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Ski Beat - the worst ski trip experience ever?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
michael stocking wrote:
Meanwhile Skibeat's reputation erodes by the minute. The Mumsnet article is on page one of Google results if you type in Skibeat.

Irrespective of what happened, companies need to understand that the web offers an almost perfect flow of information. One of the strangest startup trends is in online reputation management companies...
an interesting conundrum for Ski Beat (or any onther company in this situation) - do they or don't they weigh in with their side. Sometimes it really is best to lie doggo rather than bring yet more attention to the matter. Without a Ski Beat intervention this thread will slowly die (but it'll still come up on Google for yonks). We've seen Neilson intervene on this forum before and it just seemed to pile on the agony for them. It's a whole new discipline. I reckon it's just best if companies have this phenomenom in mind before they launch or do anything customer-facing.

On the other side (because there is ALWAYS another side), the poster of the complaint needs to be careful. Some people go completely OTT (not saying the OP in this case has) and it can be viewed as malicious. If such a posting caused genuine financial damage to the company and they sued, the poster and their chosen media might be in bother. If fair an accurate, no problem. If OTT and malicious, then there could be a case IMO.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Snow Joke, My comment was a general one and not pointed at the OP, if that appears so, I did not mean to. rolling eyes
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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?
Bode Swiller, excellent points.
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Oh, come off it now! I am an extremely hard working and conscientious employee of British Airways, and read with interest the number of threads on here slagging BA off. I don't see anyone there being told to 'be careful or risk being sued.'

Ski Beat were given the opportunity many times to explain themselves to us. We asked on numerous occasions for assistance, information and explanations. I am not a serial complainer, but I can honestly say that I felt so riled by our treatment at the hands of a company who had taken many thousands of our pounds that I wanted to vent my frustration. Had they just held their hands up at any point until we got home and said, 'sorry, we messed up in what were admittedly tricky circumstances, here's how we are going to make it up to you,' I would not still be feeling the urge to put across my story.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

On the other side (because there is ALWAYS another side), the poster of the complaint needs to be careful. Some people go completely OTT (not saying the OP in this case has)


pandora, read what was written - this was general advice about being careful and not aimed at you
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Hmmm. I bet you had a really miserable holiday.

I think (I'd like to hope), that once I'd arrived in resort 'd have put it down to experience, and got on with the holiday - in the full and certain knowledge that I was only gonig to upset myself - and was less likely to have my supper spat in...

My travel insurance allows me to abandon my holiday after waiting 24 hours for it to start. Go back to the office, and try again the next week.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Boris, indeedy, and this was good general advice.
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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!
Boredsurfing wrote:
Frosty the Snowman wrote:
I see Skihorse's dig at Wayne has been removed

On here or on Mumsnet? Toofy Grin

Wayne does advertise on snowHeads doesn't he? Toofy Grin


Yes I do but it means nowt -
as you can see I used to be a Mega snowHead
but now downgraded to a mere Super snowHead
Sad

And I don't think it was aimed at me anyway, it mentioned TO's with under 20 staff. During 09 we had an avg of 64 staff.
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pandora wrote:
Oh, come off it now! I am an extremely hard working and conscientious employee of British Airways, and read with interest the number of threads on here slagging BA off. I don't see anyone there being told to 'be careful or risk being sued.'

Ski Beat were given the opportunity many times to explain themselves to us. We asked on numerous occasions for assistance, information and explanations. I am not a serial complainer, but I can honestly say that I felt so riled by our treatment at the hands of a company who had taken many thousands of our pounds that I wanted to vent my frustration. Had they just held their hands up at any point until we got home and said, 'sorry, we messed up in what were admittedly tricky circumstances, here's how we are going to make it up to you,' I would not still be feeling the urge to put across my story.


As Boris said, it was a general point. BA being slagged off is normally accompanied by a global news story and the last thing they'd do is go after a few small individuals no matter how vitriolic they'd been. In the case of a smallish TO however, probably owned and managed by a handful of private individuals, a malicious public attack could genuinely hit the company in the pocket and it might be bad enough that there is significant financial damage. It is unlikely, but folks do need to think twice about whether tackling in private beats going public - I think not. If I were Ski Beat (however much in the wrong) I might just take the view that the complainer's claim can be counter-claimed. The bad publicity has happened so what's to lose? Speak softly, carry a big stick generally works - eg. write to the TO with all the detail, tell them how long they've got to resolve the issue, if they don't or you can't agree hit them with a County Court summons for what you think you have lost financially. They then have the hot potato and will probably see your point of view and be pleased that it isn't public (or they have to spend money to defend it etc). If it's already gone public, they will more likely dig in. The time to go public is at the end if you still are left unsatisfied.
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James the Last wrote:
Hmmm. I bet you had a really miserable holiday.

