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holiday let bookings and coronavirus

holiday let bookings and coronavirusHoliday homeowners and holiday letting agents alike are understandably concerned about the potential for the disruption which coronavirus (Covid-19) may cause. Boshers have put together a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ’s). Hopefully these will help to clarify the position with respect to holiday let bookings and coronavirus. This includes details on cover provided by our holiday home insurance policy together with wider implications.

Whilst the primary concern for the disruption which coronavirus may cause is loss of income due to cancelled bookings, owners are also concerned about their liability towards guests and cleaning contractors. Hopefully these FAQ’s will help to clarify what is and isn’t covered under your holiday home insurance policy.

Holiday Let Bookings and Coronavirus – Frequently asked questions?

Q1. Does my policy include any cover for loss of rental income if the holiday home is directly affected by a `disease outbreak’?

There is some cover within the policy for loss of income as a result of a `specified disease’. The definition of specified disease specific to the loss of income cover is detailed in the policy wording. You can view the policy wording on our website here: https://www.boshers.co.uk/holiday-home-insurance/

Q2. Is Covid-19 a specified disease for the purpose of the policy wording?

No – In common with most other insurers, Covid-19 is not a specified disease in our policy wording. The extension under the loss of income section of our policy for `specified disease’ is based on a specific list of diseases which does not include new and emerging diseases like Covid-19. 

Q3. What about the fact that Covid-19 has been declared a `notifiable disease’ by the Government? 

Even though the Government has declared Covid-19 as a notifiable disease, this does not change the insurance position under the policy. As the chancellor said, you cannot retrospectively change contracts of insurance at this time without threatening the future of the insurance industry.   

Our holiday home insurance underwriter Ecclesiastical will continue to offer cover for `specified disease’, rather than for ‘notifiable’ or any infectious or contagious disease such as coronavirus. We are sorry that it is not economically viable to provide cover for pandemic viruses such as Covid-19, but with this approach you can be clear on what is and isn’t covered.

Q4. What if guests are prevented from taking up their bookings because they have been quarantined due to coronavirus?

There would not be cover under your policy as this is a booking your guests cannot fulfil. You would need to check your booking cancellation terms and conditions to determine how much refund your guests would be entitled to, if any. It may be that they can claim for the cost of the booking under their travel insurance if they have a policy in force. Travel insurance may cover non-refundable cancellation costs, in specific circumstances. These may include medical advice against your guest or a member of your guests’ group from travelling or government advice against travelling. The ABI have issued some information for travellers here: https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-qa/

Q5. What if guests choose to cancel their holiday because they are disinclined to travel because they are concerned about coronavirus?

In a similar manner to Q4 above, there would not be cover under your policy. This is a booking your guests are choosing not to fulfil. You would need to check your booking cancellation terms to determine how much refund your guests would be entitled to, if any. In this instance the guests’ travel insurance would not cover them as travel insurance is not designed to cover ‘disinclination to travel’ , where the Government advice has not changed to advise against travel.

Q6. What if guests currently staying in the property are forced to stay on because our area comes under quarantine?

There would not be cover under your policy as coronavirus is not a specified disease in our policy wording. In any event, it is unlikely that individuals will be prevented from travelling home at the end of their holiday. If a guest contracts coronavirus whilst on holiday it would be reasonable to expect them to return home to self-isolate.

Q7. How about liability cover?

Subject to the terms and conditions of Boshers Holiday Home Insurance policy, the Employers’ and Public Liability cover provides an indemnity to the policyholder if the policyholder is held legally liable for accidental bodily injury or illness arising in connection with the policyholder’s business of holiday letting.  

Q8. Should I ensure that my holiday home is deep cleaned on changeover day?

You have a duty of care towards any visitors to your holiday home to ensure that it is a safe environment. By taking reasonable steps to make sure that your holiday home is cleaned in accordance with Public Health guidelines, you will be fulfilling your duty of care. The best source of cleaning guidance can be found here:

The situation surrounding coronavirus is developing rapidly. It’s best to regularly check the government’s official guidance which is reviewed daily and updated frequently. If you are already a Boshers Holiday Home Insurance client and need any additional guidance on holiday let bookings and coronavirus by all means give our team a call on 01237 429444 or contact us by email. Equally if you have any holiday letting insurance related questions regarding coronavirus that we haven’t answered above, get in touch and we’ll do our upmost to answer them.

