The digital era has bought about a significant change in how people choose and book their holidays. In the past, the high street travel agent would have been the usual place where holidays were booked. However, the emergence of the internet and the ability to book a holiday online from the comfort of home has seen a dramatic growth in the number of holidays booked directly from tour operator websites.
This change in how holidays are purchased has given the consumer more control over where and when they go on holiday and has led to a large increase in the number of tour operator and holiday providers that trade solely on the internet. The increasing use of the internet has been coupled with a significant rise in the use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Whilst the internet has given holidaymakers greater flexibility when booking holidays, social media has also given them a greater freedom and a louder voice to complain if things go gone wrong whilst abroad.
If standards at the hotel are particularly poor or an illness outbreak has struck the hotel then holidaymakers are easily able to ‘tweet’ or ‘post a status’ sharing their experience immediately with all their followers and friends. Tweets can then be re-tweeted and statuses can be shared meaning an issue the hotel or the tour operator may hope to have kept quiet, is no longer. Disgruntled holidaymakers often create groups on Facebook to discuss and share their experiences and plan their complaint to the tour operator. This means that tour operators are pushed to maintain hygiene standards and prevent illness outbreaks occurring for fear that otherwise they soon become high profile news stories. Quite often the tabloid press and other mainstream media will pick up a story that began on social media.
Holidaymakers are also able to comment and review the hotels that they stay in on websites such as Tripadvisor. The reviews that are posted to the site can be very influential when people are deciding which hotel to stay at for their summer holiday.
As good as the internet can be for holidaymakers it can also be turned against them. Highly critical or scathing reviews can either be removed from review websites or simply not get past the moderator in the first place. Facebook groups that are linked directly to the hotel can choose to block or remove people from the group if their comments are particularly damaging. Harmful tweets can also be removed or blocked so that people are unable to see them. Tour operators may often have a hand in these things in attempt to limit any bad publicity for holiday destinations they are attempting to promote and sell.
Get in Touch
If you need legal advice in relation to a Slip or Fall on Holiday or Sickness whilst Abroad then get in touch with your specialist Holiday Claims team on: 0808 145 1353 or visit our On-Holiday-Illness-Claims website for further information.