Customer service in the tourism sector has dropped in the last six months, according to the latest research by Institute of Customer Service.

The UK Customer Service Index showed that average service levels in the tourism sector dropped by 0.8 percentage points to 78.4 out of 100.

Its research found 29% of tourism organisations’ service levels dropped by two points or more, based on a bi-annual poll of 10,000 consumers.

Jet2holidays was the highest-placed holiday company in the list in 23rd place, although its score fell by 0.5 percentage points to 82.

Other tourism companies in the top 50 included Premier Inn, at 83.2, Center Parcs, at 81, P&O Cruises, at 80.9, Expedia, at 80.6,, at 80.5, and Travelodge at 80.4.

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Non-food retail dominated the top ten companies in the index, with John Lewis in top spot at 85.6, 0.9 percentage points down on last year. However, retail was among the sectors that have experienced the most significant drops, alongside insurance, public services and utilities.

Across the 13 sectors analysed, customer satisfaction levels fell for the fifth successive time – the longest period of decline since The Institute of Customer Service began tracking in 2008.

The research also found that more than a quarter of customers (26%) were willing to pay more for excellent service, while 14% said they would prefer the cheapest options, even if it means sacrificing service.

The average customer service satisfaction now stands at 76.9, its lowest level since July 2015, with 28% of the 259 organisations listed falling by at least two points, compared to 20% of organisations in January 2019.

Table: Top-ranked brands in the tourism sector

Jan-20 rank Brand Jan-20 score Jan-19 score Jan-19 rank Change in score Jan-19 to Jan-20
11 Premier Inn 83.2 82.4 23 0.8
23 Jet2holidays 82 82.5 20 -0.5
34 Center Parcs 81 79.8 80 1.2
37 P&O Cruises 80.9 79.9 77 1
40 Expedia 80.6 79.3 90 1.3
43 80.5 81.4 40 -0.9
45 Travelodge 80.4 79 101 1.4

Jo Causon, chief executive at The Institute of Customer Service, said: “Today’s figures are not cause for celebration. This is the longest continuous run of declining customer service in the history of our index. The Index demonstrates that a number of organisations are struggling to meet customer needs in a more complex trading environment. Our evidence does show that where organisations ‘buck’ this trend over the longer term there are clear links to overall business performance.’’

“Excellent service is not just a collection of transactional experiences. The most effective organisations demonstrate agility, innovation and a consistent and constant realignment with purpose.”