Travel company sorry to 'holiday woes' blogger

A travel company apologised to a man about his holiday woes today after he published them online.

Andy Sharman was so angered by a lack of response to a complaint about a holiday to Tunisia with tour operator Thomson that he waged war on the company through the internet.

The 23-year-old from Leicester claimed previous complaints to the company had been useless, but said an attack through his blog was the method that finally got a response.

Entries on his website include one on June 29, entitled "Thomson trip to Tunisia, staying in Marhaba Palace Review".

In the review, Mr Sharman said: "I just want to say to everyone out there that may be Googling this place to go on to holiday there, that Tunisia is a really nice place providing you are told real facts about it when you purchase the holiday, and that the hotel is of a good quality.

"Here is a much much shortened version of the issues we had whilst there, and the lies we were fed during the Thomson trip to Tunisia."

The entry went on to claim problems included promises of a double bed despite the hotel having none, promised scuba diving opportunities which he said proved to be non-existent, and differences in drinks prices from what he was told they could be.

Mr Sharman's attack continued with another entry entitled "More on my horrible Thomson holiday to Tunisia - The excursions", written on July 17.

A third entry last Monday said: "During my complaint about my horrible Thomson Tunisia holiday, I wrote on my blog displaying how angry I was about the service I received and not only that, but when I complained I was completely ignored.

"Just prior to me going away to Spain I received the cheque from Thomson to recompense me for my horrible Thomson holiday.

"Although this was an amicable amount, it was not what I deemed to be a credible amount, and as such I feel someone who doesn't go through the lengths I did to get get noticed by their company will probably receive nothing."

Today Thomson apologised to Mr Sharman, admitting it had failed to reach its 28-day response time for dealing with customer inquiries.

A spokeswoman said: "Thomson is sorry to hear of the problems encountered by Mr Sharman during his holiday to Tunisia earlier this year and the subsequent service he received upon his return to the UK.

"All our customers can expect to receive an excellent level of service before, during and after their holiday, regardless of whether or not they publish a blog.

"Our standard response time for dealing with customer enquiries such as this is within 28 days after acknowledgement, yet regrettably we failed to meet this for this issue.

"This is unacceptable and again we'd like to apologise to Mr Sharman.

"Customer service is of paramount importance to us and we know it is an area that we can improve upon.

"We are currently relocating our after travel customer support teams to our Luton head office and are recruiting staff, with the aim of creating a first-class customer support team."

The spokeswoman said the company was exploring more ways of reaching customers, including a new Twitter account which the online team used to move Mr Sharman's complaint forward.

But today the blogger said he thought it was only the amount of internet traffic viewing his blog, which popped up on Google for many surfers, that prompted his response.

He told the Leicester Mercury: "I got nowhere for a month and a half. But when I started beating them on Google, they wanted to talk.

"It's like going round with a billboard saying, 'Don't bother buying that!' - except it's better because the whole world can read it."