Not a Boshers client yet? We offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. If you need an insurance quote for your holiday let call us on 01237 429444. If we are closed use the quote form and we’ll be in touch during the next business day.

We all know that from time to time accidents happen; perhaps someone spills a glass of wine (hopefully not red!) or smashes a glass fresh from the dishwasher. We can accept those and understand that accidents happen to the best of us. However what if someone were to cause malicious damage to your holiday home? Whether the malicious damage is caused by a paying guest or a trespasser, you’ll be faced with making repairs before your next guests arrive.

Do you know where you stand and what you need to do when it comes to your insurance?

What is malicious damage?

In the insurance industry, the term ‘malicious damage’ generally refers to any damage caused to your property on purpose.  There is a clear distinction between this and ‘accidental damage’, in that the damage caused has to be proven as being deliberate, rather than just an accident (for example spilling wine after tripping or smashing a glass that slipped through the hands).

Check your holiday home insurance policy

As specialists in holiday home insurance, our aim is to always give our policy holders the right cover so that should something happen, you know you’re not going to be left significantly out of pocket.

Malicious damage is covered under our policy as standard but is not by all policies on the market, so if you’re not currently insured with us, it’s worth checking your own documents.

The financial implications of your holiday letting property suffering malicious damage can be far reaching. In addition to repairing the material damage to your buildings and / or contents you may also suffer loss of rental income.

What do you do if you think someone has deliberately damaged your property?

Step 1

The first step to take would be to contact the police as soon as reasonably possible so the incident can be investigated. Take photos of the damage as this will assist your insurers with your claim. You also need to let your insurer know about the incident at this point by reporting the claim. If the damage is significant your insurers will appoint a loss adjuster to help settle your claim and appoint contractors to make repairs.

Step 2

Once your insurer is aware of the incident, it’s important that you forward them all communication and documentation surrounding it as soon as it comes through (including any knowledge of any impending prosecution or enquiry in connection with the event), as well providing them with any further information they request in order to process your claim.

The importance of being proactive

Although we’ve outlined the initial steps to take if you feel that your property has been damaged on purpose, it’s worth reiterating that before ever needing to take these steps, you should make sure you understand your insurance policy and what is covered within it.

If you haven’t already, search your policy document for the term ‘malicious’ to ensure you know what’s covered and what isn’t before you need to rely on it.

For more information on specialist insurance cover for your holiday home please give our experienced team a call on 01237 429444.

*This blog post is only intended as an introduction to malicious damage cover.  Please always refer to your insurance policy to gain a full understanding of your current level of cover.

water damage holiday homes
Worried holiday homeowner calling Plumber While Collecting Water Droplets Leaking From Ceiling At Home

Our advice comes as the Met Office recorded freezing temperatures across much of the UK this week. On Tuesday 19th November Braemar in Scotland saw the lowest temperature recorded so far this autumn, a chilly -9.9°C and parts of the UK have already seen significant snowfall. These weather conditions can cause pipes to freeze and burst causing serious damage and vacant holiday homes are particularly vulnerable if basic precautions are not taken.

As holiday home insurance specialists we are encouraging holiday homeowners to take precautions to prevent water damage by burst pipes.

Whilst most holiday homes are let to guests during much of the year, the weeks either side of the festive period can be less popular. Properties are often empty and therefore more exposed to extreme weather and prone to problems going undetected.

When a severe cold spell swept the UK in 2010, insurers dealt with 3,500 claims for burst pipe damage every day (£1 billion paid out in Nov/Dec alone *ABI).

Mark Lavington, Director at Boshers Ltd explains; “We see more burst pipe and escape of water insurance claims than any other type of claim. The average cost of claims for frozen pipes is £12000. (Claims data 2011-2017 *Ecclesiastical Insurance) Whilst the damage caused can be significant there are several simple steps holiday homeowners can take in order to reduce their risk.”

