Will holiday claims become the new PPI?

It’s difficult to escape the “Where there’s a blame, there’s a claim” culture. It’s now taking a grip on the travel industry, which his ultimately bad news for all but a select few who could become very rich. What should we do? Read more

Will the failure of Lowcostholidays impact on the UK implementation of the Package Travel Directive?

The failure of Lowcostholidays is one of the largest travel company failures of recent years. However, its impacts could extend significantly beyond the customers who lost their holidays when the company went down. Read more

This item has also appeared in Travel Weekly

How should you prevent the referendum outcome becoming a business crisis?

Irrespective of personal or political views, the immediate impacts of the referendum vote may amount to a crisis. Like any crisis, those impacts can be addressed by proper planning and management. Read more

This item has also appeared in Travel Weekly

Is the Balearic Eco Tax already having a negative impact?

A recent visit to Palma got me questioning whether cruise ships visits to the island are declining, and whether the implementation of the new Eco Tax has influenced any change. Read more

This item has also appeared in Travel Weekly

The Questionable legacy of the travel industry

The travel industry has always been entrepreneurial, but it’s not a big jump from smart practice to sharp practice. We need to ensure that our industry stays the right side of the line. Read more.

This item has also appeared in Travel Weekly

Why are night flights such an important issue?

Night flights are a topic guaranteed to cause a difference in views between residents living on flight paths and the aviation industry and its customers. So why are they so important? Read more.

This item has also appeared in Travel Weekly

What are the likely major holiday destinations of the future?

We live in an uncertain world, and tourists are having to make difficult decisions about where to take their holidays. Will Dubai be one of the success stories in the longer term. Read more

This item has also appeared in Travel Weekly

The Importance of an effective system of government travel advice

We live in an unstable world, and Foreign Office travel advice is essential to help travellers and travel businesses understand the risks connected with travelling to other countries. Changes to the structure of that advice should only be undertaken after careful consideration of all the consequences. Read more

This item has also appeared in Travel Weekly

Are booking conditions too complicated, and can we do anything about it?

Government wants businesses to simplify their terms and conditions. Whilst not directed at the travel industry, any requirements would clearly impact on travel businesses. But are they really looking in the right direction. Read more

This item has also appeared in Travel Weekly

How will the mainstream travel industry work with the sharing economy?

As a deal is announced in India between a traditional travel business and a sharing economy market leader, we ask what might be the implications if this approach spread to the UK. Read more.

This item has also appeared in Travel Weekly

Are we allowing terrorists to succeed in their aims, and can we actually do anything about it?

Every week we seem to experience a new terrorist attack, many of which take place in tourist destinations. These are beginning to change the tourism landscape, and creating challenges for everyone involved in the industry. What needs to be done? Read more

This item has also appeared in Travel Weekly

So, why is there all this fuss about January holiday sales?

For many travel businesses, sales in January are critical to their success for the coming summer. Why should that be, and what makes “Peaks” so important for so many businesses? Read more

This article has also appeared in Travel Weekly

What now for Heathrow, and for air travellers?

The government response to the Aviation Commission recommendations contains some good news, in that it recognises the need for more runways, but more bad news, in that, once again, decision making has been delayed. Why, and what does this mean for air travellers? Read more

This item has also appeared in Travel Weekly

Is Britain’s rail network suffering problems as a result of successful growth?

As a frequent rail user, it’s easy to criticise Network Rail and the train operators, but they do manage to do a remarkable job, considering the lack of investment over many years. Read more

What are ATOL holders’ plans for 2016, and why don’t the CAA tell us?

The CAA collect a lot of data when they grant ATOL licences. When analysed, you can find out a lot about the travel industry’s plans for the next year. It’s a shame that the CAA don’t do this analysis, but I have attempted to extract some information. Read more.

This item has also appeared in Travel Weekly

Is there a realistic way for tourist resorts to extend their seasons?

Governments regularly talk of trying to extend tourist seasons, and to encourage tourists to travel in the shoulder and winter months. Is that a realistic ambition, and how should it be achieved? Read more 

This item has also appeared in Travel Weekly

Is the return of the Balearics Eco Tax a recipe for disaster?

