How To Create A Tour Operator Liability Release Form

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tour operator liability release waiver

No matter what type of action and adventure your company provides its customers with, it’s important to cover your ground legally. There is a certain amount of risk and liability associated with each type of tour and activity, and all tour operators should have their patrons sign liability release forms for protection.

A liability release form protects your business from being held liable in the event of an accident, injury or damage as a result of the tour or activity. It is common for travel-related businesses and tour operators to have their customers sign liability release waivers in order to reduce their business liability and protect their assets.

The following tips can help you create a liability release form for your tour or activity:

1. Pick A Disclaimer

You should start by researching the various types of liability releases and disclaimers that are usable in court. According to Travel Agent Central, there are two main types of disclaimers that can be used by people in the travel industry:

Third party disclaimer

The most common disclaimer used by those in the tourism industry is the third party disclaimer, which states the services that will be provided by the company and informs the customer that the company is not responsible for any loss, theft, damage or personal injury that occurs during a particular tour or activity.

Agent negligence disclaimer

The negligence disclaimer can be more difficult to craft, and often must include other requirements before it can be considered legally valid. It might be best to avoid this type of disclaimer when creating a liability release form.

2. Contact A Lawyer

If you prefer to write your own liability release, contact a lawyer to complete the language for you. A legal professional can consult with you about the various activities you offer and your legal needs as a business.

The National Tour Association recommends that tour operators include an Assumption of Risk and a Liability Release portion of their form:

  • The Assumption of Risk asks the customers to assume personal responsibility for their actions and consequences during the course of an activity.
  • The Liability Release specifically releases liability from the business providing the tours and activities.

While it provides these recommendations, the NTA notes that all tour businesses should have their own legal counsel craft and review their legal documentation and forms.

3. Include Third Party Contractors

Many tour companies use third-party contractors to provide their guests with a particular excursion. If that is the case for your company, contact the third-party supplier about their own liability release forms. You may be able to use their form for your guests.

If you do intend to use the same form as the third party supplier, make sure that all business parties are aware that the forms are being used by your customers. Have legal counsel from both your company and the third party contractor review the form and decide if it is the best choice for your business.

4. Look To Trade Associations

Some trade associations will provide members with liability release form waivers that can be used by members in their businesses.

For instance, the diving trade association PADI offers a liability release form that can be used by any business that offers PADI scuba diving experiences.

The form that is provided by PADI addresses several different issues throughout it:

  • First, it identifies that many different risks that are involved with scuba diving.
  • Then, it asks the participant to acknowledge that the company, its employees, its subsidiaries and the PADI organization are not responsible for any accidents or injuries that result from the experience.
  • After addressing the various risks and asking for acknowledgement of said risks, the participant is asked to sign and date the form before they can participate in a PADI experience.

Knowing that the form you use is a standard set by your industry association will give you (and your customers) more confidence that you haven’t left anything out.

Using your liability release form

A liability release form is an important part of any tour and activity business, as it protects you legally and helps to limit the amount of liability you take on. This can help with your insurance costs and ultimately allow you to increase your profit margin.

It’s important to inform your guests of the liability release form at the time of booking. Remind your customers that they should take the time to read over the form and agree to its terms and conditions before signing the paperwork. This is a legally-binding document, and your patrons should be aware of its significance.

Once you have a liability release crafted for your business, make sure you collect a signed copy from every single customer. This will allow you to relax and enjoy the process of providing your customers with the experience of a lifetime!

For more useful tips for tour operators, be sure to subscribe to our blog. We’ll deliver them straight to your inbox:



tour operator liability release waiver

No matter what type of action and adventure your company provides its customers with, it’s important to cover your ground legally. There is a certain amount of risk and liability associated with each type of tour and activity, and all tour operators should have their patrons sign liability release forms for protection.

A liability release form protects your business from being held liable in the event of an accident, injury or damage as a result of the tour or activity. It is common for travel-related businesses and tour operators to have their customers sign liability release waivers in order to reduce their business liability and protect their assets.

The following tips can help you create a liability release form for your tour or activity:

1. Pick A Disclaimer

You should start by researching the various types of liability releases and disclaimers that are usable in court. According to Travel Agent Central, there are two main types of disclaimers that can be used by people in the travel industry:

Third party disclaimer

The most common disclaimer used by those in the tourism industry is the third party disclaimer, which states the services that will be provided by the company and informs the customer that the company is not responsible for any loss, theft, damage or personal injury that occurs during a particular tour or activity.