I think (I'd like to hope), that once I'd arrived in resort 'd have put it down to experience, and got on with the holiday - in the full and certain knowledge that I was only gonig to upset myself - and was less likely to have my supper spat in...

My travel insurance allows me to abandon my holiday after waiting 24 hours for it to start. Go back to the office, and try again the next week.


Not everyone can just go home and re-try for next week, in fact I think only a small minority would be able to. The OP paid handsomely for a service and he and his family were treated like dirt.
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I take it James the last is a millionaire with no children.

A one week ski holiday is the highlight of my families year. If I missed even one day of the holiday I'd be very upset and expect compensation - if a family ski holiday costs in the region of £3000 to £4000 one day's lost holiday amounts to several hundred pounds. You have missed out on the accommodation, meals, 1 day ski school, lift pass etc. if all these have been prebooked. Then there is the time taken off work and not spent in the resort. Furthermore Pandora had a nightmarish coach experience from Italy. I can imagine this would have been no fun with young children.

If ski companies took people's complaints seriously people wouldn't need to come on here to vent. We had a terrible experience with Neilson in Val Thorens once (going back about 10 yrs now). The chalet host didn't pull his weight the whole week, meals were never on time etc. It ruined the whole holiday. They only offered a measly discount off one of their holidays the following year. This was no use as after our bad experience we didn't want to go with them again and after a second bad chalet experience (simply ski) I don't think I'll ever go to a chalet again. I noticed Simply ski ceased to exist shortly after our holiday with them. There were obviously problems there.

I hope the existence of snow heads keeps some of these ski companies on their toes!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
snowymum, agreed 100%
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Quote:

Some people go completely OTT (not saying the OP in this case has)


By it's very nature, forums like this are prone overstatement - whether that is praise for a new piece of gear or criticism of a TO/airline/ski school etc, etc... ( - I'm not saying that there has been overstatement in this case!)

While of course any malicious public attack could be extremely damaging to the TO and could also be legally actionable, there is no suggestion of that here and I for one feel that snowHead is exactly the correct forum for users to update others on their experiences - especially those that were extremely bad or extremely good.

What is wrong with the OP setting out his experience and saying that he would not book another holiday with that TO - yes, it could have financial implications for Ski Beat, but then why should others not know about their poor customer service?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
snowymum wrote:
A one week ski holiday is the highlight of my families year. If I missed even one day of the holiday I'd be very upset and expect compensation


I'm not excusing what Ski Beat did but if you miss one days holiday due to bad weather shutting the airports why should the TO compensate you? My mate missed the Monday in work due to bad weather getting them home so late the same weekend but he is not suing Espirt for that day. Sh*t happens?

Are we turning into Americans and must we sue for everything?
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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:

What is wrong with the OP setting out his experience and saying that he would not book another holiday with that TO

1556garyt, nothing at all. I just think that the OP would cut a better settlement for themselves if they handle it more privately and use the veiled threat of outing.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I believe 'force majeur' will be specifically excluded from claims for compensation . Does anyone have a copy of SKi Beats booking conditions?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Helen Beaumont, Section 9. A waste of time going to court?

http://www.skibeat.co.uk/ski-beat-booking-conditions.asp
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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?
thefatcontroller, appears to be , but IANAL .But bad weather is no excuse for the rudeness of the staff, the lack of information while they were at the airport, or the appalling drive from Milan though. Surely the airline must take some of that responsibility?
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I don't think any legal system will properly compensate you for rudeness or lack of information but perhaps thanks to sites such as snowHead , TO's and other service organisations will realise that the customer does matter and that there are implications for poor service!

pandora, thanks for the post!
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
snowymum wrote:

I hope the existence of snow heads keeps some of these ski companies on their toes!