The Balearics Islands government is proposing the reintroduction of an Eco Tax payable by all visitors to the islands. Last time they tried this in 2002, it caused an economic crisis on the islands. We should help them re-consider this tax before it is too late.  Read more

This item has also been published in Travel Weekly

How far should the travel industry go to explain destination risks to our customers?

In an increasingly risky world, travel businesses are being told that they should give more advice to their customers about the risks in the destinations they travel to. Is that a sensible approach? Read more

How will we plan for the future of the tourism industry?

The holiday industry has changed massively in recent years. Are more changes on the way, and who is giving any thought to what tourism may look like in the future? Read more

This item has also appeared in Travel Weekly.

How will improved relations with the USA change Cuba?

The thawing of relations between the USA and Cuba is likely to be Obama’s main legacy. It is going to change Cuba for ever. But what will be the impacts of those changes? Read more

Tourism and overcrowding: what’s the best way to address the problem?

As the mayor of Barcelona announces plans to ban the opening of new hotels, we question whether it is appropriate to try to prevent tourism. If not, how can it best be controlled? Read more

Don’t worry, if it all goes pear shaped, you’ll be looked after

The horrific events in Tunisia act as a reminder as to how vulnerable tourists may be. And the response by tour operators shows the key role they play in supporting holidaymakers. Read more.

An edited version of this item has appeared in Travel Weekly.

How will the sharing economy address safety requirements?

New routes to market create new challenges. The rise of sharing economy websites is going raise many questions, not least regarding what customers may expect relating to their safety on holiday. Read more

Have the Spanish found a way of addressing the British binge drinking culture?

Every summer, we see newspaper stories about young Brits drinking to excess in different holiday resorts. For once, this year, the first story is about preventative steps being taken by one destination. Read more

This article has also appeared in Travel Weekly

Are recent developments likely to see the end of dynamic packaging?

Dynamic packaging of holidays by travel agents has been a major success story of the past few years. Is that success coming to an end, and are recent developments going to result in changes to business models? Read more

This article first appeared in Travel Weeklyhttp://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2015/05/26/54295/opinion+the+end+of+dynamic+packaging.html 

The problems caused by disruptive passengers on aircraft

Alcohol and flying don’t really mix for air passengers. Despite that, airlines still have problems with disruptive passengers. So what can be done? Read more

Have you heard of the Modern Slavery Act? It will impact on the travel industry

What is the Modern Slavery Act? If you think that it is not going to affect travel businesses, then think again. The government is consulting about the new reporting requirements in the Act. Read more.

What do the political parties’ manifestos tell us about their plans for tourism?

As the UK general election quickly approaches, the political parties have all published their manifestos, which set out their planned policies after the elections. Whilst tourism isn’t a major part of those manifestos, we can get some insight on their views on the topics that interest us. Read more.

Would a referendum on the EU matter to the travel industry?

Britain’s membership of the EU has become a political issue in the general election campaigning. Does it really matter to the travel industry whether we are in or out? Should we be thinking more about this topic? Read more

Is there really an alternative to flying on holiday?

After driving 2000 miles in the past 2 weeks, I found myself thinking about how best to go skiing. Is driving a suitable alternative to flying? What are the pros and cons of other means of travel?  Read more

Future airport expansion: is there a right answer?

One of the first decisions that a new government is going to have to make is what to do about airport capacity in the South East. It’s a difficult decision, and one in which everyone involved in travel should have a keen interest. Read more

What is going to happen in the general election, and how will the outcome affect the travel industry?

We are rapidly approaching a General Election in the UK. Who knows what will be the outcome? Are the concerns of the travel industry even going to be on politicians’ radars, and if not, how can we get them there? Here are some thoughts from me. Read more

An abridged version of this article has appeared in Travel Weekly

Do we need more or better regulation? What should any regulatory regime look like?

Is the regulatory regime applied to the travel industry consistent and proportionate? What is the right approach to regulation?  I consider these issues, as well as making a suggestion on a step that the aviation industry may wish to take. Read more.

An abridged version of this article has appeared in Travel Weekly.

How can the travel industry be better at adapting to change?

Are we too slow to adapt? Does that threaten the survival of businesses in the travel industry? How could we improve and stay relevant? Read more

Flight Delay Compensation: Do air travellers really benefit from the current regime?

