When Should I book my holiday?
We know you are thinking about your summer holidays and we know you have had a year of being "on hold", but what is the right thing to do?
Grant Shapps told us not to book. He was adamant that we should not book, whereas Matt Hancock told us it's ok to book our holidays, so who is right and why?
1. You are worried that everyone will book everything and you will miss out.
2. You are worried that your dates are not flexible and really want this holiday.
3. You know that some room types such as family rooms are scarce and you may miss out
4.What if the event you wanted to go to gets canceled and you no longer need accommodation
5. What is we get covid, another lockdown or the accommodation has to close because of covid
1. You have been locked down, you just need a holiday
2. You know you might not be able to go abroad
3. You just want to meet somewhere with friends and feel a little bit normal
4. You had your vaccine, so why not get away for a bit
5. You would like to attend one of the events on offer
6. You are feeling trapped, lonely and a change of scenery following months of lockdown.
There is always a risk of cancellation during this uncertain time. This is why we have 2 simple options. Advance Purchase and Base Rate. Base rate means that you only need to give us 48hours notice to cancel for free. We do not take any money upfront, we automatically take the money from the card you supplied up to 48 hours prior to your arrival date. We will include breakfast. Advance Purchase means that we take the money on booking, you risk losing the money if you can't stay. If you want breakfast, you will have to pay on the day you would like it.
So why do Matt and Grant have very different opinions?
Grant is worrying that if you book now you could be disappointed. He knows that if lockdown goes on longer than expected or if the tiers have to be re-introduced then you could be risking your money if you have to cancel because you would be breaking the law by taking a holiday. Matt has already booked his holiday, it is a booking in the future and he knows that he can cancel if he needs to. So how can you ensure you can book without penalty as there are so many rates out there to choose from?
So which rates should I look for?
If you see Non-refundable, Advance purchase, or non-flexible or No-frills - you need to avoid this rate at the moment. Where this rate can be attractive because it is lower than other rates, generally you can't change your booking. You are locked into that specific date, you are highly unlikely to get a refund or be able to change your date or room type. Some properties will only let you book this as late as the same day and will have other conditions attached to the cheaper rates such as room only or parking at additional cost. For a Bed and Breakfast, they may offer just Room only and not include breakfast or a larger property might not offer the use of certain facilities like the gym and pool. Accommodation usually offers these rates to you to spread their income over the year, particularly where stays can be very seasonal (for example coastal resorts). Just now, you should avoid this rate plan, as you will lose your money if you need to cancel, unless you are very near your stay date and sure you will not need to cancel
However, retail, standard, Base rate, and Inclusive are usually flexible. You will see the price of these rates are higher because they are less secure for the accommodation and they will usually include the full package that is on offer, for example in a smaller Bed and Breakfast we offer an inclusive breakfast and in a large hotel, they may offer half board and use of the gym and pool included in the rate. Some properties have a policy of a week or several days where you can convert to a non-refundable booking and you can no longer cancel free of charge. For example, we have 48 hours' notice of cancellation on our (directly made) bookings, which helps us to ensure our rooms have time to re-sell rather than go empty particularly during high-profile events like Airbourne and Tennis. This is the perfect time to use this rate plan. Think in terms of the higher rate is like insurance for if you did need to cancel.
So think very carefully before you book any holidays. It is perfectly Okay to book now for summer. Remember you may have to change your plans and you may still be wearing masks, booking your evening meals or pub visits and some things may still be closed.
We have a page on our website https://www.thesheldon.co.uk/covid19/ where you can see what is in place to keep you safe during your stay.
If you are ready to book then go right ahead! When you use the link above and you can take advantage of Instant discounts for bookings arriving from 1st May 2021 onwards. Don't forget, we will send you reminders as your booking nears, giving you time to cancel should you need to.
My next blog is coming soon - How we can keep you safe during your stay