The Australian companies that operate travel wholesaler Excite Holidays have been placed into receivership.

Excite Holidays posted on its website Friday that three executives at KPMG have been appointed voluntary administrators of Global Travel Holdings and Excite Holidays.

The collapse of the companies comes just a day after Excite closed its platforms to new bookings.

According to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, voluntary administration is designed to resolve a troubled company’s future direction quickly.

“If it isn’t possible to save the company or its business, the aim is to administer the affairs of the company in a way that results in a better return to creditors than they would have received if the company had instead been placed straight into liquidation,” the ASIC website says.

Excite Holidays, which claimed to offer access to more than 400,000 hotels and apartments and 100,000 activities in more than 150 cities around the globe, reportedly laid off a number of workers just before Christmas. Shortly thereafter, it said it began experiencing “platform issues.”

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, Ogle-Collins said she has rebooked clients whose reservations were made through the wholesaler, which had offices around the globe.

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.

She said she and her clients are waiting and watching for refunds.

According to Australian media reports, 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 was an associate member of the U.S. Tour Operators Association, which has a similar protection program, but USTOA president and CEO Terry Dale said associate members are not part of that program.

In guidance issued to members, ASTA said it continues to monitor developments about Excite Holidays.

There are several options for clients who made deposits on future travel with Excite, according to ASTA. If they used a credit card, they can refuse payment for services not rendered under the Fair Credit Billing Act within 60 days of receiving their billing statement. Additionally, those who purchased travel insurance might have additional recourse, as many policies include financial default coverage.


Jamie Biesiada contributed to this report.


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