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Coronavirus FAQs

Last Updated: Monday 19th July 5:25pm

We understand that you may have some questions or queries you wish to ask before making a booking at the current time or you may have questions about your upcoming booking.

You can find information about individual properties on the property details pages themselves and we have also provided some frequently asked questions below that should help to answer any queries you may have. We hope that this information will be helpful, and it includes the information our agents will be able to give you should you contact us.

This page is kept up to date as frequently as possible, but please accept our apologies for any delays in updating this information following any new government announcements.

Important

Whilst we have tried to summarise our understanding of the various coronavirus rules across England, Scotland and Wales, you cannot assume they are fully accurate or cover every point that may be relevant to you. You should make sure you read the relevant government guidance (both in relation to where you live and where you are travelling to) at the time of booking and also leading up to your departure to ensure you are able to travel and allowed to stay in the property. If you have any concerns that the rules will not allow you to travel or stay in the property as planned, please contact our Customer Services team.

General

As the laws and guidance are being constantly changed by each government, this could affect customers' holidays. It is likely that changes may be announced on the news before we have been made aware of the full details. In these circumstances, our team will work quickly to ensure all options are available to you as soon as possible.

If we believe that your booking has been affected by a government announcement, we will endeavour to contact you via email within 48 hours of the announcement to set out your options.

We will use this page and our website to review and update our position to clearly set out your options and what you need to do. We kindly ask that you wait until we have had chance to email you before contacting us as this will allow our team to act quicker and resolve any questions you have as soon as possible.

If you have not been contacted by our team after 48 hours of an announcement and you believe you have been impacted, please contact our Customer Services team

Throughout the pandemic, and despite the constant changing of restrictions, different regional and national rules and the mix of law and guidance, we have done what we can to balance the interests of our guests and our holiday property owners. We have evolved policies we believe are fair, and which look after all parties involved in such unprecedented circumstances.

Our guiding principles when setting our policies are:

  1. If the guest cannot go on their holiday due to a legal restriction from any of the UK’s governments then a guest will have the option to choose a transfer of their dates, a voucher for the full amount they have paid or a full refund for the amount they have paid.
  2. If a guest chooses not to go on their holiday due to guidance from any of the UK’s governments then they can request a transfer of their dates if they wish, or we will do our best to facilitate a good outcome through one of our other policies. Unfortunately, in the case of government guidance, a full refund may not be possible.

Where possible, we are asking all guests to consider transferring their booking to a later date if they cannot, or do not wish to travel. This will ensure that guests still get the holiday they had intended and the owner of the property also gets the booking they had expected when the cancellation has occurred through no fault of their own, and often at short notice.

If your chosen holiday property is legally unavailable, we will contact you via email. You do not need to contact us until this has happened. Our teams will be unable to help you until we have contacted you.

Guests travelling from different countries may be subject to different laws and guidance within their own country, or at times, different laws or guidance when they enter the UK.

Guests should ensure they have checked the travel restrictions from their own government in their location before deciding to book. Once a booking has been made, it may not be possible to change it in the future should travel laws and regulations between countries change.

The current laws and guidance below are specific to the property’s location.

You should check if there are any further laws and guidance which affect you travelling to the property’s location from your home location.

Coronavirus Rules for accommodation in England - Last Updated 19th July 2021

On the 12th July the Prime Minister announced that all limits on social contact would be removed from the 19th July, therefore, during this time, holidays in accommodation in England can continue as normal.

If there are any further announcements from the government which affect whether holidays can take place, we will keep all affected guests up to date via email (if you have a directly affected booking) or via announcements on this page.

Coronavirus Rules for accommodation in Wales - Last updated 19th July 2021

During this period, self-catering accommodation in Wales is open, but it is only possible to stay in this accommodation if you are travelling as one household (or an extended household), or a maximum of six people from multiple households.

People can form an extended household with up to two other households.  This means that all the people in up to three households can join together to become part of a single household.  There are no restrictions on the total number of people who may form an extended household, as long as it is made up of the original households.  Further information on gathering with other people during this period is available on the government website

If we believe your booking may not be possible due to the restrictions, we will be in contact with you via email to set out your options on how to amend your booking.

