Guest Column: Stephen Bath

Guest Column:  Stephen Bath

Lunn Poly's admission that it will be leafleting British holidaymakers in destinations such as Majorca, in order to collect names and addresses to try and persuade them to book with Lunn Poly next time is a major intrusion on tourist's privacy.

If it works, then it will probably be copied by the other multiples.

The prospect of an army of hit squads touting at Palma Airport or in resort is depressing.

What really irritates about this announcement is that the clients they will be pestering are yours and mine.

At least three quarters of these people will have chosen not to book this particular holiday through Lunn Poly for good and sufficient reasons.

Probably the most unpopular person to approach tourists at random in holiday resorts is the timeshare seller.

Many resorts are so aware of the annoyance caused to their visitors that they have taken enforcement steps to clear these timeshare touts out.

Approaches from people with questionnaire clipboards are not popular at when you're shopping at home, let alone when you're trying to relax on holiday abroad.

In some areas of the holiday industry intrusive techniques such as these have been banned for years.

For example, travel agents frequently send escorts on cruises to buy the occasional drink at the bar and ensure that things run smoothly for their own clients.

However, one major cruiseline has a policy to put them off at the next port of call if they are caught handing out business cards to other passengers - and rightly so.

If we found another travel agent stopping, questioning and collecting information from clients outside our door in the high street we would take immediate and appropriate action.

Here we can see it and deal with it on the spot.

But presumably, because the approach is made hundreds of miles away, our clients are held to be fair game.

We are all looking for bright new marketing ideas, but nobbling other travel agent's clients is not one that I would be very proud of.

A publicly quoted company should not resort to these sort of tactics.

What next?Tesco giving discount vouchers outside Sainsbury's stores, or perhaps Boots touting for business outside Superdrug.

I do not believe these companies should resort to such poaching methods and neither should the much respected Thomson organisation.


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