This summer has been a great one for many holiday homeowners and lettings agents; a weak pound has made foreign holidays less thrifty than they once were. When combined with plenty of sunshine many of us have chosen to staycation and enjoy everything Britain has to offer.
There has however been a slightly grey cloud hanging over the industry in recent weeks. Did you hear the announcement of new government regulations surrounding ‘package travel’? Although designed to protect travellers booking flights and hotels online as part of a package, the legislation has further ramifications. Not only large hotel chains but bed and breakfasts and holiday homeowners alike.
Let’s take a look at the legislation, what you potentially need to do and the impact it could have…
The UK’s package travel regulations came into force on 1st July 2018. They aim to provide those booking online greater protection should a business they book with go bust before their stay. They come in response to an estimated 50% of current holiday bookings offering customers no financial protection in these circumstances.
The main clamp down is on something called ‘flight-plus’ packages. This is when a flight departing the UK and accommodation (and sometimes car hire or transfer) are booked at the same time. Or when sold in close proximity to each other but the way in which they are sold means it doesn’t form a ‘package’. Going forward these types of holiday will either no longer exist or alternatively form part of a package or ‘linked travel arrangement’.
Greater protection for the consumer – sounds sensible so far doesn’t it? However, there are some further consequences to these changes…
So what exactly is a ‘linked travel arrangement’?
Visit England indicate that ‘a linked travel arrangement is formed where, on the basis of booking one element, the customer is provided with a targeted offer for another element and takes up that offer within 24 hours. This includes offers where if the customer stays in your accommodation they can take advantage of an offer at another business that they wouldn’t otherwise get.’
An example of this may be where you offer guests 10% off at that great gastro pub down the road, or perhaps you can get them 2 for 1 entry at a local festival or attraction and your guest decide to take advantage within 24 hours of booking with you. It’s important to highlight that you don’t have to benefit financially from the offer for a Linked Travel Arrangement to be formed’. This means as far as the regulations are concerned, even if you don’t get a commission you’re still selling a linked travel arrangement’.
The good news is that the package travel regulations don’t include simply signposting people to local pubs and attractions or making recommendations, so there’s no need to quickly remove these from your website or stop adding value to your visitors by offering them your local knowledge.
Are you are offering discounts or promotions in partnership with other attractions and eateries (as two examples we’ve already used)? If yes, the new regulations mean that you now need insolvency insurance. It’s a criminal offence to sell LTAs without this. Unsure of where you stand in relation to the latest regulations? Please have a read of these government guidance notes to ensure that you’re meeting all of your legislative requirements:
Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Would you like an insurance quote for your holiday letting property? Give us a call on 01237 429444.