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Coronavirus FAQs

Last Updated: Friday 16th April 10:53am

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 15th April 2021

If your holiday is due to begin between 12th April and 16th May we hope you should be able to go ahead as planned. However, please note that during this period you are only permitted to stay in the accommodation with your own household (or household and support bubble) and not as part of a multi-household group.

If you made your booking prior to the Prime Minister’s announcement on the 22nd February and we believe it was affected by these household rules we have contacted you via email to set out your options on how to amend your booking. 

Guests who made bookings prior to the 22nd February had until 25th March to make changes to their booking (selecting either a transfer of dates, a voucher for the full amount paid or a full refund). 

If your holiday is due to begin between 17th May and 20th June we hope you should be able to go ahead as planned. However, please note that during this period you should only stay in the accommodation with a maximum of two households (with support bubbles) OR a maximum of 6 people from different households.

If you made your booking prior to the Prime Minister’s announcement on the 22nd February and we believe it was affected by these household rules we have contacted you via email to set out your options on how to amend your booking. 

Guests who made bookings prior to the 22nd February had until 25th March to make changes to their booking (selecting either a transfer of dates, a voucher for the full amount paid or a full refund). 

If your holiday is due to begin on or after the 21st June, 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.

Coronavirus Rules for accommodation in Wales - Last updated 15th April 2021

If your holiday is due to begin between 12th April and 2nd May we hope you should be able to go ahead as planned. However, please note that during this period you are only permitted to stay in the accommodation with your own household (or household and support bubble) and not as part of a multi-household group.

If we believe your booking may not be possible due to the restrictions, we will contact you via email and ask you to select one of the below options.

Important notes: The options to amend your booking from within your customer account will only be available to customers who made their booking before the First Minister’s announcement on the 1st April.

We would appreciate any guests who are impacted by this announcement to resolve their booking as soon as possible in order to give us the best chance to re-let the property if the booking cannot go ahead. 

Your Options

Option 1: Confirm you can travel
If your booking is for a single household, or single household plus support bubble, your holiday should be able to go ahead as planned within the new restrictions.

We have emailed any bookings where we believe there is a potential of multiple households on a booking and if you received one of these emails we’d appreciate it if you could confirm you are able to travel by logging in to your online customer account and selecting the option to "confirm my party can travel" within the "amend booking" section.

Option 2: Amend your party make-up
If your booking is for multiple households, and therefore does not adhere to the new restrictions, you can choose to amend your party make-up to a single household so that you can still go on your holiday on the intended dates.

If you wish to choose this option, you do not need to let us know how you have amended your party, but please let us know this is what you have done by logging in to your online customer account and selecting the option to "confirm my party can travel" within the "amend booking" section.

Option 3: Transfer your booking to a later date
You will be able to transfer your booking to a later date after the lockdown ends if you wish to do so. Select the transfer option from within your online customer account and follow the instructions on the page.

Our team will process this as quickly as we can and get back to you once this is confirmed.

Option 4: Take a voucher for the full amount you have paid
You can opt to take a voucher for the full amount you have paid. If you wish to do this, please select the option from within your online customer account and the voucher will be credited to your account within 24 hours.

Option 5: Cancel your booking for a full refund
If none of the above options are suitable, you will have the option to cancel your booking and receive a refund for the full amount you have paid. You can do this by selecting the option from within your online customer account.

During this period, we hope that it will be possible for holidays to continue as normal. There has been an indication that the Welsh government will introduce the “rule of 6” or rules that permit two households to meet together in holiday accommodation, however this has not yet been confirmed. 

As soon as there is further clarity from the Welsh government on the rules that will be in place from the 3rd May and beyond, we will contact any affected guests within 48 hours of an announcement.

The Welsh government have been continuing to review their coronavirus restrictions every three weeks. We expect the next announcement to be on or around the 22nd or 23rd April 2021.

Coronavirus Rules for accommodation in Scotland - Last updated 15th April 2021

Scotland is currently under lockdown measures that mean holiday accommodation will not re-open until the 26th April at the earliest.

During the period until the 26th April mainland Scotland holiday accommodation will be closed for tourism purposes and will only be open for essential purposes which can be viewed here.

You can see the various protection levels in Scotland and the regions they apply to by visiting the Covid local protection areas information page.

Please see below for the various restrictions that may apply to your booking depending on the dates you have booked for.