If your holiday is due to begin on or after the 7th August, we hope your holiday will be able to go ahead as planned. During this period it is hoped that all limits on social contact can be removed.

If, however, the government extend the restrictions for longer, we will contact you via email to offer all of the relevant options at that time.

The Welsh government have been continuing to review their coronavirus restrictions every three weeks. We expect the next announcement to be on the 30th July 2021.

Coronavirus Rules for accommodation in Scotland - Last updated 19th July 2021

On the 13th July the Scottish First Minister confirmed the country would move to "level 0" on 19th July.

When the country is in level 0, self-catering accommodation in Scotland is open, but it currently would appear it will only possible to stay in this accommodation if you meet the following criteria: 

1. You are travelling as one household (or extended household including support bubble). OR

2. You are travelling as up to four households (or extended households including support bubbles) with up to a maximum of eight people. (Currently we understand that children under 12 will NOT be included in the total count of these households and therefore if some of your party are aged under 12, you will be able to travel as a group larger than 8).

If your holiday is due to begin on or after the 9th August, we hope your holiday will be able to go ahead as planned. During this period it is hoped that all limits on social contact can be removed.

If, however, the government extend the restrictions for longer, we will contact you via email to offer all of the relevant options at that time. 

The latest announcement in Scotland took place on 13th July 2021. We expect the next review date to be before the 9th August. Any customers we believe are affected will be contacted via email as soon as possible following any announcements.

Before you go on holiday and whilst you are at the property - Last updated 19th July 2021

It is best practice and encouraged that every member of a group that enters a hospitality venue should either check in by scanning the official QR code poster with the NHS Covid-19 app or, by providing their contact details at the venue/accommodation. 

To assist in the collection of this information, we will email the lead booker of the group prior to your scheduled arrival day and give you the opportunity to fill in the details of your party prior to the start of your holiday. This information will be emailed direct to the Property Owner once completed and will not be stored by holidaycottages.co.uk. For more information on the collection of this data please see our privacy notice.

If guests are contacted by test and trace or test positive before their holiday is due to begin and this impacts their ability to take the holiday they should contact us immediately and provide evidence of the request to isolate or the positive test. 

Once the guest has contacted us we will be able to discuss your options with you. 

Please note, not contacting us immediately may impact your options and your entitlement to any refund which may otherwise be due. 

We sincerely hope that does not happen. In the event that it does please ensure you follow the appropriate government advice. Please note this may be different depending on the country you are staying in. 

The UK Government guidance for hotels and other guest accommodation in England can be found here

If you are confirmed to have Covid-19, you should return home if you can. 

When contacting the relevant authority, please specifically mention that you are staying in a holiday home. 

If you are advised by test and trace to remain at the property, we will work with the owner to facilitate this as best we can and you will be required to pay the rates due for an additional stay and any other costs that relate to the additional stay.

The safety of our guests, owners, housekeepers and the local communities are of paramount importance to us. Because of this, some of our owners have adapted their arrival times to allow for a new cleaning regime to take place. If this is the case, you will receive this information prior to your stay.

All of our properties are already cleaned to a high standard and in light of the current situation we have been working closely with our property owners to ensure they have been provided with detailed cleaning guidance (using risk assessments and cleaning checklists developed by the Professional Association of Self Caterers), and encouraging owners to implement changeovers and key collections processes that minimise contact. 

You will be provided with your cottage owners contact details in advance of the stay so that you can ask any further specific questions.

Shops, attractions, pubs and other establishments are always subject to changes in their opening times and availability. It is not possible for anyone to predict the availability of such amenities and customers should always check directly with particular businesses if these are crucial to their holiday plans.

We know that customers want to do their best to help the local communities that they are visiting whilst on holiday. That is why we have put together our Responsible Holidays Charter where you can find ideas from us on how to holiday responsibly and sustainably, with additional information in light of coronavirus. You should, of course, always look to follow government and local advice in the areas you are travelling to and from.

Amendments and cancellations of bookings - Last updated 19th July 2021

You can request a transfer of your dates by logging in to your online customer account and selecting the "amend booking" button and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Our Transfer Team will then work to try and arrange this with the owner of the property for you and will be in touch in due course to let you know the outcome. We are working through transfer requests in departure date order, so please do allow for a delay if your request is for a booking further in the future.

