Travel Companies

Hays Travel Review: Unbiased Insights on Service, Value, and Destinations

About the Company

Hays Travel, founded in 1980 by John Hays in Durham, has grown from a small family business to the largest independent travel agency in the UK. The company prides itself on its personal touch and commitment to customer service, which has earned it a loyal customer base and a respected name in the industry. After acquiring a significant number of Thomas Cook’s high-street shops in 2019, Hays Travel significantly expanded its presence across the UK, reflecting its robust growth and dedication to the high-street travel market at a time when many competitors are moving to online-only models.

Passenger Numbers in 2023

In 2023, Hays Travel aimed to bounce back from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, with an increase in bookings as travel restrictions were lifted and consumer confidence started to return. They have not publicly released specific passenger numbers, but the company has reported strong sales post-lockdown, indicating that people are keen to return to travel and value the personalised service that Hays Travel provides. The company’s broad customer base and nationwide presence position it well to capitalise on the resurgent demand for both domestic and international travel.

Products and Services

Hays Travel offers a wide array of travel-related products and services. Their offerings include package holidays, cruises, and tailor-made travel itineraries alongside flight-only and hotel-only bookings. They serve a wide range of destinations and work with a variety of tour operators, giving customers an extensive choice of holiday options. Hays Travel is also known for its competitive pricing, price match guarantees, and comprehensive travel insurance options, which add value and peace of mind for customers.

Why Travel with Them

One of the key reasons to book with Hays Travel is the personalised service and expertise provided by their staff. Unlike many online-only agencies, Hays Travel maintains a significant high-street presence, offering face-to-face service that many customers still value highly. Additionally, their independent status means they can offer unbiased advice and a wider range of options than some brand-tied agencies. The company’s dedication to customer satisfaction is evidenced by its continued investment in staff training and community engagement.

What People Say

Customer reviews frequently highlight the friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive service provided by Hays Travel agents. Many customers appreciate the personal touch that comes with booking through Hays Travel, with staff often going the extra mile to ensure travel plans are well-organised and suited to individual needs. While any travel agency will have occasional negative reviews, the overall sentiment for Hays Travel is overwhelmingly positive, especially in regard to customer service and value for money.

Most Common Complaints

Despite Hays Travel’s reputation for personal customer service and its breadth of offerings, the company is not immune to customer complaints. One of the more common issues reported by customers involves discrepancies between the details provided at the time of booking and the actual experience. This can include everything from the standard of accommodation to the specifics of flight times.

Some travellers have expressed frustration with the handling of cancellations and delays. While Hays Travel typically endeavours to provide alternative arrangements, the solutions offered do not always meet the customers’ expectations or the original package’s value. There have also been instances where customers felt that their concerns were not addressed swiftly or effectively, with a need for multiple follow-ups to obtain a resolution.

Moreover, with the complex nature of travel itineraries, especially involving multiple destinations or carriers, there have been reports of logistical issues where customers experienced miscommunications regarding transfer times, leading to tight schedules or missed connections.

It’s important to recognise that the nature of the travel industry means that it is often subject to variables outside of any one company’s control, such as airline delays, hotel overbookings, and other operational challenges. Despite this, Hays Travel is committed to resolving such issues and improving the overall customer experience.

Final Verdict

Hays Travel’s reputation as a trustworthy and customer-focused travel agency is well-deserved. Their personal approach to travel booking, combined with a comprehensive range of products and services, makes them a solid choice for a wide variety of travellers. While not necessarily the first name that comes to mind for luxury travel, their competitive pricing and high level of service make them an excellent option for those looking for value and reliability in their travel arrangements. For those who value the human touch and expert guidance, Hays Travel offers a refreshing alternative to impersonal online booking platforms.

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