Jet2holidays and Kuoni have been rated as the best beach and resort package holiday providers.
They top a ranking produced by a new survey by Which? that asked more than 8,000 travellers to rate their beach and resort package holidays over the past three years across seven categories, including the standard of customer service they received, how well descriptions of the holiday matched the reality, how well their trip was organised and value for money.
Both Jet2holidays and Kuoni have achieved an impressive customer score of 84 per cent. They’re tailed by Trailfinders in second place with a score of 82 per cent, and Inghams (81 per cent) in third.
Meanwhile, eDreams has ranked bottom, taking home a score of 64 per cent.
Jet2holidays and Kuoni have been rated as the best beach and resort package holiday providers, according to a new survey by Which?
Both Jet2holidays and Kuoni earn a near-perfect streak of five-star ratings, with Jet2holidays slipping to four stars only on accommodation, while Kuoni, the most expensive provider in the survey, loses one star for value for money. The two travel firms have been awarded Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) status.
Which? notes that Jet2holidays has expanded rapidly to become one of the UK’s largest providers, and has shown that it is still possible to offer excellent customer service as a larger company. The personal touch was appreciated by travellers, with one respondent telling the consumer champion that ‘you don’t feel like you’re just one of a herd’. Multiple respondents commented that they were repeat customers of the firm owing to its reliability and consistently high levels of service, with one traveller remarking they ‘always’ use it and have ‘never been let down’.
Similar praise was offered by respondents who travelled with Kuoni, with one traveller telling Which? that the firm was ‘prepared to work with us to get exactly the holiday we wanted’, while another said ‘nothing was too much trouble – they went the extra mile’.
Hays Travel and Virgin Holidays have tied for fifth place with a score of 80 per cent, but while the former has earned the coveted WRP status, Virgin Holidays is not a WRP as it could not offer a guarantee that it would not levy surcharges on bookings already paid for.
Survey respondents rated their package holidays based on categories such as the standard of customer service they received and value for money
Joint-first-place Kuoni has received five stars across all but one category – it loses one star for value for money
Looking to the bottom of the table, Which? says that online travel agency eDreams ‘failed to live up to its moniker’, with the firm receiving a ‘paltry’ two stars for how well the description of the holidays offered match the reality.
Despite being the cheapest provider in the survey, with a price per night of £72pp for short-haul stays, eDreams receives three stars for value for money.
While there are few companies to perform truly poorly in the survey, with even lowest-scoring eDreams receiving four stars in some categories, the factor that separates the top performers in the table from those with lower rankings generally emerged as customer service, with a large number of firms further down the table receiving middling scores of three stars, Which? notes.
Travellers with big-name brands such as Lastminute.com (70 per cent, 13th), Love Holidays (71 per cent, 12th), easyJet Holidays (73 per cent, 11th) and On The Beach (74 per cent, joint 10th) were all generally satisfied with their holidays, with none receiving a customer score of less than 70 per cent. ‘However, these companies failed to deliver the exceptional, five-star levels of customer service reported by those at the top of the table,’ Which? says.
Travel firm Trailfinders has ranked in second place with a customer score of 82 per cent
One traveller with Love Holidays told Which? that ‘customer service was non-existent’ while more than one complained of difficulties speaking to an adviser on occasions where things did go wrong. Similarly, one unhappy respondent remarked of Lastminute.com that ‘their customer service is appalling… completely unhelpful’, while an easyJet Holidays customer complained the firm ‘never answer the phone’.
As one of the largest providers in the UK to offer a combination of online and high-street sales, Tui also falls down on customer service. Which? says that its performance is ‘in sharp contrast’ to the likes of Hays Travel, which also has a strong high-street presence, and with similarly large competitor Jet2holidays. Tui’s customer score is 74 per cent, 10 points behind Jet2holidays despite serving a similar number of travellers in the survey and having the same average price per night for short-haul stays.
While it scores four stars across all but one category, some respondents voiced criticism of the company, with one traveller telling Which? that Tui ‘cabin crew were rude and ignorant’ while another commented on the ‘long-winded and frustrating’ experience of trying to make contact with customer service agents via an app. Others did report more positive experiences however, with one satisfied customer reporting ‘everything was very slick, good communication and lovely staff’.
Jo Rhodes, Deputy Editor of Which? Travel, said: ‘After an incredibly disruptive few years for travellers, our survey found good customer service puts the best companies ahead of the pack. With some respondents complaining that their providers were difficult to get hold of when things went wrong, Jet2holidays and Kuoni distinguished themselves by offering travellers support every step of the way.
Even though it takes last place in the survey with a score of 62 per cent, eDreams has received four stars in some categories
‘Next year, those booking with Which? Recommended Providers will have peace of mind that the price they are quoted is the price they will pay, as these firms have all committed to not levying surcharges if confronted with rising costs.’
Commenting on its two-star ranking in the ‘description matching reality’ category, eDreams told Which?: ‘We take great care to provide accurate descriptions of the accommodation options available through our platforms. Property descriptions are detailed and clearly displayed upfront when customers research their trips and include maps, details on the services provided, photos and information about the property’s condition. For further transparency, we also display customer reviews and the rating that other customers give to each property after their stays.’
The eDreams spokesperson added: ‘Our investment in our customer service capabilities has enabled a 65 per cent improvement in phone call answering times compared to before the pandemic and customer calls are now answered within 95 seconds on average. Overall, our customer service is rated extremely high with nine out of ten customers saying they are satisfied or very satisfied with the service they have received from us.’
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: ‘We are extremely proud to receive Which? Recommended Provider status once again, and I know how much this means to our brilliant colleagues who work so hard to look after customers. This in-depth study carried about by the UK’s consumer champion is based on the actual experiences of paying customers, making the findings a true reflection of how much customer service matters to everyone at Jet2.com and Jet2holidays. We are right in the middle of the peak booking season for holidays, and there can be no truer reflection or better reminder to customers and independent travel agents about who they can trust and rely on when choosing that all-important holiday this year.’