation changes (6.6 per cent), price (5.8 per cent), building works (5.1 per cent) and administration errors (4.2 per cent).
? Complaints about the service provided by CTTG travel outlets were just 0.23 per cent of all passengers booked during the season. Top causes were branch administration and quality of information.
Mike Greenacre (pictured), head of CTTG, explained: "Our study shows that in general, companies are doing a good job in keeping customers happy. It's a big disappointment that some well-known companies continue to keep complaints figures to themselves and the public must draw their own conclusions from this.
"It also concerns us that accommodation continues to top the list of complaint causes. The industry as a whole must make more of an effort to make the public understand that you cannot have five-star luxury for two-star prices."
The complaints figures are contained in the Holiday Report, which has been published by Co-operative Group's travel Travelcare business for the last five years but has now been broadened to cover over 600 Co-op travel outlets operated by CTTG, which buys and markets holidays on their behalf.
The full report will be published next month.