Some thoughts on the costs and impacts of flight delay compensation on UK airlines. Read more.

Is “Forum Shopping” becoming unacceptable? How does this fit with changes to the Package Travel Directive?

At a time when pressure is on businesses not shop around to relocate to low tax regimes or countries with simpler regulation, what is putting this topic higher on the travel industry agenda? Read more

What might the Greek Elections mean for the travel industry?

The recent rise to power of the Syriza party in Greece is a major development which could affect the tourism industry significantly. I have explored some of the consequences. Read More

This item also appeared in Travel Weekly.

Managing a Crisis: what lessons should we learn?

Sadly, the travel industry is very experienced in dealing with crises – we face incidents and accidents almost every week. Here are my thoughts on some basic rules which can be applied to any crisis. Read more

Why haven’t lower oil prices immediately led to cheaper holidays?

The recent significant reductions in the oil price, together with fluctuations in the currency market have brought the whole question of hedging in the travel industry into sharp focus. Read more

This item also appeared in Travel Weekly on 20th January: http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2015/01/20/51883/opinion-naive-politicians-dont-get-the-black-art-of.html

What should the tourism industry be doing in the run up to the 2015 General Election?

Here are my thoughts on what we can try to persuade politicians to change following the General Election. Read more.

This story first appeared in Travel Weekly. http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2015/01/14/51799/opinion+a+guide+to+lobbying+for+the+sector+in+this+years+general+election.html

What will elections in 2015 mean for tourism?

2015 will see General Elections taking place in the UK and Greece, and no doubt in other parts of the world. What impacts could these elections have on tourism, and can we as an industry take any positive steps around the elections? Read more

This story has also been published in Travel Weekly. http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2015/01/07/51703/comment-what-will-the-elections-of-2015-mean-for-tourism.html

Holiday Pricing: are parents getting a bad deal?

As we start the Christmas holidays, it is only a matter of time before newspaper headlines about “rip off” holiday pricing appear. Can the industry do more to explain or address the issue? Read more


IATA changes should force the travel industry to focus on cash flow

Are changes in credit terms by IATA going to lead to fundamental changes in the structure of the travel industry? Are they part of a wider change? And is it one that is actually overdue? Read more


Air Passenger Duty reforms: is there a sting in the tail for the airlines?

The Chancellor may have announced the removal of Air Passenger Duty for children under 12, but the small print may not be so positive for airlines. Read more

This article was originally published in Travel Weekly: http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2014/12/08/51406/apd+reforms+is+there+a+sting+in+the+tail+for+airlines.html


The Gambia: Who should make decisions about whether a school trip to West Africa should take place?

The Ebola crisis has raised some interesting questions for the travel industry, and we look to explore some points in more detail. Read more


Can the travel industry create its own version of Black Friday?

Many things happen in the travel industry because that is the way they have always happened. If the retail sector in the UK can invent a whole new spike in demand by importing Black Friday, isn’t it about time we did something similar in the travel industry? Read more


Good customer service takes a  minute, but recovering from bad customer service can take a lifetime: a salutary lesson from Blackpool.

I suspect that I was not alone in the travel industry in being amused and intrigued by the story of the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool, which charged £100 to customers who placed a bad review of the hotel on Trip Advisor.

The story does raise some important points of concern, both about the legality of the actions of the hotel, but also, and probably more importantly, about the impacts of mistreating your customers, both in the short and long term. Read more


The travel industry’s record on lobbying

It seems to be a generally accepted axiom that the travel industry is not great at influencing governments. Over the past few months, I have found myself considering that claim in some detail. Here are my thoughts. Read more

Read this article in Travel Weekly: http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2014/11/24/51220/comment+the+travel+industry+and+lobbying.html 

Rebalancing ATOL: Consultation on proposals to ensure a fair and proportionate financial protection scheme: Response by Owens Cooper Consulting

This response to the CAA Consultation CAP1190 is submitted by Owens Cooper Consulting

The Respondent
Owens Cooper Consulting provides comprehensive advice and support to travel, leisure and tourism businesses regarding government and regulatory issues. The principal has more than 25 years experience working with or for large ATOL holders, as well as experience working as a regulator of travel businesses protected under the Package Travel Regulations. This response is not submitted on behalf of any client, but as a general response by the consultancy. Read more.