Agent negligence disclaimer

The negligence disclaimer can be more difficult to craft, and often must include other requirements before it can be considered legally valid. It might be best to avoid this type of disclaimer when creating a liability release form.

2. Contact A Lawyer

If you prefer to write your own liability release, contact a lawyer to complete the language for you. A legal professional can consult with you about the various activities you offer and your legal needs as a business.

The National Tour Association recommends that tour operators include an Assumption of Risk and a Liability Release portion of their form:

  • The Assumption of Risk asks the customers to assume personal responsibility for their actions and consequences during the course of an activity.
  • The Liability Release specifically releases liability from the business providing the tours and activities.

While it provides these recommendations, the NTA notes that all tour businesses should have their own legal counsel craft and review their legal documentation and forms.

3. Include Third Party Contractors

Many tour companies use third-party contractors to provide their guests with a particular excursion. If that is the case for your company, contact the third-party supplier about their own liability release forms. You may be able to use their form for your guests.

If you do intend to use the same form as the third party supplier, make sure that all business parties are aware that the forms are being used by your customers. Have legal counsel from both your company and the third party contractor review the form and decide if it is the best choice for your business.

4. Look To Trade Associations

Some trade associations will provide members with liability release form waivers that can be used by members in their businesses.

For instance, the diving trade association PADI offers a liability release form that can be used by any business that offers PADI scuba diving experiences.

The form that is provided by PADI addresses several different issues throughout it:

  • First, it identifies that many different risks that are involved with scuba diving.
  • Then, it asks the participant to acknowledge that the company, its employees, its subsidiaries and the PADI organization are not responsible for any accidents or injuries that result from the experience.
  • After addressing the various risks and asking for acknowledgement of said risks, the participant is asked to sign and date the form before they can participate in a PADI experience.

Knowing that the form you use is a standard set by your industry association will give you (and your customers) more confidence that you haven’t left anything out.

Using your liability release form

A liability release form is an important part of any tour and activity business, as it protects you legally and helps to limit the amount of liability you take on. This can help with your insurance costs and ultimately allow you to increase your profit margin.

It’s important to inform your guests of the liability release form at the time of booking. Remind your customers that they should take the time to read over the form and agree to its terms and conditions before signing the paperwork. This is a legally-binding document, and your patrons should be aware of its significance.

Once you have a liability release crafted for your business, make sure you collect a signed copy from every single customer. This will allow you to relax and enjoy the process of providing your customers with the experience of a lifetime!

For more useful tips for tour operators, be sure to subscribe to our blog. We’ll deliver them straight to your inbox:



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4 Comments

  • Hi Christabelle,

    I have a question regarding release of liability.

    I have a tour operating company, very new, and I am setting up a lot of trips for next year.

    When I invoice my customers I include in the terms on the invoice that any payment is acceptance of my liability release form (which is included on each invoice).

    Is this enough for me or should I email them this form separately to have them sign and return?

    I keep copies of each invoice so I presume this is good enough, however, since it is not the essential purpose of the invoice to release myself of any liability (but rather to collect payment), I thought I should ask you.

    Thanks a lot

    • Hey Joseph, It is Niek from Rezdy. I asked around in the office, and I recommend you to ask an expert in your country about this, the situation might be different in different countries. My advice: you want your customers to sign. So the “I didn’t know, or I haven’t read that” argument does not stand. Let me know how you go.

    • Hi Christabelle,

      I have just gone through this process with our lawyer and I was advised to have them sign an individual form for each person, have the parent/guardian for any person under 18 sign a form and file them away for at least 7 years. In the case of persons under the age of 18, it is 7 years from the 18th birthday that you may need to recover the form.

      We are going to be scanning and electronically filling the forms, then archiving the physical forms off-site in long term storage where we know they will be secure and recoverable should we need them. The electronic copy is a reference copy that can be used to demonstrate existence of the original, which we hopefully wont ever need to recall from storage.

      Of course, our legal advise is applicable to only us and applied in NSW, Australia 🙂

      Good Luck.

      Greg

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