Package travel and linked travel arrangements
As a holidaymaker booking a package holiday and/or linked travel arrangements, you benefit from a high level of consumer protection under EU rules. If you buy a package, you have well-defined rights before and throughout the booking process, and up until your holiday ends, for example the right to pre-contractual information, the organiser’s liability for the proper performance of travel services included in your package and insolvency protection. These rights apply to packages purchased online or face-to-face, from a tour operator, travel agent, or any other trader that is acting as the organiser of the package. More limited rights apply to so-called “linked travel arrangements” (LTAs).
These rules do not cover stand-alone travel services (such as a flight or accommodation which are booked separately), certain types of business travel, packages sold on the basis of a framework agreement on an occasional, not-for-profit basis to a limited group of travellers, as well as packages lasting less than 24 hours unless they include accommodation.
Package travel – different types of packages give you the same rights
When you book a package holiday, you buy a combination of two or more different types of travel services for the same trip or holiday. These services can include transport, accommodation, car hire, or under specific conditions any other tourist service. Your package may be pre-arranged – consisting of a number of services combined by a tour operator or travel agent – or you may have a more customised package by choosing the services yourself before the contract is concluded. In both cases, EU rules apply as long as your travel package was purchased in a certain way.
What is package travel?
Your travel is considered as a package when:
1. You book travel services put together by or with the help of a trader, such as a tour operator or an online or offline travel agency under a single contract
2. You book travel services under separate contracts with individual providers and one of the following conditions is met:
you buy services at a single point of sale (such as a travel agency, a call centre or a website) and you select the services before agreeing to pay, i.e. before you conclude the first contract. This is the case, for example, where different travel services are put into a shopping basket or are otherwise selected before a contract is concluded.
the services are sold to you at an inclusive or total price
the services were advertised/sold as a “package” or similar
travel services are combined after the conclusion of a contract under which you are entitled to choose from a selection of different travel services, for example a travel package gift box
Click-through package: you buy services from separate travel companies through a linked online booking process where the first company transmits your name, email address and payment details to the second company and the second contract is concluded within 24 hours of the first contract
A combination of a travel service, such as accommodation, and another tourist service, such as a guided tour, admission to a concert or sports event, or rental of sports equipment, can only be classed as a package if the other tourist service accounts for 25% or more of the overall value of the trip, or if that service is an essential feature of the trip.
Booking a package travel holiday
Michel from Belgium decided to organise his summer holiday through an online travel agency. The package he selected, a 2-week holiday in Italy, included flights, hotel accommodation and a number of day trips. As the total price for this all-inclusive package was very attractive, Michel decided to book his holiday. He finalised the booking, signed the contract and paid for his holiday via the online travel agency.
Package travel – your right to clear and accurate information
Before you book a package, the point of sale (booking website or app for example) or your travel agent must give you all the standard information about the package, such as the:
travel destination (itinerary, dates and duration of the stay, details of any transfers, visits or excursions) and a list of services included
name and contact details of the organiser of the package and, where it is sold through a retailer, of the retailer
total price, inclusive of all taxes and where applicable all additional fees, and the payment arrangements
information on how to terminate the contract before the start of the package on payment of an appropriate termination fee
information on passport and visa requirements
information on complaint-handling procedures, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms and, where appropriate, the ADR entity, and the online dispute resolution platform
You should also receive clear information on your rights, based on an EU standardised form, explaining that you have been offered a package and outlining your rights.
product bundling is offering several products or services for sale as one combined product or service package. It is a common feature in many imperfectly competitive product and service markets. Industries engaged in the practice include telecommunications services, financial services, health care, information and consumer electronics. A software bundle might include a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation program into a single office suite. The cable television industry often bundles many TV and movie channels into a single tier or package.
A bundle of products may be called a package deal (Combo Deal), in recorded music, a compilation or box set or in publishing, an anthology.
Most firms are multi-product or multi-service companies faced with the decision whether to sell products or services separately at individual prices or whether combinations of products should be marketed in the form of “bundles” for which a “bundle price” is asked. Price bundling plays an increasingly important role in many industries (e.g. banking, insurance, software, automotive) and some companies even build their business strategies on bundling. In a bundle pricing, companies sell a package or set of goods or services for a lower price than they would charge if the customer bought all of them separately. Pursuing a bundle pricing strategy allows you to increase your profit by giving customers a discount.