Cottages to Castles has halved its 30% deposit requirement for all bookings made through travel agents.

Sales manager Gerry Smith said the offer is valid until February 8 on all self-catering bookings made to Italy and Croatia.

He said the drop in deposit to 15% will not change the current commission levels of 15% for agents and should help customers who may be feeling squeezed financially thanks to the well-publicised global credit crunch.

Smith added: “We are hoping that it will help people to secure that dream villa holiday at a time when, just after the festive period, money is traditionally very tight.

“We also decided to make this initiative available only via the UK travel trade since we enjoy so much support from travel agents and we are delighted to repay them with this gesture.”