We have issued guidance including a number of steps you can take in order to reduce the chances of potential damage:

  • Turn off the stopcock and drain the water and heating system; or  
  • Leave the heating on to maintain a temperature throughout your holiday home sufficient to prevent pipes from freezing (above 7°C). Setting your heating thermostat at a low level (15°C) will help maintain a reasonable temperature to prevent frozen pipes.
  • If your holiday home is unoccupied during the winter ensure you turn the water off at the stopcock even if you leave your heating on (where your heating system allows).
  • Arrange for regular checks to be made on the property during any period in which it isn’t occupied by guests.
  • Lag and insulate pipes, boilers and water storage tanks, particularly if exposed to the cold (think about attics and outbuildings).
  • Make sure your heating and water systems are serviced regularly and checked by a professional.
  • Consider installing a leak detection system or automatic stopcock, particularly if you live away from the property.
  • Refer to your holiday home insurance policy for conditions specific to your cover

Damage caused by burst pipes can be significant

Mark added “The damage caused to holiday homes by burst pipes can be significant, potentially leaving the holiday property uninhabitable for a considerable amount of time. Whilst the material damage and loss of rental income may be insured the inconvenience to both holiday homeowners and future guests is best avoided. Being proactive in reacting to potentially severe weather could save owners hassle, expense and disruption.”

For further guidance on holiday home checks ahead of extreme weather please visit: boshers.co.uk/blog/holiday-let-maintenance/essential-low-season-winter-maintenance-tips

Boshers Holiday Home Insurance Policy Conditions

We are always upfront and clear about our holiday home insurance policy conditions but just in case you need reminding, click below to reveal them:

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

 

quality assessments
quality assessments

‘Quality’; it’s something we all strive to achieve and love to enjoy.  In no other area is this truer than in the tourism sector; an abundance of choice combined with online reviews from sites such as TripAdvisor mean that the discerning guest has never been as well informed or full of expectation. 

So how do we communicate ‘quality’ in the face of such fierce competition? Where do people now place their trust in light of so many quality and awards logos?

We take a look at some of the quality assessment schemes for holiday lets and available to holiday homeowners aiming to highlight the efforts they put in to ensuring no stone or bed sheet is left unturned.

Quality in Tourism

Quality in Tourism are a well know independent business offering a wide range of assessment schemes, one of which gauges whether holiday accommodation is ‘Safe, Clean and Legal’. 

Whilst guests may expect the properties they stay in to be safe, the emergence of second room renters or the ‘sharing economy’ has meant that this isn’t always the case; it may surprise you to know that Airbnb’s own terms and conditions state that “Airbnb has no control over and does not guarantee the existence, quality, safety suitability or legality of any listing”. 

When you take into account there’s an estimated 100,000 Airbnb listings across the UK it’s never been more important to highlight that you are safe and meeting all legal legislation for your guests.

For more information please visit:

THE AA | Visit England | Visit Wales | Visit Scotland | Discover NI

All of the national tourism bodies across the UK now access holiday accommodation to the same criteria, providing potential guests with a perfect and easy to understand and compare the quality of properties they’re considering.  Each property is awarded with a rating from one to five stars, with the number of stars reflecting the facilities and overall quality of experience provided to guests.

Just like Quality in Tourism, Visit England offer a scheme that provides guests with confirmation that your property is safe, clean and legally compliant – you can find more information on this entry level scheme here:

You can also undertake their full self-catering assessment scheme which looks not only at your compliance and safety, but also your facilities, guest experience and a whole host of other factors. You can find more information on the self-catering scheme and information on how to apply here:

If your holiday cottage is in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, then you are able to apply and work through the similar assessment criteria via these links:

A trusted letting agent

Aside from the traditional quality assurance schemes, working with a trusted and experienced holiday letting agent in your area is another great way to communicate your quality self-catering accommodation.  More and more letting agents are beginning to conduct their own quality schemes and many are signing up to The Holiday Home Industry Code Of Practice, meaning they’ll only list your property once you meet all of their exacting standards. You’ll of course also benefit from their extra local knowledge and additional marketing reach too….

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

prevent bed bugs
prevent bed bugs

In the UK it’s fair to say that the majority of us don’t really get along with bugs or insects, so it’s also reasonable to add that we’d definitely not feel too comfortable with the idea of thousands of them being in our bed!

Unfortunately, that prospect is becoming more and more likely with a rise in bed bugs now starting to take hold in most parts of the country.  Whilst their name and popular opinion may suggest you’ll only find these critters in your bed, they’re actually happy to live in any area of the home that you spend plenty of time in. 

The reason?

They like humans as our skin is more exposed than our pets, meaning an easy and quick meal!

