Hatts Travel closure: 89 jobs lost and 1,000 who have booked holidays hit

Hatts Travel closure: 89 jobs lost and 1,000 who have booked holidays hit

Adrian Hillier, of Hatts Travel. The company is to announce at noon today it has ceased trading

Hatts at Foxham, near Chippenham, today. Picture by Diane Vose

Andrew Sheridan, partner at FRP Advisory and joint administrator

Councillor Richard Gamble

First published in News
Last updated
by , Senior reporter

The closure of Hatts Travel means the loss of 89 jobs and 1,000 members of public who have made bookings will be affected.

Based at Foxham, near Chippenham, the family firm has appointed restructuring specialists FRP Advisory as administrators.

FRP Advisory has said in a statement: “The joint administrators are not aware of HQT [Hatts Travel] being a member of ABTA or equivalent travel agent association, nor of the existence of any travel security bond.”

However, Andrew Sheridan, partner at FRP Advisory and joint administrator, said: "It is deeply regrettable and sad for all 
concerned that the majority of Hatts operations should have
to stop trading.

"The businesses simply ran out of cash.

"We are acutely aware of the distress and hardship many holidaymakers and day trippers will be suffering right now particularly as so many of these are of an 'older generation'.

"Our priority right now is to contact and provide dedicated helpline support for those members of the general public who have paid for holidays, day trips and other private hire with Hatts.

"We will ensure that they are advised of their statutory rights under the Consumer Credit Act where, in the first instance, if they have paid by credit or debit card they should make contact with their card providers.”

A helpline has been set up for members of the public affected: 0800 4704633

Hatts has offices and depots in Foxham, near Chippenham, Worton, near Devizes, and Salisbury.

Wiltshire Council confirmed that a park and ride bus service Hatts operates in Salisbury will continue to operate, safeguarding 32 jobs.

Hatts provided coach services for Bath Rugby which are being rearranged, and for Dauntsey’s private school at West Lavington.

Wiltshire Council said schools should not be affected as there will be new coach operators in place by the end of the school holidays.

A council spokeman said: “Following the notification from Hatts Travel Group – which includes Bodman Coaches, Hatts Coaches and Wiltshire Buses – that the company had ceased trading, we have been working hard to minimise the impact on users.

“The company operated buses in several parts of Wiltshire, including the Salisbury park and ride, and we have been able to cover all of these services using alternative operators.

“We recognise there may be some initial disruption to services and we would like to apologise for the inconvenience this may cause.

"We would like to reassure users that we are doing everything we can to provide services and to minimise the impact.”

The spokesman said that bus services that have new providers are being run on an interim basis at least for the next month and then Wiltshire Council will have to retender for the services.

Councillor Richard Gamble, Wiltshire councillor for the Lavingtons and Erlestoke, said: "Contingency arrangements are in place with regard to council-contracted services but I am not sure how private travel bookings will fare.

"Obviously, I am concerned about the staff who are affected and I hope they will all find suitable positions with successor companies in due course."

Have you lost a holiday? Email us at jarmstrong@newswilts.co.uk 

Comments (6)

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12:25pm Fri 25 Jul 14

AndyStevens says...

“The joint administrators are not aware of HQT being a member of ABTA or equivalent travel agent association, nor of the existence of any travel security bond.” Nonsense, the administrators must be aware that all monies paid to Hatts for holidays should be in a secure trust account. From the Hatts website (before it was taken down) "For your Financial Security, all monies paid to Hatts Quality Travel Limited, in advance of your holiday, will be held in our Client Trust Account, in accordance with EC Directive 90314, until after your holiday has taken place.
Hatts Quality Travel Limited Client Trust is ran separately from all other Accounts relating to the Hatts Group. "
“The joint administrators are not aware of HQT [Hatts Travel] being a member of ABTA or equivalent travel agent association, nor of the existence of any travel security bond.” Nonsense, the administrators must be aware that all monies paid to Hatts for holidays should be in a secure trust account. From the Hatts website (before it was taken down) "For your Financial Security, all monies paid to Hatts Quality Travel Limited, in advance of your holiday, will be held in our Client Trust Account, in accordance with EC Directive 90314, until after your holiday has taken place. Hatts Quality Travel Limited Client Trust is ran separately from all other Accounts relating to the Hatts Group. " AndyStevens
  • Score: 5

5:08pm Fri 25 Jul 14

busby1980 says...