While most transfer requests can be approved, there are occasions where in working with the Property Owner this is not possible for various reasons. If this is the case, our team will be in touch to inform you of your new options.

If you have chosen to transfer your booking, you have 24 hours in which to make further changes. Once this period has passed, it is not possible to change the resolution of the booking and the agreed new date will be final. Please contact our Customer Services team if you need to do this.

We are working through any transfer requests in holiday date departure order as quickly as we can. For all transfer requests, we work with the property owner to facilitate this before confirming with the guests.

Due to the high volume of demand for our Customer Services team, we may take a little longer to respond to you than we would normally like. However, you should find out if your transfer request has been successful within 10 working days.

If a government restriction is put in place that may affect some of our customers bookings, we may, at times, ask you to confirm that your party is compliant and legally able to travel (For example, the “rule of 6”).

If you confirm to us that your party is okay to travel (either at the time of booking, or retrospectively for bookings made before government restrictions are put in place), it will then mean you are confirming your party plan to travel with awareness of the current legal position and you will not have the other options available to you unless that legal position changes as those changes mean you can no longer lawfully travel.

Working examples:

  1. A guest with 7 people on their booking who confirm their booking can go ahead due to their party being from one household will not be able to cancel and obtain a full refund closer to the holiday date if they simply change their mind.

  2. A guest with 7 people on their booking who confirm their booking can go ahead due to their party being from one household, but are later subject to different lockdown measures that mean they cannot legally travel will have all of the options available to them again that are relevant to that new legal restriction.

At different times during the easing of lockdown, it is possible that some shared facilities at properties may not be available.

Existing Bookings:
If any changes are made at the property which will affect your stay our team will send you information regarding this as soon as it is available to us. You do not need to contact us to check as we will contact you.

New Bookings:
If you are making a new booking, please ensure you have checked the property’s full description, paying particular attention to the “need to know” section where you will find any information on any shared facilities which may not be available during your stay.

If you wish to cancel your booking, you can do so by logging in to your online customer account. Additional information regarding your specific circumstances will be available to you from within these pages.

Payments and balance collection - Last updated 19th July 2021

You should continue to pay your balance when it is due and you can be safe in the knowledge that if you cannot go on your holiday due to a legal restriction, you will have the option of a full refund. Customers can pay their outstanding balance by logging into their online customer account. Due to the volume of enquiries we are currently receiving, we would appreciate it if all customers could make this payment online.

If you have transferred your booking to a more expensive date at the same property, you will be required to pay the difference in price for the new week. If you have transferred to a less expensive date, the difference will be refunded to you.

Our team are working hard to process all payments as quickly as possible. Any refunds should be paid within 21 working days of the cancellation taking place. However, we are experiencing unprecedented levels of cancellations and therefore your refund may take longer to process.

Insurance - Last updated 1st January 2021

If you have purchased insurance through holidaycottages.co.uk or another of The Travel Chapter brands, your insurance is provided by Towergate. Your insurance documents were provided to you at the time of booking.

If you purchased travel insurance through holidaycottages.co.uk before 17th March 2020, then you should be covered if: you are diagnosed as having coronavirus; you are required to self-isolate; or if you or a member of your household has contracted the illness, provided that the holiday date coincides with the period of self-isolation and you obtain a case reference from NHS111. Please see further information online. Please contact Towergate to discuss your circumstances further.

Policies purchased after Monday 17th March 2020 will not cover claims relating to coronavirus.

If you transfer your booking using our Special Customer Amendments Policy, please note we have been informed that Towergate will allow the policy to be transferred to the amended booking, but that it will not cover any future claim relating to coronavirus.

If you purchased travel insurance through holidaycottages.co.uk from the 1st January 2021, if you or a member of the insured party receives a positive COVID-19 test result from a medically approved COVID-19 test during your holiday, then you will be covered for claims under SECTION 5 - MEDICAL & OTHER EXPENSES, excluding claims for Curtailment.

For policies purchased before 1st January 2020 contact: [email protected]

For policies purchased on or after 1st January 2020 contact: [email protected]

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