Do you know what protection you have if you book a holiday direct with the host? Can the host make changes to your booking such as type of accommodation, facilities or price? I’ve just booked my annual holiday direct but here I explain why you shouldn’t.
There are some definite advantages to booking your holiday direct. For example, if you book directly, the host saves money on any online commission and booking fees. You could end up being quoted a much better price as a result of contacting them to ask for their best rate and you can also negotiate additional benefits such as upgrades and free add-ons.
As a UK Moneyblogger, searching for the best deals is second nature and you can make significant savings by shopping around and booking each element of your holiday separately. There are some great tips here in this pre-pandemic post by Andy Webb about the best way to book last minute holidays along with a look at how to compare DIY vs Package Holidays.
This year I’ve booked to return to Wales with His Lordship and privilegedpup for our annual doggy friendly holiday. In booking our holiday direct, I have committed a number of cardinal consumer rights sins; paid using bank transfer, no terms and conditions attached to reservation and just reliance on flexibility of host should changes need to be made.
In my defence, rightly or wrongly I trust our hosts as we’ve stayed with them several times. As a result, if anything does crop up in the post pandemic world to put paid to our trip then I’m confident that it will be easy to reschedule or obtain a refund. This year’s booking is in the UK so no flights to worry about, has been made for the same price as previous years (no increases) with an addition returner’s discount and payment made by BACS as usual. It’s not much money to lose if the worst comes to the worst so we’re happy to take the hit and book our holiday direct. Are you?
Booking direct does not come without its risks and in such uncertain times, the best protection for trips further afield comes with booking a package holiday with a reputable travel agent. This means that your holiday is covered under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018 accordingly should you need to claim a refund. Pay also by credit card for additional Section 75 protection or debit card for chargeback.
Be aware that you are subject to the Terms and Conditions of your travel provider and should check these carefully especially with regard to amendments, cancellations and refunds.
If changes are made to your booking then the holiday company needs to have specifically stated in their booking conditions that they can make amendments. If they don’t reserve the right to do so, then any change could be deemed as a breach of contract. If they do reserve the right to make changes, then they must follow what their booking conditions say.
In this respect, package holidays have additional protection. The ABTA Code of Conduct states that booking conditions should clearly advise that if a significant alteration is made, the travel company must offer an alternative if available, or a full refund. The company should also offer compensation, unless it’s a force majeure.
It’s worth remembering though that if the change is to accommodation within the same resort and of a similar standard as the accommodation originally booked; it might not be regarded as a significant alteration.
If you have booked directly with your host or tour provide then you will need to liaise with the provider to resolve the issue and claim accordingly via an alternate method if necessary.
In a nutshell, that’s why I chose to book direct and why I think you shouldn’t. Where are you heading to this year? Let me know in the comments?