If you’re therefore thinking about the environment a bed bug could and would thrive in you’d be looking for somewhere that has a lot of people spending a lot of time.  Aside from our own homes, holiday cottages provide the perfect breeding ground for the bed bug, so here’s how you can prevent bed bugs in your holiday let and stop these creatures calling your holiday home their own.

De-clutter to reduce nesting spots

Bed bugs thrive in small places, nooks and crannies, so ensur that there’s as little clutter as possible for them to live and breed.  If they do begin breeding the average female is able to lay as many as 500 eggs in a lifetime.

Hoover the mattress on a regular basis

We wash and change the linen, but one thing we might not do quite as often is hoover the mattress.  Be sure to get into any lips or seams that the mattress has – as we’ve mentioned above, these smaller areas can be the ideal breeding ground for a bed bug.

Use protective covers on your mattresses and divan base

You can stop bed bugs infecting your bed by encasing your mattress and divan bed base in a plastic protective cover.  While you may already have a protective cover on your holiday home mattresses, adding one to your divan bed base will eliminate any additional hiding places.

Reduce the average age of your mattresses

The longer the mattress is there, the longer it has to become a playground for bed bugs. Replacing mattresses can be an expensive business, but once bed bugs have gotten into your bed, it’s extremely difficult to tell how many are in there, figure out exactly where they are, and get them out.

Vacuum carpets and rugs

If we’re working on the basis that a bed bug loves a small space to hide in then rugs and carpets are a dream for any wanting to take up residence in your holiday home.  Make sure you’re hoovering these on at least a weekly or more regular basis.

Using essential oils to prevent bed bugs

We might not like bugs, but it turns out that bugs don’t like essential oils! There are a number of scents that can repel bed bugs which include cinnamon, lemongrass, clove, peppermint, lavender, thyme, tea tree, and eucalyptus.  Add 6-10 drops of pure essential oil to a small spray bottle filled with ¼ cup of water and spray it around your holiday home.  Adding a few drops to a washing cycle has also been proven to help.

Conclusion

Don’t wait until you have a problem; the most effective treatment of bed bugs is to prevent them from arriving and breeding in your holiday home, so always make sure you’re taking the right action to stop that from ever happening.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

bed bugs

No matter if you’re at home or on holiday, your bedroom should be a safe haven. Somewhere you can relax and recuperate after a long day at the beach, with the kids or simply going about your daily tasks.  Imagine how comfortable you’d feel if you knew that as soon as you slipped between your sheets, ready to enjoy some well-deserved shut-eye, you’d be surrounded by thousands of bugs eager to bite!

Let us introduce you to the ever-growing problem of bed bugs!

What exactly are bed bugs?

We’ve all heard of them, but contrary to their name and popular opinion, you won’t just find these little critters in your bed! They are often found in areas that people spend prolonged periods of time.  The sofa, aeroplanes and hotels or holiday homes are all potential destinations for a bed bug. 

Whilst they’re innocuous in size, the squeamish part of the bed bug comes from its diet.  They’re able to feed on the blood of any warm-blooded animal but have a particular liking for humans as we’re not quite a furry as the cats and dogs you’ll find in 44% of British homes.

When it’s time for dinner they inject the skin with their saliva in order to keep the blood from clotting, before adding anaesthetic to prevent the host from feeling the bite and moving.  All very well planned out!

The growth in bed bugs and the problems it poses

Unfortunately, there has been a massive growth in global bed bug levels since 2006, due in part to the fact that a female bug is able to lay as many as 500 eggs in a lifetime, but also because of increases in air travel and tourism which have made it easier for them to reach far flung places with relative ease.

British Airways reported problems in 2017 when passengers on a long-haul flight became infested by the bugs, with cabin crew refusing to work on the aeroplane causing a number of cancellations at the time.

Another reason we’ve experienced such a peak in numbers is also due to the use of insecticides. Continued usage within our homes has meant that they’ve been increasingly resistant to chemical treatments and we have instead created a type of ‘super bed bug’, unaffected by many more things than the original.

The sectors most effected by bed bugs

It’s not surprising that holiday homes, hotels and other tourism accommodation providers are often bearing the brunt of an increase in the population of bed bugs.  A high turnover of people throughout the year combined with many hours spent in a property can lead to something of a perfect storm for an infestation.  The key to success in term of dealing with bed bugs is early identification or even better, preventative measures. 

