A rival is jumping on the Thomas Cook pre-booked sunlounger bandwagon by offering to cover the cost in the form of a discount.

Tui-owned Holiday Hypermarket is to counter the ‘sunbed tax’ by providing customers with a discount of £22 – equivalent to the sunbed charge – on bookings to participating hotels and resorts.

The money off deal is valid on bookings at the Sentido Lanzarote Aequara in Lanzarote as well as the Sunprime View Suites & Spa in Gran Canaria until Sunday (February 4).

A survey by the agency of 1,500 people discovered that more than one in five get up earlier than usual to reserve sunbeds while on holiday.

One in four agreed that they would happily pay an additional surcharge to reserve a sunbed while abroad.

One in five of those polled also claimed to have been victims of so-called ‘sunbed stealing’.

Marketing manager Ian Crawford said: “The rush for sunbeds is certainly a controversial topic, as demonstrated by the announcement of so-called ‘sunbed tax’.

“It’ll certainly be interesting to see whether other travel operators follow suit, however in the we’re pleased to help holidaymakers book their perfect sunbed at no extra cost.”

The £22 saving promises to cover the cost of reserving your sunbed of choice prior to travel – a concept that is expected to be added across all Thomas Cook’s branded hotels over the coming months.

Crawford added: “The ability to choose your sunbed in advance and rest safely in the knowledge that it’s yours is sure to be welcomed by many holidaymakers and in the spirit of good value, we’re happy to be able to say that this particular perk is all on us.”