Agents could pay the price for HotelConnect collapse

Agents could pay the price for HotelConnect collapse

Agents are expected to be left out of pocket for the second summer running following the demise of HotelConnect.

The failure of the bed bank on Tuesday comes almost a year after collapses last summer – an unusual time for travel firms to fail and a period that causes problems as customers are abroad or due to travel.

Last year’s collapses of suppliers Goldtrail Holidays and Kiss Flights, and agents Monster Travel and Sun4U, were all partly blamed on the airspace closure caused by the Icelandic ash cloud.

HotelConnect failed with 6,000 forward trade bookings and 400 direct consumer bookings.

Abta confirmed on Tuesday that provisional liquidators had been called in, and advised agents to contact hoteliers to ensure bookings would be honoured.

An Abta spokesman said the terms and conditions on the HotelConnect agent site were very clear.

“The hotels are still in business so the companies the consumers dealt with will need to ensure that booking still goes ahead, which might mean they have to pay again,” he said.

Agents not covered by supplier failure insurance will have to fund replacement holidays themselves.

Matt Stuart, managing director of rival Getabed.co.uk, said the timing was unusual, adding: “It’s not traditional timing for this sort of thing because people are getting cash in for summer business – the same questions will be asked as last year.”

Stuart said Getabed had set up a dedicated team to assist agents.

“We have been getting calls from consumers and suppliers, and we are in the process of helping agents reprotect bookings.”

Rumours that HotelConnect was to be sold had been rife recently.

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