Whilst i agree that Snowheads is a great resource do not over estimate it. The mods are not above deleting posts criticising commercial members who contribute to the site. As mentioned higher up posts have been deleted before so don't think this place is infallible when it comes to reports & recommendations.
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Helen Beaumont wrote:
thefatcontroller, appears to be , but IANAL .But bad weather is no excuse for the rudeness of the staff, the lack of information while they were at the airport, or the appalling drive from Milan though. Surely the airline must take some of that responsibility?


By the time you fight it who knows what you would win or gain? However hurting them in their pocket with reviews like this can be much more rewarding Toofy Grin
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
thefatcontroller, I wouldn't be bothering to attempt to sue.
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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!
Helen Beaumont, Agreed snowHead
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
snowymum wrote:
I take it James the last is a millionaire with no children.

A one week ski holiday is the highlight of my families year. If I missed even one day of the holiday I'd be very upset and expect compensation - if a family ski holiday costs in the region of £3000 to £4000 one day's lost holiday amounts to several hundred pounds.


Quite. The timings aren't all in OP, but it appears clear that there was a point 24 hours after the flight was due to leave that it hadn't. Cue abandonment of holiday, full refund from insurers.

Go back to the office, cancel time off work, rebook for a week or two later. Surely a full week's ski holiday next month is better than four days this month? Only a millionaire with no children would prefer the latter...


I've never worked anywhere that it would not have been possible to turn up to work and say "I've changed my mind, please let me move my holiday."
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thefatcontroller wrote:
However hurting them in their pocket with reviews like this can be much more rewarding Toofy Grin
Jeremy Clarkson's most critical car review almost ever was on the Toyota Corolla... their sales went up.

The good news for Ski Beat is that most people do not read this stuff or even bother with a quick Google search. Most are real suckers for a deal and will book with almost anyone. Look at how bad a reputation Airtours once had. They still sold 3 million holidays a year and, thanks to Watchdog and newspapers, most of those 3 million would have been aware of the reputation yet they still booked.
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Bode Swiller, As I said previously on this thread, I know someone who went to same place with same company 2 weeks before this persons trip and had a great time and was so impressed that he will re-book. Confused
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
James the Last wrote:

I've never worked anywhere that it would not have been possible to turn up to work and say "I've changed my mind, please let me move my holiday."


Then you have never been a teacher, for one of I am sure many examples


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Mon 18-01-10 17:19; edited 1 time in total
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
James the Last, I would not have been able to turn up at work and say sorry I've changed my mind. For my own holidays, another pharmacist needs to be booked to replace me and their fees paid. I could not have moved the holiday and would have had to spend it at home. Taking it two weeks later is not an option, as I would not have been able to find that replacement pharmacist at such short notice.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
ccl wrote:
James the Last wrote:

I've never worked anywhere that it would not have been possible to turn up to work and say "I've changed my mind, please let me move my holiday."


Then you have never been a teacher, for one of I am sure many examples


My friends, both Bank Managers, have to book their leave in advance and take it.
As does another parent I know - an airline pilot.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
James the last - your workplace sounds very flexible. Most aren't. Normally notice is needed due to deadlines, other people's holiday etc.

How do you know if you abandon your holiday you will get your money back from the insurance company? I doubt the skiiers in question were given any alternative other than to take the flight to milan.

If a group of families are travelling together the chances are it will be very difficult for them to rebook together that season.

When Pandora got on the flight to Milan she wasn't to know that no one would be there to meet the group and there would be whole load of coach problems.

With hindsight it is easy say why not do x, y but at the time it is hard to know what to do for the best.

The fat controller - I don't think it should be necessary for people to sue skiing companies. The ski companies should look after their clients. The reason people book packages as opposed to DIY is for peace of mind. Doesn't sound as though there was much peace of mind on this occasion.

If a customer defaults on a payment I'm sure any ski company will quickly claim interest. However when the ski companies don't fulfill their obligations they are probably slower to act.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

The reason people book packages as opposed to DIY is for peace of mind


Odd cos that's exactly why I go DIY - for peace of mind. But that's been covered in numerous other threads Laughing
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Good point Boris - we also go for DIY these days.
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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?
Boris, me too, there are just too many things outside of my control with a TO package , such as three hour waits at aiports before transfers, 5am departure from resort before a mid afternoon flight, and kids room being a broom cupboard, have been some of the reasons.
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James the Last, OH is a Dentist, the nurse has her holiday the same time. He would not have been able to magic a patient list and a Nurse at the drop of a hat. He would have also had to cancel his list for the alternative week. You view is far too simplistic.
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Shimmy Alcott, My dentist always seems to be on holiday, altough she doesn't work Saturdays either Toofy Grin wink
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snowymum wrote:
James the last - your workplace sounds very flexible. Most aren't. Normally notice is needed due to deadlines, other people's holiday etc.