You can find out more about what you can do to avoid bed bugs becoming a part of your holiday home here:

The holiday home insurance implications

Some individuals have made personal injury insurance claims as the result of bed bug bites, with package holiday providers Tui and Thomas Cook both seeing a rise in claims. Although bites are usually painless, they will often cause skin irritation and inflammation, as well as severe itching, and produce an allergic reaction in some unlucky victims or children. Compensation has also been sought for associated losses, such as the enjoyment of the holiday itself which can increase the level of any claim. The best policy here is to prevent the issue before it arises by undertaking as many preventative procedures within your maintenance and cleaning policies, particularly in a time when negative online reviews can spread as quickly as those bed bugs.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

holiday letting terms and conditions
holiday letting terms and conditions

A new campaign led by The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is highlighting the importance of being open and transparent with your guests when it comes to your holiday letting terms and conditions. 

The initiative, named ‘Small Print, Big Difference,’ is encouraging holiday home owners to ‘check in’ on their small print to ensure it’s fair to guests that have cause to unexpectedly cancel their holiday after booking, and is backed by a number of leading players within the industry including ABTA, The Travel Association, UKHospitality and Specialist Travel Association (AITO).

Are your terms and conditions ‘fair’?

The UK spent an estimated £81 billion on travel and holidays in 2018 alone, with the average family spending up to £3,000 to enjoy a range of destinations across the world and closer to home.  The thought of having to cancel a holiday, whether through ill health, bereavement or circumstances outside of your control, and subsequent loss of a deposit or cancellation fee, can therefore be an expensive one.

However, on the part of the holiday homeowner, if you’ve taken a booking and perhaps lost other bookings in order to honour that reservation, you are equally left with the prospect of having to fill that cottage, sometimes with very little or no notice, or be left significantly out of pocket.

It would seem in this scenario there are really no winners; the guest doesn’t get to enjoy your cottage and potentially loses a sum of money, whilst you are left frantically trying to re-book or face losing out on potential rental income.

The answer therefore lays in finding a ‘reasonable’ and ‘fair’ solution for all involved.

What is legally reasonable and fair?

Under consumer law, a business may be entitled to ask customers to pay a cancellation fee in order to cover any potential losses.  With that in mind, how much should, or could you be asking guests for if they need to cancel a booking?

The key is that the figure must be seen as proportionate to what you are losing. 

For example, if you were to ask for the full sum of their holiday and you then had time to re-book for the cancelled period, this would be seen as unreasonable. 

On the other hand, if you incurred costs in advertising and administrative time in order to re-book for the cancelled period, then asking for some of this to be covered would be more fair and reasonable if clearly communicated and stated within your terms and conditions.

How about non-refundable deposits?

If you include a blanket “non-refundable deposit” demand or cancellation fee in your terms and conditions then this could be an unfair contract, not legally binding, and unenforceable if that figure doesn’t correlate to your potential losses – even if the customer has signed it.

What do guests currently expect?

A recent survey conducted by CMA found that:

  • 89% felt they should get all, or most, of their money back if they cancel and the business re-sells their booking.
  • 85% felt that it’s unfair if they have to pay part of the cost of a booking when they cancel
  • 66% felt that travel and holiday businesses do not always make it as easy to cancel a booking as they should
  • of the people with experience of cancelling a booking, 1 in 5 felt that they had been treated unfairly

The key to fair conditions

When it comes to the law, the key is to ensure that any figure you request on cancellation correlates to the potential loss. However, at the heart of good customer service is great communication, so always make sure that your holiday letting terms and conditions are not only fair, but that your guests have seen them, read them, understand them and have easy access to them at every point of their booking with you.

For more information on the ‘Small Print, Big Difference’ campaign please visit: https://fairterms.campaign.gov.uk/

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444.

welcome hamper

welcome hamper

The start of any holiday is an exciting feeling; you’ve got your out of office on, you’ve packed your car and you’re on the road heading to an idyllic holiday home. First impressions are everything, so what better way to greet your guests on arrival than the smell of the contents from your sumptuous welcome hamper wafting in the air?

It’s something more and more holiday cottages are offering, so what does make a great welcome hamper? What should you be considering when carefully crafting yours?

Is it OK to include alcoholic drinks in a welcome hamper?

