Dnata has confirmed its B2B brands will begin asking agents for more client data “once peaks is over” following “hard lessons” from the Thomas Cook collapse.
John Bevan, chief executive, dnata Travel Europe, told TTG that following peaks Gold Medal and Travel 2 will begin requesting lead passenger contact details from trade partners during the booking process.
Bevan initially called for greater data-sharing capabilities at Abta’s Travel Convention in Tokyo, just over a fortnight after Cook’s failure on 23 September sparked widespread chaos for the trade and clients.
Writing for TTG this week, he said it was time for “outdated and protectionist practices that ultimately put the customer at a disadvantage” to be “consigned to history”.
Gold Medal and Travel 2 saw duplicate bookings by customers who rebooked post-Cook even though their holiday was safe.
“As agents don’t pass on customer contact information to us, we had no way to communicate with the thousands rebooking, which caused significant confusion at a time when clarity and speed were of the essence,” Bevan recalled.
He said the move would see dnata holding client data “separately and securely” in line with GDPR regulations from the time the booking is confirmed to the day after the customer returns from their holiday – at which point it will be erased.
Bevan also stressed data would not be used for marketing.
He said by sharing information, travel companies would “be better able to fulfil our legal obligation to look after and care for customers when they need it most”.
In a separate comment piece for TTG, lawyer Farina Azam, partner and travel lead at Kemp Little, said the industry needed to work to “fight the mistrust” over data sharing. She added that assumptions data-sharing agents would be in breach of GDPR were incorrect.
To allay worries about information misuse, Azam suggested conditions could be applied to agents’ trading agreements, stating that information should be used only for reasons related to the client’s trip.