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  • Are you paying too much for your holiday accommodation?

    Posted on 18th July 2017

    How to Book your Holiday accommodation for the LOWEST Price and get FULL Consumer Protection

     

    Yes you can have both!

     

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    You would think, these days, that finding your holiday accommodation for the cheapest price would be the easiest thing in the world to do. It is, but, only if you don’t fall into the common traps. We’re going to bust the myths and tell you the truth – from inside of the industry.

     

    With all the TV adverts claiming to offer you your hotel or self catering villa at the best price, who can you really trust?  How about their claims of protecting your payments?  How much faith can you put in these claims?  Did you know these so-called price comparison websites often don’t actually show the lowest price?  Only the companies who pay to be listed on the sites are shown!

     

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    How to book your French holiday villa at the lowest price

    Long before Emmanuel Macron became the French president, he was fighting for consumer rights.  Back in 2015 he took on the listing website BookingDotCom, on behalf of consumers…..and won! 

    BookingDotCom, along with other Online Travel Agents (OTA), works by charging the hotel owners, who list with them, a commission for each booking they receive – typically between 15 – 20% of the price of the booking.  Of course it is fair that they should be paid for the service they provide (advertising/convenience etc), if they then left the hotelier free to set their own pricing.  However,  BookingDotCom et al, also insisted that any accommodation listed on their site couldn’t be found anywhere else on or offline cheaper – even the hotel’s own website.  “What”??  I hear you say.

    Step in, Monsieur Macron.  Having taken BookingDotCom through the French courts, a law was passed in FRANCE, in 2015, that forbids BookingDotCom or any OTA, from insisting on the lowest prices on their website.  So be very wary of any listing website that lists multiple properties (in France) with a “book now” button and a “best price guarantee” promise.  They are, at best, breaking the law or deliberately lying!  Even claims such as “no booking fees” doesn’t guarantee that the property can’t be found cheaper by booking direct with the owner.

    So, how does this affect you, the holidaymaker?  All you want to do is book your holiday for the lowest price possible AND have consumer protection.   large holiday homes to rent with private swimming pools

    Simply, this means that the accommodation owner of holiday accommodation in FRANCE is free to publish one rate (a higher one) on BookingDotCom/Trip Advisor etc and a lower rate (their lowest available rates) on their own website!

    So, if you want to save money, you need to book direct with the owner.

     

    10 Steps to find your perfect holiday accommodation (at a reduced price) and how to protect yourself (and your payments)

    1/ Search all the usual places (including the OTAs) to find your dream property.

    2/ Forget the rubbish the TV ads spout about them comparing prices for you – they don’t!  They are paid by the OTAs and these prices (even the lowest prices shown) include commission!!

    3/ Now try and find the property direct (try searching by name or location).  Sometimes the property name is deliberately changed by the listing site, so if that doesn’t work try you may need to search by photograph. 

    4/ To search with a photograph of the accommodation you need to do a “reverse image search”.  Essentially this means that you search the internet for the same photos of the property to see if they appear on any other website.  Brilliant idea!  That way, you will find everywhere that property advertisers regardless of whether its name has been changed. Head to images.google.com.  Copy the image you want to search for and let Google do the hard work.  Voilà!

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    5/ Search through some of the excellent social media groups that special in owner direct accommodation such as the Facebook group “Book Your Holiday Direct with the Owner” https://www.facebook.com/groups/bookholidaysdirect/

    6/ If you do a Google search for, say, “child friendly self catering in France” a top tip is to look from about page 3 onwards.  The first couple of pages are usually taken up with paid adverts from the large listing sites with the big budgets.  Page 3 + is usually the small businesses who do not have the huge advertising budget of the big listing sites, but offer great value accommodation.  Direct!

    7/ Many owners have fully registered businesses in France.  You can do a rudimentary check on this official French website to see if the property is properly registered as a tourist property.  Clearly this is going to give you more protection that a private house that is rented out from time to time.

    8/ Try and find the owners/accommodation online (try searching social media as many will have an active social media presence where previous guests will often interact).

    9/ Phone the owners.  Many live in France either on site or nearby and are delighted to answer your questions, even about seemingly trivial details which may be important for the enjoyment of your holiday.

    10/ Check out the accommodation website.  Many owners have their own websites and the ability to take credit card paymentsThis gives you the best of both worlds – the lowest price and full payment protection.  

     

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    Is Payment Protection via a Credit Card better than Payment Protection through a Listing Site?

    In a word – YES!