A welcome hamper needn’t contain alcohol, as tempting as it may seem to slip in a tipple for your guests. Before you do be aware that there are licensing implications to consider, which we covered in an earlier article that can be found here:

Know your area

It’s always important to remember that your cottage is more than just a place to stay; the local area, the restaurants, the attractions and the food and drink suppliers are all part of the ‘destination’ that draws people in.

So why not give them a slice of this? Packing your hamper with great local produce makes sense; it supports local businesses, it makes your welcome more personable and will ultimately be more special than any generic offering.

Quality not quantity

As with many things, the key to a good welcome hamper is quality not quantity. Even leaving a fresh pint of local milk in the fridge and a few tea bags near the kettle will have a positive impact on your guests after a long journey.

Know your market

Hampers are often associated with food and drink but it needn’t stop there. Who is it that stays in your holiday cottage? If you’re the finest accommodation around for families, consider including something for the children.  Whether it’s a colouring book or board game, when the rain comes (which it often will with the great British weather!) the parents will be glad of the distraction, and thanking you for not providing sugary sweets!

Understanding allergens

If you’re offering food or drink you’ll need to bear in mind that approximately 2% of the population have some sort of food allergy, so the chances are that during the course of a busy summer you’ll be welcoming someone that may be intolerant to something within your hamper.

You may have noticed in recent years that restaurants and eateries are now required to list the allergens contained within their offerings on their menus and other promotional literature.  Communication is the key here; if the cookies from the local bakery contain peanut or gluten then you need to make this clear to guests.

Whilst nut and gluten are two of the better known allergies, there are several more that are common within Britain including:

  • Cereals (which includes gluten).
  • Crustaceans, for example prawns
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Soybeans
  • Milk and other dairy produce
  • Mustard
  • Celery
  • Sesame
  • Sulphur dioxide (a food preservative sometimes found in dried fruit).

NB This list is not exhaustive and is only an indicator of some of the most commonly found allergens in the UK.

It’s important to have dialogue with your suppliers and ensure that they provide you with all of the allergen information you need to give to your guests; they shouldn’t be left in any doubt as to what’s in your hamper.

Offering your own produce

When selling a house, there’s always been an old adage that the smell of home baked bread in the air as potential buyers walk through is a sure fire way to seal the sale. So how about adding that feel to your holiday home with some freshly baked scones?

If you’ve got the time and the culinary skills to cut the mustard, you’ll need to adhere to all food hygiene requirements – you can find an outline of those in our previous article:

Insurance implications

To avoid gaps in cover ensure that your holiday home insurance includes both public and products liability. Check that your policy includes cover which extends to holiday letting to paying guests.

This is just an overview for holiday homeowners on welcome hampers in holiday homes. If you have any tips or suggestions please leave them in the comments box below.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK including public and products liability cover for holiday letting. For information on how specialist insurance can help protect your holiday home business, give us a call on 01237 429444.

reducing single-use plastic

reducing single-use plastic The BBC documentary series Blue Planet and several other high profile media campaigns have recently shed a considerable amount of focus onto the topic of single-use plastic and recycling.

As tourism businesses and holiday homes are often located in some of the most outstanding and naturally beautiful places on the planet, how can we contribute to maintaining what’s around us and ensure we preserve the environment in which we live so that people can continue to enjoy it a long time into the future?

Single-use plastic – the statistics:

  • There are approximately 500 billion plastic bags used worldwide each year.
  • 50% of plastics are only used once before being thrown away.
  • It can take between 20 – 1,000 years for a plastic bag to break up into small pieces.
  • Every year 6.4 million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean – the equivalent of 3,200 kilometres of waste disposal lorries full with waste.
  • If you joined all of the plastic bags in the ocean it would be long enough to circumnavigate the globe 4,200 times.
  • Approximately 1 million sea birds die every year due to plastic in the sea.

So what can you do as a holiday homeowner?

Offering your guests reusable bottles…

Globally humans buy a million plastic bottles per minute; 91% of these are not recycled. Providing your guests with reusable bottles will make a real difference over a week’s stay. They can even be branded with your logo at a reasonably low cost.

Say no to plastic straws

Single-use plastic straws are bad news for our oceans; they’re dangerous for sea wildlife and just like a plastic bag, take many, many years to break down. By removing any from your holiday home you’ll be doing your bit to reduce the waste going into our seas.

