Part of the joy of travel often comes from its unpredictability, like catching the perfect sunset. However, even with the best of planning, there can be less pleasant surprises, like a noisy hotel room or lost luggage. Here are some tips for getting these problems resolved.

Experts agree that it’s best to try to resolve any problems you face on the spot if possible. Hopefully, your complaint will be resolved and you can get on with your trip. And if not, registering your dissatisfaction will be helpful if you decide to pursue your complaint after your return. 

Here are some steps to take:

1: Check your trip documents and confirmations to establish the validity of your complaint.

2: If you have a problem, speak up immediately and bring the matter to the attention to those in charge.

3: Keep notes and include the names of all the people you speak with and the date, time and location of your conversations.

4: Take photos to further document your issue.

5: Customer service is important to the hospitality industry, so your issue will probably resolved quickly to your satisfaction. However, if you've done all you can and feel you are not being taken seriously, it's time to let your travel advisor (if you booked with one) know about your problem,

6: Keep all receipts for any additional expenses (such as moving to another hotel, etc.) to resolve a problem.

7: If your baggage is lost or delayed, immediately file a claim to protect your rights and be sure to obtain and keep a copy of your claim.

After Your Trip

If your complaint isn't resolved, when you return home, we suggest that you again review your travel documents to verify the validity of your claim. Realize that some events, such as bad weather, are beyond the control or responsibility of any company. If you are satisfied that your complaint has merit, write to the firm and provide adequate detail to substantiate your complaint as well as the steps you feel should be taken to rectify the problem. Be realistic in your request and send a copy to your travel advisor.

If your trip was planned by a travel advisor, you also may enlist his/her aid in resolving the issue. Your advisor also will appreciate being advised of your problem so that your experiences can be considered when other clients inquire about this company. Remember, however, that your travel advisor acts as an “advisor,” recommending travel services on behalf of the travel suppliers. He or she will not, in most cases, be the source of these services.

If the problem is with your travel advisor, provide your advisor with a copy of the complaint letter and request the opportunity to discuss the issue. 

We suggest you limit your initial contact to only those parties directly involved in the matter. Ask for a response and allow the firm adequate time to investigate your complaint.

Pursuing Your Complaint

Sometimes your complaint cannot be satisfied by dealing directly with the firm involved or perhaps you cannot get a response to your email or letter. You may wish to contact a Better Business Bureau, a government consumer affairs office, or the ASTA Consumer Affairs Department.

A key function of ASTA’s Consumer Affairs Department is the informal mediation of travel-related complaints on behalf of consumers. Before the Department will become involved in a dispute, it first determines that the complaint meets the following criteria:

1: Your complaint must be a travel-related dispute against a member of ASTA. We can not process a complaint against a non-member travel firm. You may check a firm’s membership status by searching ASTA’s Verify a Member directory. If the firm has represented to you that they are an ASTA member, but you could not find the firm listed in our directory, contact ASTA’s Consumer Affairs Department.

2: Your complaint must be about an issue that is less than six months old.

3: You must first contact the company involved in your complaint directly in writing, allowing the firm an opportunity to resolve the problem.

4: Your complaint must be submitted to ASTA in writing and must include supporting documentation.

Once the above criteria have been met, send a summary of the complaint, including documents which support the claim and the names, addresses and complete contact information for all involved parties to:

Email: [email protected]

Or by regular mail to:

ASTA – American Society of Travel Advisors
Consumer Affairs Department
123 N. Pitt Street, Suite 400
Alexandria, VA 22314

Please note: ASTA’s Consumer Affairs Department provides informal mediation for travel-related disputes only. The Department cannot act as a judge, impose penalties, assess fines, or force a company to issue refunds.

American Society of Travel Advisors

123 N Pitt St, Ste 400, Alexandria, VA 22314 U.S.A.

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