Why Luxury Escapes withdrew from ATAS

Lux Group's management explains rationale

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The Australian Federation of Travel Agents advised this week of the voluntary withdrawal of Luxury Escapes from the AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS),  effective 1 July 2018.

The surprise move by Luxury Escapes’ parent company, Lux Group Ltd, has seen the e-commerce travel company relinquish its eligibility to be a Finalist in the 2018 National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA), and therefore forfeit from Category 9: Best Online Travel Agency. “In accordance with the NTIA Conditions of Entry (1.5) to be eligible in Category 9 a business must be ATAS accredited,” AFTA said.

The withdrawal includes the accreditation of Lux Group’s other brands, Scoopon Travel and Bon Voyage travel.

“AFTA are informing industry and consumers that the Lux Group is no longer ATAS Accredited and does not fall under the jurisdiction of the ATAS Charter or ATAS Code of Conduct,” the organisation said.

Under AFTA’s terms and conditions, Lux Group’s decision requires the company to remove any logo or reference to AFTA or ATAS from their website, business cards, any ancillary internet or social media sites and other platforms. Cancelled participants are also no longer eligible for the AFTA Chargeback Scheme (ACS).

Luxury Escapes Managing Director Adam Schwab explained the rationale behind the decision to LATTE, saying:

“We appreciate the fantastic support we have received from ATAS over a number of years, but unfortunately we didn’t find ATAS was able to provide any value for us going forward.

“We remain a member of IATA, which has far stricter financial membership criteria than ATAS and provides outstanding protection and assurance for customers. We wish ATAS and its members all the very best,” Schwab said.

Luxury Escapes’ Chief Revenue Officer, Blake Hutchison, further added that the move would have “absolutely no impact” on its business.

Luxury Escapes Chief Information Officer, Blake Hutchison

“Our commitment to providing the very best service to customers and a world leading ability to supply incremental demand to our partners has not changed or wavered. In fact, the business has never been in a better position, with a speed of growth we are very proud of. The decision is purely value based. We haven’t seen value from AFTA and ATAS commensurate with the fees,” Hutchison said.

He further added, “[Luxury Escapes] have an industry leading Net Promoter Score of 75, best priced guarantee and a seven day change of mind, no questions asked refund guarantee. That, combined with the quality of our partner relationships, makes us confident in our industry position.”

Per AFTA’s guidelines, Luxury Escapes has removed reference to AFTA and ATAS from its websites.

Lead image – Luxury Escapes’ inaugural pop-up shop in Melbourne, dubbed ‘The Lounge’.

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