Hays Travel – the company which rescued Thomas Cook when it went bust – has been ranked the best high street travel agent in the UK for its response to customers during the coronavirus crisis.

More than 1,000 Hays Travel customers rated their experience in Martin Lewis’s MoneySavingExpert.com survey of 53 of the UK’s best-known travel companies including airlines and tour operators.

An overall score of over 70 per cent for a “great” response placed Hays Travel way ahead of all of the big travel and tour operators on the list. Of all of the companies surveyed, only 17 had a net positive score and only two achieved a score of over 56 per cent.

Hays Travel was one of the top two for the way it is looking after customers whose holiday plans are impacted, taking into account not just whether customers had received refunds for cancelled bookings, but their experience, feedback and the communications they’d received.

The survey news comes as Hays Travel trials a new video service where the customer can have one to one advice and see holiday searches on their screen simply by contacting their local branch and booking a time.

John Hays, managing director of Hays Travel, said: “We have been doing everything in our power to make sure our staff and customers are safe first and foremost.

“We have 2,500 people continuing to live our value of excellent customer service and caring for customers even while working from their homes and managing their own family responsibilities too.

“It’s great to know that the efforts made by our staff in these really difficult circumstances for everyone have not gone unappreciated and Irene and I are really proud of them.

“We know there are still challenges every day and we are all working harder than ever to make sure our customers can be refunded or rebook – whatever is best for them.

“We have also offered our Peace of Mind guarantee on holidays where you can cancel or amend free of charge up to six weeks before departure date, which is helping give many people confidence to book their holiday for later this year or 2021.”

Hays Travel was established 40 years ago by John Hays and is jointly owned and run by him and his wife Irene, who is the company chair. The company was the UK’s largest independent travel agent before buying 550 shops and re-employing 2,500 staff when Thomas Cook failed in October 2019.

Martin Lewis, the founder of MSE, the money saving expert website , says: “Sadly, out of the 53 companies rated, only 17 were net positive. But that means they should get even louder plaudits for trying to do it right. They’re struggling, but are protecting customers too, and the likelihood is when this is all over, they’ll come out stronger and with more brand loyalty because of it.”

One Hays Travel customer said: “Hays Travel was fantastic. Full cash refund offered before I even asked for it. Booking included Ryanair flights, so I had expected a problem. Really feel Hays Travel looked after me. Will book with them again.”

Hays Travel regularly wins business and travel industry plaudits and most recently achieved the UK Apprentice Employer of the Year, Best UK Travel Agent and the Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to Work For. More information at www.HaysTravel.co.uk.