We are in the process of setting up a tour operator taking Chinese tourists around the UK. Currently, one of our biggest considerations is the cheapest way to comply with the Package Travel Regulations.
We believe we have 2 options (as a start-up):
Has anyone been in a similar boat in the past and can speak from experience about pros and cons of each? Ultimately, we are keen to find out which is our cheapest option. We have a rough estimate of what TTA membership will cost us, but need a cost for IPP and ABTOT. Does anyone know what these may be?
Another issue we have is receiving payments online in Chinese currency (RMB) from Chinese customers using the Chinese card provider Union Pay. Does anyone know the most cost efficient way of receiving these payments?
Thanks in advance
A lot will come down to your overall turnover.
TTA will be cheap if you have a higher turnover, as the annual costs are fixed and their per booking fee is low.
IPP will be cheap if you have a low turnover. There's no real annual fee, so you save on that. You should expect them to charge you around 1.5% on every booking. Once you have enough bookings to cover more than the cost of the TTA annual fees, then they will become more expensive.
ABTOT costs I don't know.
Another good option to try is the Travel Vault - similar principle to IPP, but they say they can give cheaper prices.
Thank you for your clear and helpful reply! As a tour operator yourself (at least I think I worked this out from a previous post), I guess you have faced a similar decision in the past? Can you shed any more light on who you went with and why?
Travel Vault is a useful suggestion thank you, I've never heard of them before so will certainly look into it.
We have a very similar solution to the TTA but also work with a lot of customers outside of the UK. We could also help with RMB and Union Pay as well. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be delighted to go through things with you and see if we can help with a solution.
All the best,
Trust My Travel
Please feel free to contact me and I will be able to talk you through what ABTOT maybe be able to offer. We are also able to provide you with an indicative quotation for the costs of membership at no obligation to you. My email address is email@example.com and telephone number 0207 065 5311.
Thank you all for the replies. Slowly making progress!
The TTA have a low cost solution for Travel Agents, Tour Organisers and Tour Operators which provides full compliance with the 'Package Travel Regulations' without the need for bonds or assets within the business.
TTA members who are Tour Organisers or Tour Operators also have their own ATOL and issue their own ATOL certificates when selling their own tailor-made flight based packages to comply with the ATOL Regulations.
TTA have a solution for foreign currency card payments through their merchant facility providers.
If you would like to discuss specific benefits and costs of TTA membership please feel free to contact me directly.
Thanks for your reply! I may well be in touch in the coming weeks.
All the best
To comply with the Package Travel Regulations you have three ways in which to protect clients money.
1. Bonding - this can be done through a trade association such as ABTA or ABTOT. Costs will vary dependent on your financial position and the turnover you project but minimum costs for this route are approximately £1500 per year.
2. Trust accounts - the two main options are TTA and Protected Travel Services. Again costs will depend on turnover but minimum costs are around £2,000 per year
3. Financial Failure Insurance - number of brokers offer this including The Travel Vault. This increases as turnover goes up but minimum costs are around £500 a year.
Hope this helps
Curious...which one did you go for? I'm currently in a similar position.
If you can tell us a little more about your business model I can post some likely costs for you?