RHA promotes ABTA collaboration

David Cole reports from the RHA’s most recent webinar

A recent webinar gave coach tour operators the opportunity to explore the benefits of RHA’s collaboration with ABTA which launched on 3 April 2024. Referring to ‘a comprehensive service’ moderator Phil Snowden, Membership Director at RHA, described how the skills and strengths of both organisations were being brought together to deliver preferential access to mutual benefits.

Speakers from key areas in each organisation highlighted these benefits. For ABTA, Danny Waine, Head of Membership, referred to over 70 years of service to a diverse membership supporting over 4,500 consumer brands which generated ‘strength in our breadth.’ The ABTA brand itself, Financial Protection Schemes, Public Affairs and Destinations were highlighted as the key ABTA activities of interest to coach operators.

ABTA quoted a recent survey which showed that consumers were 89% more likely to book with an ABTA member and 47% would be prepared to pay more for this.

ABTA has recently published its 2024 manifesto, well timed for the forthcoming general election and this week released its ‘Land Transportation Guide’ offering guidance on land travel including coaches in a variety of countries.

After referring to the organisation’s recent 80th Anniversary and its growth to 8,500 members operating 200,000 vehicles (including 2,500 Coaches), Phil Snowden introduced the benefits of RHA membership to coach operators. This particularly focused on the dedicated operational support delivered by Andy Warrender’s team in RHA Coach and the availability of tailored services in areas including legal advice (from Backhouse Jones), tachograph and maintenance systems, Earned Recognition and the RHA Benevolent Fund.

RHA’s policy team has recently launched the organisation’s coach manifesto (Coaching Ahead) which will also be targeted at general election candidates. RHA produces regular reports on industry costs and trends and has a strong media relations presence, particularly with the coach trade press and can provide media advice for smaller businesses. All social media platforms are supported although LinkedIn has proven to be most suited to the organisation’s outputs.

Opening the floor to questions, the key focus was on costs and scope of membership. Participants had already heard that the RHA/ABTA collaboration would result in a 50% reduction of ABTA Application and Joining Fees for new members from the RTA until 30 September 2024, this monetarising at £375 and £625 respectively. On top of this is the annual subscription (1 July to 30 June) for the ABTA protection scheme(s) cover provided which is based only on the elements of a business related to tours and holidays although the viability and strength of the whole business is taken in to account at the application stage. It was noted that organisations joining ABTA did not need to exclusively use suppliers who were ABTA members.

The question of specific criteria for vehicles used on UK coach holidays was raised, ABTA indicated that they do not define these but members can take advantage of the organisation’s guidance. RHA Coach membership is based on fleet size and starts at £361 for a single vehicle operation.

  • Further details of RHA Coach membership may be obtained at www.rha.uk.net, for ABTA membership, contact Esther Riske, [email protected] or 02031170587.

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