Beware of sensational headlines “Holiday makers are losing thousands of pounds through fake holiday destinations”‘ there are some steps you can take to secure your accommodation direct and save money at the same time. Booking direct also means that all of your payment goes to supporting your chosen holiday destination.
3 Ways to Validate Your Holiday Destination
- 1st point of call has to be trip advisor for guest reviews, but use only as a tool, booking through them costs both you the consumer and also the hotel or accommodation provider, through their fees and commissions.
- Google the destination, all legitimate businesses should have a google business page, with photos and contact details.
- Check out your destinations Social Media most businesses will have a facebook page dedicated to the destination, this will include guest reviews and experiences. Twitter accounts dedicated to the location will also give a good feel for the venue, click on the profile and it will tell you when the site was created, also the volume of followers will speak volumes for their credibility. Pinterest users will have dedicated boards for their accommodation. and Youtube is a great place to host virtual tours of the rental properties so look for the venue here too.
There is a growing trend amongst holiday rental sites to highlight the vulnerability to the traveler of making direct payments to the owner, however the reality of their practice behind the scenes does not provide the reassurances it claims.
We run a Family Farm Stay, and are now in our 10th year of trading, during this time we have listed with a number of paid for sites to increase our exposure.
Our prices reflect directly our costs, which include, marketing, heating, electricity, water, cleaning, laundry costs, maintenance, renewals and of course our own costs in providing a Quality Farm Stay Experience. We do not fall into the Vat bracket so fortunately for our guests do not have to add Vat to their stay. So booking direct and paying by bank transfer allows us to reinvest in the site employ and source locally to provide a sustainable future.
Using a 3rd party booking site
As a holiday cottage owner you have choices of how you pay for your listing, you can pay up front a fee of around £700 or chose to pay a commission of between 3 and 30% of your booking. On top of this fee Vat is then charged.
When a payment is made via PayPal or visa there is typically a charge of 2.5-3%
So from a booking of a cottage for a 7 night stay of £895 for 6 persons (£21.31 pp pn)
Holiday cost £895.00
3rd party commission 3% – £26.85
Vat @ 20% – £5.37
Credit card/PayPal @ 3%. -£26.85
Total deductions £59.07
Holiday cost £895.00
3rd party commission 30% – £268.50
Vat @ 20% – £53.70
Credit card/PayPal @ 3%. – £26.85
Total deductions £349.05
In either of the two cases above, at best none of the deductions go to support the local economy of the holiday destination you are enjoying, or in the worst case these costs are added to your stay increasing your holiday to a staggering £1244.05 (£29.62 pp pn). Payments are often held by the agent anything up to a month after your stay.
Safeguards for the traveller
Remember that a 12 month family travel insurance covers you for both overseas and UK holidays.
Check your destination on trip advisor, read between the lines.
Destinations will not get consistent 5 bubble reviews without looking after their guests.
Does your destination have a social media presence in particular a Facebook Business page with reviews, also how long has the page been active?
Is the business listed on google as a business? Can you see photos of the location and its owners? Are they consistent with what you are booking?
If the owners live on site they will be around to help resolve any issues you may have.
The weak pound currently provides great value to overseas guests and domestic travelers alike.
Our view from the Farm Gate
We work hard within our business to provide a quality Farm Stay Experience, our guests can enjoy lambing, feeding of pigs sheep and chickens and the chance to sample sausages, pork and lamb products directly from the Farm. Air rifle shooting is also available so we look to provide simply more than just a place to stay leaving you with fond memories of your stay in Shakespeare’s England.
Shopping locally and making direct payments help small businesses to grow and remain there for future generations.
For more information on our Family Farm Stay Experience please drop by our website: oaksbarnfarm.co.uk