On the grounds that it wasn't half term, these people weren't teachers. Whilst I happily agree that not all employers will be this flexible, very many are. Whilst taking an extra week's holiday at no notice might be very difficult, the reverse is not so impossible.

Quote:
How do you know if you abandon your holiday you will get your money back from the insurance company? I doubt the skiiers in question were given any alternative other than to take the flight to milan.


You pay for the insurance, it must be worthwhile reading the insurance policy in order to find out what is or isn't covered. Surely it's worth five minutes' reading... and the insurance co will have a helpline you can call whilst sitting at the airport anyway.

Quote:
With hindsight it is easy say why not do x, y but at the time it is hard to know what to do for the best.


That's life. I am sure that the TO would have arranged things differently with hindsight.


The reality is that things happen. Things do not always work according to plan. When they do not, do you burst into tears, go along for a curtailed holiday, or look for an alternative.

Quote:
If a group of families are travelling together the chances are it will be very difficult for them to rebook together that season.


Doubtless, and I feel very sorry for them. But I hope they feel that spending 48 hours in transit was better than spending a week at home. If not then the argument is fairly pointless and they should have abandoned ship.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Shimmy Alcott wrote:
James the Last, OH is a Dentist, the nurse has her holiday the same time. He would not have been able to magic a patient list and a Nurse at the drop of a hat. He would have also had to cancel his list for the alternative week. You view is far too simplistic.


oh, and I forgot to add...as Self Employed we would have lost thousands.
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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!
James the Last, the OP is an airline pilot, I suspect going back to work wouldn't be an option.
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pandora, any sniff of contact from the TO yet? Do keep us updated as I would love to know the outcome - especially for the planks that thought shouting at their clients was the way forward!

I have been witness to an interesting altercation between a TO resort rep and client before and it does leave a very bad impression of all concerned. This one was about refunding the ski-hire fee paid to the rep at the start of the holiday after the ski hire shop waived their charge when they guy bought the skis he hired. There were lots of ins and outs, but what it came down to in the end is that he had been speaking to the wrong person about the refund who was not empowered to return his payment. However, rather than acting calmly and rationally the TO rep got peed off with the clients constant badgering and shouted at him that he wasn't going to get his money back so there was no point in asking him any more.... Client then proceeded to punch him. All this as we were all trying to get on the bus home. It made for some very awkward silences on the long trek from Val T to Geneva.

Lessons to learn? IMHO:
1. Only ever talk to the resort or regional manager about any problems (admittedly it doesn't help if your resort manager is a plank in OP's case!) - they are the only people with any authority - for a small company it is worth taking the phone number of head office and their 24 hour emergency number with you (YSE have it printed on their luggage tags that gets you straight through to the co-owner in resort - that is personal service you'll prob not get in too many places)
2. Always book your ski hire online before you go - unless your TO has offered an amazing deal (although these will usually only cover beginners level skis) and never via the TO if you think you might be buying gear at the end of the week.
3. Always keep your cool, no matter what reaction you get from your TO rep - I know it is hard, but if you are the bigger person you will win out in the end. We all felt a bit of empathy for the guy with the skis until he planted one on the rep!
4. Write everything down as it happens (take photos if appropriate) and complain when you get home, direct to the company who do have the power to provide refunds, compensation etc. and spend your energy enjoying the bits of your holiday you can enjoy
and finally...
5. If you work for a TO, NEVER NEVER NEVER lose your rag with your clients. You are there to make sure your clients enjoy every possible minute of their hard earned holiday, represent your employer - the job title 'rep' might give that away and protect and enhance their reputation. Sometimes things don't go to plan for reasons beyond your control - if you aren't empowered to sort it out to your clients' satisfaction, there is always someone who can - escalate it to your boss rather than raising your clients' blood pressure and possibly getting a shiner.

Rant over!
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6. Organise your own holiday. Then you only have yourself to give a bollocking if it all goes breasts up
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