For five years now Somewhere2stay.com has sold accommodation-only in the same way that its sister company, Cosmos, has been selling packaged holidays for the past 45 years – totally focused on the consumer and being compliant with all consumer laws.

Somewhere2stay.com has acted as the ‘principal’ from day one. This means the consumer’s contract is with us and we accept full responsibility in the event of a problem. In addition, we take care to ensure all properties comply with health and safety criteria. We have a small army of personnel who check the properties and assist consumers face to face. We man a 24-hour duty office, have customer service staff and also a legal team to handle more serious complaints.

Our main competitors have either prevaricated or ‘ducked’ the issue of agent/principal or told the trade what it wanted to hear while actually trading in the opposite direction.

While there appears to be a consensus on the benefits of booking with a principal, the trade seems to have decided it is just as happy to support our competitors, those acting as agents, because of price. Therefore, we have decided to be the first accommodation-only provider to offer the choice of transacting either as the agent or the principal, which we will launch next month.

We still believe you should be booking with a principal, but the proof of the dynamic packaging pudding will be in the eating.

Stuart Jackson, managing director of Somewhere2stay.com