Consider providing guests a bag for life

Since the plastic bag charge was introduced in England, there’s been a dramatic 85% drop in their use. This has led to a distinct change in the way people think and behave; a bag for life is certainly now no longer something for the minority. However, with so much to pack and think about when on holiday, some of your guests might leave their resuable bag at home. Thus increasing the chance of using single-use plastic carrier bags to fetch their daily items from the shops. Have you considered offering a non-plastic bag for life to your guests? Just like your reusable bottle this can be branded if you wish, and will stay with your guest a long time after they leave.

Avoid Microbeads

The good news is that microbeads, which are made from plastic and commonly found in cosmetic and personal care products, should now not be used, furthermore a full ban on their sale is due to come into force from July this year. If you provide your guests with face scrubs and other toiletries be sure to remove any with microbeads from your cottage, and always check that what you’re buying is environmentally responsible.

#2MinuteBeachClean

The #2minutebeachclean initiative encourages all of us to visit our local beach and clear some of the plastic waste. The hashtag, which has grown immensely since its inception in 2014 is now used around the world.

For more information about the two minute beach clean and how to get involved please read our earlier article:

This is just an overview of how holiday homeowners can reduce the single-use plastic used in holiday homes. If you have any tips or suggestions please leave them in the comments box below.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For information on how specialist insurance can help protect your holiday home business, give us a call on 01237 429444.

 

 

Accessibility Guides

Accessibility GuidesMost holiday homeowners will be familiar with the traditional ‘Access Statement’. However often this is a cold document outlining all of the specific accessibility features your property has. Visit Britain has now introduced Accessibility Guides to help improve the format of the documents being produced. This is with a view to making them more informative for those reading and digesting their contents.

There are an estimated 13.3 million disabled people in the UK (one in five), therefore the need to help potential guests understand whether your holiday cottage is suitable for their needs has never been greater.

The key to all of this is helping those searching for self-catering accommodation to quickly and easily understand whether your cottage has all of the features they need in order to fully enjoy their holiday.

This won’t just apply to wheelchair users; it could be any criteria that would affect the requirements someone has from your property. Whether that be through a physical disability, hearing loss, having a young family or being elderly. They will all have different needs that some cottages will be able to cater for better meet than others.

The reasons for having Accessibility Guides for each and every holiday home

Let’s take a look at the benefits of having one of Visit Britain’s Accessibility Guides.

  1. Complying with the Equality Act 2010

As a holiday homeowner welcoming paying guests you’ll need to be familiar with, and comply with the Equality Act 2010. If you’re not sure about the Act and what it means for you, then please do take a look at our earlier blog post here:

A key part of the Act is for you to make reasonable adjustments to your holiday home and your business practices in order for it to be easier for disabled guests to use. An Accessibility Guide can be a central axis in fulfilling this requirement by explaining who your property is suitable for and outlining how it meets their requirements.

  1. Providing essential information for people with accessibility requirements

Every person searching for their perfect property has a unique set of requirements. The extent to which your cottage meets a potential guests accessibility needs will go a long way to deciding whether they stay at your property. Failing to communicate the benefits of your accommodation may mean they book another that appears to better fulfills their needs. On the other hand failing to communicate the many steps on the approach to your property or those steep stairs could have a worse outcome. You don’t want people booking your holiday home if it’s unsuitable for their needs. With this in mind, having the most effective way of communicating your own accessibility assets and features can lead to greater levels of enquiries, bookings and reduce complaints.

  1. What if someone else does it better?

If your competitors better explain their offering, then it’s more likely they’re going to get the booking as the visitor knows that the property is the ideal fit for their needs. Having an effective accessibility guides can therefore help get you ahead of other holiday cottages with a similar offering.

  1. Quality Assessment Schemes

Having an Accessibility Statement or Guide is a minimum requirement for all participants in National Quality Assessment Schemes such as those run by VisitEngland, VisitWales and VisitScotland. They also add assurance to those searching for properties and in doing so encourage people to stay with you.

How do you go about writing your Accessibility Statement

Writing a document without a structure or previous experience and knowledge can sometimes be a daunting and time-consuming task. The good news is that VisitBritain have put together a template for their new Accessibility Guides. You can use this useful resource to create your own accessibility guides in the form of a webpage. Follow the links below and begin creating yours:

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444.