If your holiday is due to begin before the 26th April in Scotland you are not able to stay in self-catering accommodation due to the national restrictions, our team will contact you via email within 48 hours of a government announcement. However if you find yourself impacted after 48 hours and you have not heard from us, please contact our Customer Services team.

Your Options

We would ask that if you are affected by the Scottish lockdown you move your booking to a later date if you can. Whilst the holiday may not take place on the date you had originally intended, a transfer of the booking will ensure that you still get the holiday you 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.

All of the options below are available from logging into your online customer account after you have received your email from us and selecting the "amend booking" button against the relevant booking. If you cannot see these options within your account, please contact our Customer Services team.

Option 1: Transfer your booking to a later date
You will be able to transfer your booking to a later date after the lockdown ends if you wish to do so. Select the transfer option from within your online customer account and follow the instructions on the page.

Our team will process this as quickly as possible and get back to you once this is confirmed.

Option 2: Take a voucher for the full amount you have paid
You can opt to take a voucher for the full amount you have paid. If you wish to do this, please select the option from within your online customer account and the voucher will be credited to your account within 24 hours.

Option 3: Cancel your booking for a full refund
If none of the above options are suitable, you will have the option to cancel your booking and receive a refund for the full amount you have paid. You can do this by selecting the option from within your online customer account.

During this period, self-catering accommodation in Scotland is open, but it is only possible to stay in this accommodation if you are travelling as one household (or extended household including support bubble).

Based on the currently available guidance, we believe that travel restrictions should be lifted and it will be possible for guests from other countries to travel to Scotland.

If you made your booking prior to the First Minister’s announcement on the 16th March and we believe it was affected by these household rules we have contacted you via email to set out your options on how to amend your booking. 

Guests who made bookings prior to the 16th March had until 8th April to make changes to their booking (selecting either a transfer of dates, a voucher for the full amount paid or a full refund). 

During this period, self-catering accommodation in Scotland is open, but it is 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 two households (or extended households including support bubbles) with up to a maximum of four 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 4.)

If you made your booking prior to the First Minister’s announcement on the 16th March and we believe it was affected by these household rules we have contacted you via email to set out your options on how to amend your booking. 

Guests who made bookings prior to the 16th March had until 8th April to make changes to their booking (selecting either a transfer of dates, a voucher for the full amount paid or a full refund). 

At the current time the Scottish government believe it is too early to give specific dates for what restrictions will be in place beyond the end of May. However, the continued relaxation of restrictions is expected to continue.

At the time of writing, it is expected that restrictions across Scotland will reduce to level 1 at the beginning of June and to level 0 at the end of June. In these phases up to 6 people from 3 households can stay in self-catering accommodation together based on the currently available guidelines.

As the Scottish government are not currently able to confirm the rules that will be in place, if you currently have a booking which may be affected by the above rules, we will contact you as soon as more information is available to us.

The next review date in Scotland is set to be in April 2021. Any customers we believe are affected will be contacted via email as soon as possible following any announcements.

Amendments and cancellations of bookings

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.

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 your booking is affected we will contact you via email. This email will set out all available options as well as the instructions on how to amend your booking.

If you select the "amend booking" button in your account prior to receiving this email, it is possible that you will not see all of the options available to you.

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 your booking is affected we will contact you via email. This email will set out all available options as well as the instructions on how to amend your booking.

If you select the "amend booking" button in your account prior to receiving this email, it is possible that you will not see all of the options available to you.

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

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.

Before you go on holiday and whilst you are at the property

In line with the test and trace regulations, every member of a group that enters a hospitality venue must either check in by scanning the official NHS QR code poster with the NHS Covid-19 app or, by providing their contact details at the venue/accommodation. You can read more about the requirement to do this here.

The property owner is required by law to collect these details from each member of the party over the age of 16 either prior to, or on arrival at the property.

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.

Please note: As of 15th April, in Scotland it remains only the requirement of the lead booker to supply their contact details. If you have booked a property in Scotland we will therefore not contact you regarding test and trace. If this changes, we will contact you.  

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 owners to ensure they are ready to re-open, including providing 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.

We sincerely hope that does not happen, but in the (hopefully), unlikely event 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. You will see in section 2.2 that if you or a member of your party falls ill at a property, you should self-isolate and request a test. If you are confirmed to have Covid-19, you should return home if you can. When contacting the NHS, please specifically mention that you are staying in a holiday home. If you are advised by NHS 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.

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.

Insurance

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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