Agents ‘key in fight against fraudulent holiday rental scams’

Trade partnerships are more important than ever in providing consumers with an additional trusted sales channel against a backdrop of fraudulent holiday villa scams.

Travel agents are being urged to remind customers that booking through Atol and Abta protected companies provides far greater security than booking via independent villa owners.

Villa rental fraud is expected to reach record levels this summer, with a 39% increase in villa fraud across key holiday destinations such as Spain.

Simon Rowland, managing director of specialist accommodation provider Villa Retreats, warned consumers to stay vigilant when booking online.

“Ultimately, the best way to stay safe is to book with a reputable company – whether a specialist agency such as Villa Retreats or a trusted travel agent, one that is Atol and Abta protected, and one that is going to ensure your holiday is the best it can be,” he said.

The heightened level of concern over secure villa bookings makes this partnership even more important than ever, according to the company which hires out the  Casa Amor villa in Majorca to ITV2’s Love Island.

Villa Retreats, which recently announced a merger with Wildfoot Travel, is looking to work with new trade partners.

A white-label site has been created for new trade partners as part of a plan to raise trade sales to 40% within the next 12 months.

Villa Retreats advised reputable companies to ensure that their sites are https encrypted, to ensure customer data is shared securely.

Agents and holiday companies should also have an active profile across social media, where customers can share reviews – which new customers are likely to look at before booking.

Travel retailers should also use this opportunity to encourage more reputable providers to sell via the trade.

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