Crisis & staying on the right side of the law

Last week BETA held a Youth Industry Seminar for members and stakeholders within the sector which was kindly sponsored by London Nest.

This event was originally planned as one of our members networking events, but following the recent terrorist incidents and from being out and about talking to members it was clear that we as a sector could benefit from coming together to talk about how these incidents are handled and share our experiences with our peers.

BETA’s network covers a wide range of sectors from attraction operators to hostels, homestay’s, language schools and more there is one common theme for all of us, which is the safeguarding of our visitors.

The first session was talking about crisis management and the importance of having a well constructed plan for when and if the unexpected should happen. red24 lead on the topic, advising members to ensure that they regularly visit their crisis plans, ensuring that each employee that is likely to come in to contact with such an incident is ready and prepared to play their role. A poorly activated plan can hugely damage the reputation of your organisation, so its vital that organisations are fully prepared.

Next up was Nick Pound, Head of Partnerships for World Nomads a global travel insurance brand who examined the worrying trend for young people travelling without insurance. Statistics show that in 2015 24% of Brits went on an overseas holiday without insurance, with younger travelers being doubly blasé, with 48% uninsured. A scary thought!  Sharing some case studies with the group really defined the old adage “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you cant afford to travel”.

The final session of the day was entitled “staying on the right side of the law” and was lead by BETA’s legal hotline provider Stephen Mason, from TravLaw.  There is so much going on right now in the law which directly affects leisure and travel businesses so Stephen expertly lead the group through several key areas.

Kicking off with the new Package Travel Directive, which comes into effect 1st July 2018, with lots of questions arising from the article relating to liability with agents now being required to have public liability insurance on a tour operator basis. There were also lots of questions around the package and the definition of the “package” which is for the record – a combination of at least two different types of travel services for the purpose of the same trip or holiday.

Moving on from this Stephen addressed the credit card charges that will come into effect on 13th January 2018 which means that traders cannot pass on any credit or debit card charges after this date. He looked at how businesses may address this, offering a big BEWARE to those considering alternative payment methods e.g. reducing prices for not using credit cards. It was thought that most businesses would address this by way of a price increase.

Tackling his final piece of regulation for the day and on which carries significant costs for getting it wrong, he looked at the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on 25th May 2018. This puts and end to pre ticked boxes and delves into the individual rights of the consumer and the accountability of the business for the way in which they receive and store consumer data. As a company with marketing activity you will need to ensure that you are compliant to avoid fines of 20 million Euros or 4% of your annual turnover, whichever is higher!

There were as you can imagine many questions from the floor for this session, with one significant one being “Will Brexit change these….” these are all European Laws and it is thought that once the UK exits from the EU, these will become British law.

Copies of all of the presentations are available in the members only section of the website. BETA is committed to making sure that our members are up to date on all things that could have an impact on the sector.

We are also developing a guidance document for members around emergency procedures as well as introducing a crisis and safeguarding hotline for members.

Contact us to find out how you can stay connected in the youth, student and educational travel industry.