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Mark Warner bumping up ski holiday cost after booking

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@snowymum,
Quote:

There is also the chance the holiday might be advertised later on at a higher price if an early booking discount has expired or the TO has had to put up prices due to the exchange rate changing (rather than doing what MW have done and charging the existing early booking customers instead).
It's not really possible to know what their pricing structure is. I expect that prices are fixed according to what the market will tolerate and surcharges imposed according to any cost changes that arise after booking. i.e. New bookings are not 'subsidising' previous booking, or vice versa.
ski holidays
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

But by definition one side of the argument was wrong and thus their opinions were objectively bunk - it just couldn't be proven. Sentiment IMO kept it up; logic was definitely pointing down (globally speaking). Obviously it's a counterfactual now thanks to Brexit but the IMF for one thought the £ was quite seriously overvalued (by up to 20%) in 2015. The Bank of England said much the same. From memory Deutsche Bank predicted 1.15 vs Euro in 2017 if we stayed in the EU.


NSB - didn't realise you were so respectful of IMF opinions? Very Happy
I think you realise this and are just jerking my chain but there is no reason to believe that Deutsche forecast was any good given that they didn't forecast Brexit which has definitely depressed the value of Sterling. If remain had won would the rate be near 1.15 in 2017? We don't know. My whole point is that the "everyone knew it was overvalued" argument is garbage. It may or may not have been absent the brexit vote. We don't even know that now. And prior to the vote the forex fwd curve was the consensus view.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
blahblahblah wrote:
https://www.duedil.com/company/02434787/mark-warner-limited/financials

Well they have a net asset position of -£9,500,000.00

£645,000 post tax profit on £42M turnover, how they only pay £24k tax is interesting.

But it does look like margins are tight so maybe pay the money and still have a travel agent in business.


You need to look at the parent company. I think there was around 4mil of reserves in the group when I looked, pretty much all funded through director loans which I expect would be secured against their properties.

The tax is also calculated on group earnings and is exactly 20% of their net profit, oddly enough.
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As other's have said if the old surcharge game is back then the TO's are out for me in future. Its just too borderline in costs. In fact this year we only went for the package because of excellent flight times.

As far as MW is concerned the old saying 'accountants know the cost of everything but not the value of anything' comes to mind....
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robboj wrote:

As far as MW is concerned the old saying 'accountants know the cost of everything but not the value of anything' comes to mind....


pfft, this has got dodgy salesman all over it Wink
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I don't think MW took this decision lightly, but I also think that if they didn't have the safety net of the surcharge, they would have taken an even more prudent approach ie. I think they took somewhat of a gamble knowing that they were underwritten by their customers.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
This is the first I've seen about MW's decision. Pre season preparations don't leave much time for checking the industry news. Definitely not something to do lightly.

A few observations.

Trading conditions are tough this year. A third year of late snow has hit bookings for early in the season. Christmas is looking like it will be quiet, Premier Neige bookings are virtually none existent and NY bookings have seen more discounting than recent seasons. For the big ops this is likely to hit cashflow and margins. My guess is that MW are in bother and need to gamble with this to push on through.

As a small op the more cynical part of me thinks that part of MW's calculation is what the state of the industry will be next season. I think a combination of factors, not least uncertainty post brexit might make people running smaller chalet ops leave the industry and reduce competition. A reduction in the supply of properties and leave the bigger ops in a position to benefit. If enough small ops leave the market then it might be enough to offset the ill will towards MW this season and help them move forward. All very speculative though and I think short term problems for MW are much more likely to be the issue rather than crystal ball gazing.

On a side note @Jedster suggested that prices in the chalet business are low because of lifestyle businesses and middle class kids playing with a safety net. This isn't our experience. We work in one of the larger ski areas in France and know a lot of the operators round here and this just doesn't ring true. Smaller ops are just as likely to be trying to run as a viable business as any of the bigger tour ops. Smaller ops can be more agile and reduce costs, wastage and to a certain extent overheads to compete with the big boys. Our bookings this season have been healthy, an improvement on last season which I think is a reflection on the fact that we offer a higher level of service than the bigger ops and that we represent a good bet. The idea that the market is saturated by people playing around at doing seasons while actively pricing to make a loss is just not true.

Finally, I do think that the pricing for next season will be interesting. The race to the bottom in terms of discounting and tiny margins feels less and less sustainable. Given that consumers are more and more used to waiting for discounts and deals (something which the industry has been completely complicit in) and that next season is looking likely to be post Article 50 I think things will get very volatile. If the £/€ rate was ripe for an adjustment this summer I'd say that the ski holiday price is due an adjustment too, an adjustment upwards which better reflects the actual costs involved.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
chaletcompanyconfidential wrote:


A few observations.

Trading conditions are tough this year. A third year of late snow has hit bookings for early in the season. Christmas is looking like it will be quiet, Premier Neige bookings are virtually none existent and NY bookings have seen more discounting than recent seasons. For the big ops this is likely to hit cashflow and margins. My guess is that MW are in bother and need to gamble with this to push on through.


