Australia-based Excite Holidays, which reportedly laid off a
number of workers just before Christmas, says it has been experiencing “platform
issues” that have affected some bookings.
The undefined nature of the problem and lack of response to
inquiries over the last few weeks has raised questions about whether the
problem could be deeper.
Emails to the company this week have gone unanswered. Phone
calls go onto extended hold, although callers are first greeted with a
“We regret to advise that Excite Holidays is currently
experiencing some platform issues and bookings have been affected,” the
It goes on to say that its team is working to solve the
issue and recommends that agents with clients who may show up for bookings that
have not been paid for should “advise clients to pay the travel provider, keep
the receipts and lodge a service complaint with the next 30 days.”
According to Travel Daily in Australia, some staff received
termination letters just before the holidays, citing Excite’s “severe loss of
revenues and financial loss.”
Travel Daily also reports the company is in talks to sell
all or part of its global operations to Las Vegas-based Bonotel, a North
America inbound tour operator.
In an interview with Travel Weekly Australia on Tuesday,
Excite executive director Nicholas Stavropoulos declined to confirm the report,
saying only that the company was in discussions about a potential business
Stavropoulos also said Excite was still “working around the
clock to assist passengers” after it suffered “system issues” in late December
that affected a number of its bookings and calls.
American travel agent Pat Ogle-Collins of Wizard of Odysseys
in Virginia said that after seeing the
notice of issues on a Facebook page she contacted hotels she had booked through
Excite Holidays and was told the reservations were good but that payment is not
made until after the stay.
To be safe, she said, she has rebooked clients whose
reservations were made through the wholesaler, which has offices around the
Sally Black, founder of the Vacation Kids agency in
Pennsylvania, said a few tours she had booked through Excite were “mysteriously”
canceled over the holidays, but her clients have been notified that
refunds are being processed.
The affected itineraries, she said, were Viator products she
had booked through Excite.
She said she and her clients are waiting and watching for
refunds and, hopefully, more information when her contact at the company
returns from vacation Jan. 13.
“The rest of our Excite bookings are for Presidents Week
and spring break, so we’re holding tight for the moment until we know more,”
According to Travel Daily, Excite Holidays in December 2018 “voluntarily
withdrew” from the Australian Federation of Travel Agents Travel Accreditation
Scheme that protects travelers from losses when companies go under.
Excite Holidays’ web site indicates the company is an
associate member of the United States Tour Operators Association, which has a
similar protection program, but USTOA President and CEO Terry Dale said
Wednesday that the company is no longer an active member.
Jamie Biesiada contributed to this report.