I can't believe it survived this long when there are cheaper alternatives like Barnes coaches, the last few years people have cut back on expensives, and have always tried to find the cheaper alternatives, I've had people say getting half a dozen taxis were cheaper than what Hatts wanted, lets hope that not too many people are effected by this poor excuse for a company, especially those that have saved up all year to afford maybe their only break of the year.
I can't believe it survived this long when there are cheaper alternatives like Barnes coaches, the last few years people have cut back on expensives, and have always tried to find the cheaper alternatives, I've had people say getting half a dozen taxis were cheaper than what Hatts wanted, lets hope that not too many people are effected by this poor excuse for a company, especially those that have saved up all year to afford maybe their only break of the year. busby1980
  • Score: -3

12:17am Sat 26 Jul 14

suebaloo says...

I help run a holiday club for children with special needs and unfortunately we had 9 trips booked with Hatts over the next 3 weeks. We were told at 11am today by the administrators that they will be unable to honour our contract with them.......the first trip is on Monday!!!
After a frantic few hours we have been able to find a company that has availability for next week, however they do not have a disabled access coach with a lift.....in fact it appears that there are no other companies locally who have. This has meant that there are now members of our group who cannot go on the trips. Being a self funded charity, we simply cannot afford to hire a second disabled access mini bus.
Hatts have very reliably provided us with transport each summer for our group for many years and its so sad to see such a good company collapse like this. Their staff both in the office and the drivers have always been so helpful and lovely and I really do feel for them.
I help run a holiday club for children with special needs and unfortunately we had 9 trips booked with Hatts over the next 3 weeks. We were told at 11am today by the administrators that they will be unable to honour our contract with them.......the first trip is on Monday!!! After a frantic few hours we have been able to find a company that has availability for next week, however they do not have a disabled access coach with a lift.....in fact it appears that there are no other companies locally who have. This has meant that there are now members of our group who cannot go on the trips. Being a self funded charity, we simply cannot afford to hire a second disabled access mini bus. Hatts have very reliably provided us with transport each summer for our group for many years and its so sad to see such a good company collapse like this. Their staff both in the office and the drivers have always been so helpful and lovely and I really do feel for them. suebaloo
  • Score: 21

4:24pm Sun 27 Jul 14

yoR says...

Well according to their website last year all holidays were insured against the "unlikely" event... copy and paste from web.archive.org

"FINANCIAL FAILURE INSURANCE
In accordance with 'The Package Travel, Package Tours Regulations 1992' all passengers booking with A.C., M.W. & J.E.Hillier t/as Hatts Travel are fully insured for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all monies paid to us, including repatriation if required, arising from the cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements in the unlikely event that A.C. M.W. & J.E. Hillier t/as Hatts Travel become insolvent.

A certificate detailing this cover will be given to each and every passenger as evidence of cover. Please ensure that you have been given the appropriate certificate(s) at the time of booking.

This insurance has been arranged by Towergate Chapman Stevens through HCCI International Insurance Company PLC."
Well according to their website last year all holidays were insured against the "unlikely" event... copy and paste from web.archive.org "FINANCIAL FAILURE INSURANCE In accordance with 'The Package Travel, Package Tours Regulations 1992' all passengers booking with A.C., M.W. & J.E.Hillier t/as Hatts Travel are fully insured for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all monies paid to us, including repatriation if required, arising from the cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements in the unlikely event that A.C. M.W. & J.E. Hillier t/as Hatts Travel become insolvent. A certificate detailing this cover will be given to each and every passenger as evidence of cover. Please ensure that you have been given the appropriate certificate(s) at the time of booking. This insurance has been arranged by Towergate Chapman Stevens through HCCI International Insurance Company PLC." yoR
  • Score: 3

4:29pm Sun 27 Jul 14

yoR says...

They also claimed to be members of ATOL, number 9617.
.
Nothing doing on ATOL web site for that number.
They also claimed to be members of ATOL, number 9617. . Nothing doing on ATOL web site for that number. yoR
  • Score: 2

4:35pm Sun 27 Jul 14

Mouse007 says...

No ABTA, no Trust Accounts, No ATOL, No insurance ?????

Looks like this is more than just unfortuate, something naughty has been going on here me thinks.

Creditors might like to note this is NOT a limited company, so no hiding from any debts.
No ABTA, no Trust Accounts, No ATOL, No insurance ????? Looks like this is more than just unfortuate, something naughty has been going on here me thinks. Creditors might like to note this is NOT a limited company, so no hiding from any debts. Mouse007
  • Score: 3

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