A few observations:

1. Trading conditions are always tough at the beginning of the season. Clients leave it later & later to book. A good snowfall & a few pictures on Social media normally sorts this.
2. I visited two MW Hotels last night and they are both full this week. So Premier Neige bookings are looking good.
3. Not sure why you think MW are in bother? They are a large operator with proven experience so they should know what they are doing.
snow conditions
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I think it pretty poor behaviour although I doubt it will impact their business long term as people have pretty short memories.

Given the history of travel businesses going belly up I wouldn't put my holiday money into a non ABTA company although I always tend to book directly.
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@Stewart Woodward

Trading conditions are tougher than the last few years than we have known. I'd suggest that the occupancy in Tignes at this time of year would not necessarily reflect those of resorts at lower altitude.

Maybe suggesting that MW are in bother is dramatic but why would they need to invoke this clause if they didn't need to?
ski holidays
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The comments on their Facebook page suggest that not only have they surcharged someone and asked for payment before Christmas, even though the holiday is already paid for in full, but also that they offered the same person a £100 discount to settle the bill for their holiday early.
ski holidays
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
jedster wrote:
... My whole point is that the "everyone knew it was overvalued" argument is garbage. It may or may not have been absent the brexit vote. ...
Quite. If "everyone knew it was overvalued" they'd have sold it. The truth is that "everyone" knew it was overvalued once the UK voted to leave the market, hence the devaluation.
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holidayloverxx wrote:
@HoneyBunny.if it is in the T&Cs then thats what you agreed to


I think this could be covered by Unfair Contract legislation, but then I am not a lawyer.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Daily mail have picked the story up

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4020864/amp/Fury-ski-giant-slaps-Brexit-surcharge-breaks-Travel-company-passes-rising-costs-caused-falling-pound-customers-50-fee.html?client=safari
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:
... A refund will only be payable if the decrease in our costs exceeds 2% as set out above. Where a refund is due, we will pay you the full amount of the decrease in our costs.

This time last year the exchange rate was something like €1.4 / £. Probably just as much out of line with historical trends, and likely to have been well in excess of the rate used in setting brochure prices.

Does anyone here know of anyone who received a refund last year, from MW or any other TO? Or even at any time? I think it just doesn't happen ...
snow conditions
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
"A Mark Warner spokesman said: ‘We have no further comment to make on surcharging other than to confirm that this is reflected in the cost of holidays on sale now, which are pitched to stimulate demand within the current market.’"
ski holidays
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I would be mad and would look into canceling. Adding on 50 pounds according to the T&C's I could swallow, but not if the same package was being flogged at a price lower than my original price.
ski holidays
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

On a side note @Jedster suggested that prices in the chalet business are low because of lifestyle businesses and middle class kids playing with a safety net. This isn't our experience. We work in one of the larger ski areas in France and know a lot of the operators round here and this just doesn't ring true. Smaller ops are just as likely to be trying to run as a viable business as any of the bigger tour ops. Smaller ops can be more agile and reduce costs, wastage and to a certain extent overheads to compete with the big boys. Our bookings this season have been healthy, an improvement on last season which I think is a reflection on the fact that we offer a higher level of service than the bigger ops and that we represent a good bet. The idea that the market is saturated by people playing around at doing seasons while actively pricing to make a loss is just not true.



Fair enough. I may be out of date. That was the situation explained to me by the CEO of a big chalet operator but that was quite some time ago! But you say yourself that the market ios a bit oversupplied and margins are too thin - who is driving the excess supply?
ski holidays
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@Jedster

*double checks that this is on the anonymous account*

This is very much the view of a small business man.

Excess of supply is down to a few things I think. For small to mid size ops (between 4 - 10+ chalets) the margins are small per chalet but the model is scalable so a couple or small group of founders can make a decent living from the season. 1 to 4 chalet ops can make enough money from the season to live comfortably but some business owners will do something else in the summer to supplement the winter income.

For us we work hard to run the chalets as a business. We won't compromise our service but work hard on controlling our costs making our food budgets go a long way and leveraging our opportunities to increase income in the chalet. This is the only thing we do and while we are small the business supports our small family and has been successful enough for us to buy property out here, though not in resort!

I guess the problem we wrestle with is what being out here is worth. For myself and my wife we are sacrificing earnings to be out here but we don't want to be anywhere else. We have free time, freedom to run a business our way, with our ethics and values and while it's stressful it's also very fulfilling. So if our margins aren't what they might be in terms of monetary value we gain a lot of other value from running businesses here. Our happiness isn't a line on a P & L which is great because happiness isn't taxed (yet).

So if you take the value of being out here year round as being an important piece of the puzzle the flip side of your CEO's opinion is that from a small business perspective it's a the big ops who are driving down price and causing the excess supply. I'd like to think that in general we can charge a small premium for our level of food and service over the "convenience" of a package holiday. Small deli vs Tesco sort of scenario. Would a big op significantly scaling back it's chalet operations locally increase our ability to charge more? I think so but probably not to the extent we'd like. The market decides the price point after all.