    According to Money Saving Expert (moneysavingexpert.com)

    If there’s a third-party payment processor, Section 75 may NOT apply.  Some shoppers are finding credit card firms are rejecting Section 75 claims because the retailer they bought from used a third-party payment-processing firm to collect their payment – and there’s widespread confusion about how these rules apply. Technically there must be a direct link between the debtor (that’s you, the customer), the creditor (the credit card company – eg, American Express, Lloyds, Barclaycard) and the supplier (the retailer selling you the goods or service). If that relationship is deemed to be broken by the involvement of an intermediary or third party, Section 75 protection WON’T apply. Unfortunately though, even the Financial Ombudsman Service – which arbitrates Section 75 disputes – is unable to provide clear guidance on when this happens, leaving shoppers in the dark. 

    What’s NOT covered by Section 75 protection?  Any goods/services purchased through intermediaries or a travel agent.  EEK!

    So, if you book your holiday accommodation online through a OTA website, such as BookingDotCom, TripAdvisor or any of the other myriad of sites promising your traveller protection, beware.  You are likely removing your rights and paying for the privilege!

    However, if you book holiday accommodation, direct from the owner, using your credit card, you have full Section 75 rights.   As long as the accommodation costs at least £100, and you have paid at least partly for the accommodation via your credit card you are covered.  Great news!  large luxury villa sleeps 12 europe

     

    So What is Covered by Section 75 of The Consumer Credit Act?

    So, if you have booked holiday accommodation  DIRECT FROM THE OWNER, that costs at least £100 and you have paid some or all of the amount via a UK credit card you are entitled to Section 75 protection.

    That is to say you have exactly the same rights from the credit provider as from the accommodation supplier.  So, if the product (your holiday accommodation) is not as described or not received, a claim could be made against the credit card company, who would be jointly and severally liable with the accommodation provider.  Full peace of mind for you, the consumer!

     

    Did you know that even TripAdvisor adds a commission cost to you, the guest, for their compulsory “payment protection”?

    Holiday Lettings (the UK arm of) Trip Advisor charges guests a commission.  They cunningly call it “TripAdvisor Payment Protection” which states:

    Payment Protection gives guests extra peace of mind when booking a rental through our network of websites. It means that we will offer a full refund for the guest’s stay if…

    • they’re prevented or denied access to the rental when they check in
    • the property is misrepresented (differing substantially to what was advertised)

    However, the Terms & Conditions are very onerous…

    Trip Advisor says….

    For clarification, We will NOT cover losses in any of the following circumstances (which is not an exhaustive list):

    1. Any indirect losses; losses associated with travel arrangements, such as airfare or other transportation costs; opportunity losses; contractual losses; consequential losses; losses due to the weather or natural disasters; any losses other than the Qualifying Payment (subject to the Coverage Limit).
    2. If We or the Owner offer You alternative accommodation in lieu of the Property, and You accept the alternative accommodation (which will be inferred if You stay at least one night at such alternative accommodation), You will not be able to claim, in respect of any sums paid, for the original Property.
    3. Any damage deposits or other funds paid to the Owner using the Platform that are not returned due to damage or non-compliance with the Owner’s Rental Agreement and/or cancellation policy.
    4. Any payments made in cash, by check, or wire transfer, or using any other type of payment service other than via the Payment Platform.
    5. If You have a close personal connection with the Owner, for example, You are friends or members of the same family.
    6. Payments You make after We notify You that the Property listing is being used to commit fraud or has been removed from the Website.
    7. In relation to a Property with Material Differences or Defects, where You fail to notify Us no later than the first day of Your rental period and You do not vacate the Property by midnight local time on the day of check-in.

    Yikes!  What?  So you have to leave the property immediately….with your family in tow…..and stay where in the middle of summer??!

    So not only are they charging you a large % on top of your holiday accommodation…..they are removing your Section 75 rights and replacing them with far fewer rights! 

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    Book your holiday accommodation direct with the owner for the cheapest prices and get full protection!

    Our advice is that, you, the consumer, take back control, and refuse to be scammed into handing over your hard-earned cash to these listing sites, unnecessarily!  So, now you know you can find a cheaper price and have more protection – don’t forget – spread the word – BOOK DIRECT!

    Please feel free to spread this post – but please give full credit to this website www.vinesvillaspa.com  Merci 🙂

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    The Vines Villa & Spa prides itself on offering its lowest prices to guests who book direct, plus the option to pay by credit card.

    www.VinesVillaSpa.com – beautiful Villa, amongst the Bordeaux Vines, with private Spa & heated pool.  Stop by and say hello 🙂

    Vines Villa & Spa in the Bordeaux vineyards. Large group self catering holiday home rental in France

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