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 lockdowns, 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. Overnight stays for the purposes of a holiday are not permitted anywhere in the UK at present.
The government has announced the three-tier system restrictions in England that came into effect on 2 December. If your Sawday’s place is in England, or your guests are travelling from England in the future, whether or not they will be able to stay with you on holiday will depend on the tier for their local area, and where your place is situated. We have recommend 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 your dates rather than cancelling.
There is no reason not to take bookings for dates after the end of any current restrictions.
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. If they are advising not to travel to a region, 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 the UK has a mandatory self-isolation period for those arriving in the UK from abroad. There are exemptions to this self-isolation for people arriving into England from a specific list of countries, via travel corridors. If your place is not on the list of travel corridors, guests will be able to pay for a private test to reduce their period of isolation on return to England. This Test to Release for International Travel scheme runs from 15 December and is for those who need to self-isolate on arrival in England. Under the scheme guests can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test. The earliest you can take the test is at least 5 days after you left a destination not on the travel corridor list. If the result is negative, you can stop self-isolating.
Travel for the purposes of a holiday is currently prohibited across the UK. Wales is currently under its own restrictions affecting travel in or out of the country. The Scottish government also has its own guidelines restricting travel into and out of the country for holidays. Travel for a holiday if you live in or are travelling to Northern Ireland will be affected by their restrictions.
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.