Hope that isn't too meandering. Pre season training takes up plenty of brain power.
ski holidays
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stewart woodward wrote:


A few observations.
....
3. Not sure why you think MW are in bother? They are a large operator with proven experience so they should know what they are doing.

Has their financial situation improved from last year, then?
ski holidays
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achilles wrote:

Has their financial situation improved from last year, then?

That's a reflection on 2014 their profit for the year ended Oct 2015 were up to £670,000 on a turnover of £42.3million but still slim pickings at 1.5% of turnover.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
MW get a mention in this mornings Daily Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/mark-warner-joins-long-list-of-operators-asking-for-more-money-surcharge/

Hope the surcharges are worth the negative publicity?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@stewart woodward, beats going into adminsitration through poor cash flow.
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In a freaking nutshell:

"You wouldn't get a phone call from M&S asking for a few quid more for your pyjamas because the cost of cotton has increased, but - as strange as it may sound - holiday firm are allowed to do so."


I emailed MW just to say I wasn't happy (and purely to add to the number of complaints), and got the standard response saying they weren't letting me off the surcharge. I didn't ask them to!
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Whilst I would pay the surcharge, I would be asking for a breakdown of their costs, I believe that you would be entitled to do so.
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Laughing

https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/2387012/holiday-firm-orders-customers-to-pay-50-brexit-surcharge-for-trips-theyve-already-booked-and-paid-for/
ski holidays
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Good evening - MW have hit me with this surcharge and since it is mentioned in their T&C's I would ordinarily (and begrudgingly) pay it. However in this case they invoiced me 30 days before departure which, legally and as stated in their T&C's, they cannot do.
Despite this they are still insisting the surcharge is valid because MW sent out a general email to all clients two days prior to this advising their surcharge clause would be applied to all bookings and they would be in touch 'in due course'. I personally do not feel a general email circular containing no specific info counts as sufficient notification however would appreciate anyone else's opinion on this matter. Any friendly consumer law experts here? Smile

Thanks
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@jonathan22, if you look on there Facebook page, there is somebody from MSE asking people impacted to get in touch with them. They may be able to help!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
jonathan22 wrote:
Good evening - MW have hit me with this surcharge and since it is mentioned in their T&C's I would ordinarily (and begrudgingly) pay it. However in this case they invoiced me 30 days before departure which, legally and as stated in their T&C's, they cannot do.
Despite this they are still insisting the surcharge is valid because MW sent out a general email to all clients two days prior to this advising their surcharge clause would be applied to all bookings and they would be in touch 'in due course'. I personally do not feel a general email circular containing no specific info counts as sufficient notification however would appreciate anyone else's opinion on this matter. Any friendly consumer law experts here? Smile

Thanks


@jonathan22
I would argue that the 30 days is to allow customer time to pay, the 30 days should start from the day you receive the invoice/official request for extra money.

I work for MSE sister company, I will try forward your question to someone who can help. Our you could ask the same question on their forum below.

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/travel/2016/12/mark-warner-surcharge-customers-brexit?purge
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?p=71758636
ski holidays
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Thanks both, most appreciated
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Here is the UK regulation on price increases http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/3288/regulation/11/made

Quote:

Notwithstanding any terms of a contract,
(i)no price increase may be made in a specified period which may not be less than 30 days before the departure date stipulated


I think its fair to argue that the price hasn't increased until you received your invoice. Simple notifying you that the price will be increased is not good enough to satisfy this regulation.

BTW I looked up the EU rules on package holiday, they allow changes within 20 days page 17 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:L:2015:326:FULL&from=EN
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@dklemm thanks that's great, I will be included that info in my next email to MW! Will also be contacting MSE
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
It sounds to me as if they got a new accountant who didn't fully understand or continue with MW's normal hedging and/or pricing requirements/ procedures.
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- and unfortunately 30 days is not " less than 30 days" .....
(Not even " fewer than 30 days " 😱 )
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I'm surprised that people are surprised about this. The plummeting pound makes this sort of thing inevitable.
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queen bodecia wrote:
I'm surprised that people are surprised about this. The plummeting pound makes this sort of thing inevitable.


Will MW make next year's holiday cheaper as the pound rebounds i wonder????
ski holidays
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@nelly0168, not in your lifetime... wink
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@queen bodecia, what is this plummeting pound of which you speak? €1.19 yesterday, seems about average for the past 10 years, I'm not seeing any huge sell off here.
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The issue MW will potentially find is that well researched punters will now think twice about their offers/sales for this season, rightly fearing that any discount will get clawed back.

Ultimately this must be a one off (given they can hardly do it again in Jan) and they must think that their order book is at its max vs the amount of customers travelling within 30days (those exempted).

To be the only company doing it will really be a black mark against them.
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Arctic Roll wrote:
@queen bodecia, what is this plummeting pound of which you speak? €1.19 yesterday, seems about average for the past 10 years, I'm not seeing any huge sell off here.


Agree. It was worse three years ago, difference being that the ski holiday market was healthier and in full swing. No, this MW Brexit excuse feels more like an accounting smokescreen designed to make up for poor sales.
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