ABTA is launching ABTA Travel Buddy, a new email and mobile SMS text service for Members which will enable them to provide essential holiday information to customers after they book, before they travel and in emergencies while they are away.

Travel technology company Mobile Trails Ltd has worked with ABTA and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in developing the new communication system, while the FCO has provided funding for the service to ensure that there will be no cost to ABTA Members or their customers.

The ABTA Travel Buddy email puts together tailored 'Know Before You Go' and destination information for holidaymakers in a formatted email before they travel, and, in extraordinary circumstances will provide free text messages funded by the FCO so that customers can be located and provided with essential information and guidance.

The email information helps ABTA Members provide information they are required to under the Code of Conduct in a clear format and includes details of FCO advice, reminders about the importance of travel insurance and, when appropriate recommendations to visit a health professional before travel. The email also has space for ABTA Members' own essential travel information. If a crisis was to occur in a holiday destination, the service will provide free text messages to customers who are there, so that they can be located and provided with guidance and advice.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive said: “ABTA is providing this service to Members at no cost to help them provide exemplary customer service, particularly at times of emergencies when fast and effective information is needed. Mobile phones are now used by nearly everyone when they travel.”

Adam Winterflood M.D. of Mobile Trails said: “This is a free service to ABTA members who sign up now, as an ABTA member why wouldn’t you take advantage of it? Duty of care and customer service are important differentiators for any travel business, the ABTA Travel Buddy service means that members can tell their customers that they are businesses that care about them and have the ability to communicate with them effectively in a crisis.”

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