It has been an unprecedented few months and we’re sure many of you have questions about bookings – both current and future. While the situation is changing, we will continue to update our FAQ to support you.
Can I take bookings for UK stays?
Government alert levels, advice, restrictions and regulations differ across the UK. You should familiarise yourself with any restrictions that apply to your location, as well as the different government health measures that may impact your guests.
The relaxation of lockdown restrictions in England has been split into four phases, with the first phase having two parts. Full details of the governments phased plan (for England) are available here.
Can guests still go on a UK holiday?
The wellbeing of our guests and owners is the most important thing to us. Where guests are travelling from, and where they are staying and when will all determine whether they can take their holiday as planned. In England, you can find the latest advice and restrictions here.
The UK government outlined the four conditions that need to be met for the continued easing of lockdown restrictions in England.
The relaxation is split into four phases, with the first phase having two parts. Full details of the governments phased plan (for England) are available here.
The specific areas that relate to Sawday’s guests and owners are:
Stage One (8 March)
- two people from different households can meet outside for recreation, which can include “a coffee on a bench” or a picnic
- weddings attended by up to six people can take place in any circumstances
- rules still mean you should stay home and only leave work for essentials, work, exercise or medical appointments
- no household mixing indoors or outdoors unless in a support or childcare bubble
- non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues closed
- pubs and restaurants closed, but takeaway food permitted
- overnight stays away from home for the purpose of a holiday are not allowed.
Stage One (29 March)
- people will be allowed to meet outside within the “rule of six” or with one other household. This will include private gardens
- the stay at home law will end, but people are encouraged to stay local as much as possible.
Stage Two (12 April)
- all shops allowed to open
- restaurants and pub gardens will be allowed to serve customers sitting outdoors, including alcohol
- gyms and spas can open for individuals and households
- UK domestic holidays away from home will be permitted, including self-catering and camping stays for members of the same household
- weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place.
Stage Three (17 May)
- people can meet in groups of 30 outdoors
- six people, or two households, can meet indoors
- pubs, restaurants and hospitality venues can seat customers indoors
- hotels, hostels and B&Bs can re-open
- international travel can resume (subject to traffic light system for returning to England, and to the host countries own restrictions on inbound travel).
Stage Four (no earlier than 21 June)
- all legal limits on social contact to be lifted
- no legal limits on the number of people who can attend life events, including weddings and funerals.
The latest review of Wales lockdown rules means that from 17 May
- all holiday accommodation can open fully
- indoor hospitality can re-open, six people from up to six households (not including children under 11) can book a table
- up to 30 people can take part in organised indoor activities and up to 50 people in organised outdoor activities. This includes wedding receptions and wakes
- international travel will resume.
The Scottish government has published its own Strategic Framework update, which you can find here along with the details of the current tiered restrictions. The intention is for most of Scotland not already at Level 1 to move to Level 1 on 7 June and Level 0 on 28 June, if the data remain supportive and the restrictions in the Levels remain necessary and proportionate.
We have recommended that guests get in touch with you directly to discuss individual terms and policies relating to their stay. Wherever possible we have advised that if a stay cannot go ahead as planned, guests consider changing their dates rather than cancelling.
What do I say to a guest if they want to cancel their stay within the UK?
If a guest needs to cancel a stay, we have recommended they get in contact with you to explore options, including the possibility of rearranging their booked dates. If they are not ready to commit to a future date, you could offer to credit their stay in gift vouchers (if this is something you offer).
What do I do if a guest doesn’t want to reschedule their UK stay?
If a guest does not want to rearrange their UK stay and is asking for a refund, you should recommend they contact their travel insurer to see whether they can claim back the cost of their trip. We’ve made guests aware that we are working with small, independent businesses whose policies in situations like these will vary.
In a widely covered report released by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the watchdog has issued guidance relating to full refunds if the product that the customer bought (specifically mentioning holiday accommodation) couldn’t be delivered. This means guests are now more likely to request refunds and are supported by this CMA guidance.
What do I need to do to re-open for guests?
The UK government released guidance for companies in the ‘visitor economy’ which includes places to stay.
In case you haven’t seen it already, please take a look. You’ll need to familiarise yourself with the guidance and implement where relevant to your place.
Visit Britain has launched the official “Good to Go” mark, in partnership with the Tourism Organisations of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. To receive the mark, you need to supply evidence of a Covid-19 specific risk assessment and the measures you will take to keep customers and staff safe. It’s free to register, and you can do so on the official website.
What if a guest is travelling from overseas where there is a travel ban?
This will be on a case-by-case basis but we would recommend that they follow the current advice of their own government and travel advisories. They will also need to adhere to any appropriate restrictions on entering the UK, dependent on the red, amber or green status of the country they are travelling from. If an official government health measure means they cannot travel, their travel insurance should provide them with a full refund. Alternatively, you can offer gift vouchers to credit their stay or suggest alternative dates.
I have a property in France, Italy, Spain or Portugal and guests from the UK are wanting to cancel. What do I do?
We have told our guests to contact you directly so that you can go through your individual policies with them.
For European bookings we have recommended that guests check the current FCO advice, and to be aware that England has requirements for those entering the country from lists of red, amber and green countries. The Welsh and Scottish administrations have their own guidelines regarding international travel, as does Northern Ireland.
We would recommend that guests check whether they can claim back their holiday via their travel insurance if advised not to travel. Alternatively, you could offer them a date change or credit their stay via gift vouchers so they can book dates further in advance.
Should I take new bookings?
For European owners, we would suggest that you follow your current Government advice about travel into and within your country.
Going forward, we would suggest that all owners set clear T&Cs for guests who make future bookings. Consider outlining what would happen to a booking in the event of local, regional or national lockdown as well as what happens if a guest displays symptoms before or during their stay. We would advise that you try to remain as flexible as possible to encourage guests to book.
How can I get in touch with Sawday’s?
Whilst many of the team are working remotely, we are using cloud technology to transfer telephone calls. As with many cloud services, during periods of increased demand, reliability has been affected. If your call isn’t answered within a few rings, we would encourage you to email your account manager or firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get the relevant member of the team to get in touch with you.