Desperation for a holiday after 18 months of lockdowns in the UK & uncertainty over travel restrictions drives people to think outside the box.
This is how you can make the most out of an opportunity.
Since my interview with Lee Chambers and further discussions over in the Hospitality Community, I wanted to speak about a few things that came up that can help the hospitality industry, particularly as we open our doors for summer and people are keen to travel since lockdowns.
Cancellation policies, deposits & payments in advance.
“I’m so glad I changed my Terms & Conditions on PASC advice: Unless we are back in full lockdown, everyone is on relatively strict terms. They lose their deposit (50%) unless they cancel with 8 weeks notice. We are luxury self-catering – it’s not easy to re-sell at a moment’s notice.” – Sara Buttle
We’ve now had one summer with travel restrictions, local lockdowns and Covid exemptions. Hosts have learned from the last 18 months.
“I don’t get the hate, to be honest. He didn’t choose the terms for hotels. The mad panic to offer ridiculously generous terms are what caused this. It’s naive to give free cancellations for little to no reason right now.” – Nick Palmer.
“I don’t understand why any property owner would offer anything other than a strict cancellation policy. One third deposit and full balance 8 weeks prior to arrival in our case. This is just another malaise initiated by the OTAs.” – Tim Martindale
“I have to agree. Our booking deposit is 20% and full payment 8 weeks out, and that hasn’t changed. I offer free cancellation ONLY IF government restrictions prevent a stay from going ahead, which PASC deem to be one that we wouldn’t be able to argue in court. And that is fair in my view.” – Anna-Maria Nerilli
“Our Terms & Conditions state a 30% deposit, full balance required 8 weeks before arrival and a refund only if a Covid lockdown happens for the guest or for us. We make it very clear, travel insurance is required that covers any illness, including coronavirus.” – Jill Turner
“Anyone providing accommodation for local staycation holidays is an idiot if they do not have full payment at least eight weeks in advance and a strict cancellation policy. All my properties are booked out with this policy.” – Lyn Fawcett.
“Our cancellation policy requires six weeks notice – not a problem so far, except one person last week didn’t like the policy, so they decided not to book. Makes you think, eh?” – Sarah Graber.
A flexible, interesting compromise:
“I’m more or less full booked for July/August (3 holiday lets) – all non-refundable, full payment already taken. If guests want to cancel, that’s their gamble – if their dates are re-let, I refund them minus an admin fee. How much I refund them will depend on the amount I re-let for.” – Tara Lee
And of course, other countries face the same challenges:
“We are based in France and have the same problem. We’ve given our UK bookings the chance to cancel NOW to try and re-let, if they did we offered to refund. Most have said they want to keep their booking until nearer the time. We’re expecting many cancellations at the last minute.” – Claire Ybert
“We’re in Spain and have had to go from a super strict policy to ‘moderate’ where guests can cancel 5 days before. It’s a different market here at the moment. I am getting lots of bookings, but expect a fair amount of cancellations. But this happened summer last year and for every cancellation we pretty much got a last minute booking. It’s just going to be a rollercoaster this year.” – Susan Sprague
I’ve been saying for months that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be put in this position.
We must take a non-refundable deposit or effectively we have zero business on the books.Nicki Hutchman