Holidaymakers ‘hedge bets with double bookings’

A flurry of holiday cancellations could be seen this summer as many holidaymakers have been booking a UK holiday for the same dates as an overseas break.

Thanks to low or no deposits, the consumers can cancel one of the trips, depending on the state of travel restrictions closer to departure.

The trend has been highlighted by Avvio, a booking platform for the hospitality sector which provides the software behind 500 of the UK’s top hotels.

It told the BBC that bookings are very high but cancellation rates at the moment are running at just 4%, far below the usual 30% levels.

Chief commercial officer Michael De Jongh said this is because of double-bookings and cancellations would cause problems for hotels, in the same way as multiple restaurant bookings did during the Eat Out To Help Out scheme last summer.

He told the BBC: “There’s a growing trend to book rooms at multiple hotels, with a view to cancelling all but one at the last minute.”

The BBC spoke to the Chambers family who have booked a Norfolk break as well as a holiday in Fuerteventura.

They booked both in case Covid restrictions prevented them from going to the Canary Islands, said the BBC.

“They’re keeping both bookings and hedging their bets a little longer, in the hopes of guaranteed heat, while ensuring themselves a get-away somewhere,” said the report.

The Chambers family told the BBC the will give enough notice for either of their chosen destinations to fill the slot, and the flexible booking they were given means they won’t lose any money.

Earlier this year, Sandra Corkin, owner of Oasis Travel in Northern Ireland, said she was “concerned” about low deposits being offered for high‑end holidays.

Low deposits were stimulating demand for luxury holidays, she said, but highlighted how agents feared that the trade was being exposed to cancellations.

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