Covid19 - Customers FAQs
Published: Tuesday 17th March 2020
Updated: Tuesday 21st July 2020
To all our valued customers and homeowners,
As a family-owned business, people are at the heart of everything we do, so your safety and health is, and continues to be, our top priority.
We have put measures in place to ensure you can have a safe and enjoyable holiday, to read more about this, visit our Safety First page. Furthermore, you can book without worrying about what may happen in the event of further restrictions. You can see the detail on our Book with Confidence page.
We are truly sorry that our response times may currently be below our usual standard/what you expect from us and we apologise for any delay in responding. We are currently dealing with an unprecedented number of queries, supporting tens of thousands of customers whose holidays have been impacted by Covid-19 and/or who have questions about upcoming bookings.
Our teams are working around the clock to respond and will continue to work relentlessly to get back to you. Whilst we would ideally want to respond to all our customers immediately, we will need to prioritise customers who are imminently due to travel. However, we will get back to each and every one of you as soon as we are able to - so we very much appreciate the patience you are showing our teams at this time.
The property details pages on our website provide information about individual properties and you can find the answers to other Frequently Asked Questions below. We hope that this information is helpful, and it includes the information our teams will be able to give you if you do contact us.
We will continue to update this page with more information as and when needed but in the meantime, we would like to thank each and every one of you for your understanding and support during this difficult period. You are the reason our teams come to work every day and love what they do - so we thank you for working with us to ensure we can continue to provide you with the best UK holidays again in the future.
- The Original Cottages Family
Why have you changed the arrival/departure times?
The safety of our guests, owners, housekeepers and the local communities are of paramount importance to us. As such, on the advice of medical/public health professionals, we have implemented a new regime which allows for there to be a sufficient time period between guests leaving and the housekeeper entering the property so as to reduce the risk of any infection. This is vitally important in terms of both protecting the safety of the housekeepers as well as the community at large. Furthermore, additional time is required to ensure the properties are thoroughly cleaned and sanitised in line with Government guidelines, please visit our Safety First page for more details.
What is your policy for new bookings?
When am I able to book a holiday?
The Government have confirmed that self-catering holiday accommodation will be able to open on 4th July in England and 11th July in Wales, so you can book a holiday to start on or after this date.
We advise all our guests to keep up to date with the latest government advice on travel (https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus) and take this and their own personal circumstances into account before booking and deciding whether to travel.
What happens if there’s another lockdown?
Booking a holiday is so exciting! Your experience shouldn’t be spoiled by worrying about what would happen if there’s another lockdown. When you book with Original Cottages, you can be assured that our team will be ready to move or cancel your booking if the need arises.
Booking with us gives you the reassurance that if you are unable to go on holiday because:
- There are UK Government restrictions on travel due to the Coronavirus outbreak which make going on your holiday impossible, or
- The property or location you have booked is legally closed to visitors due to the Coronavirus outbreak
Then you will be able to choose one of the following options:
- Transfer your holiday to new dates in 2020 or 2021, free of charge. Furthermore, if you choose the equivalent dates in 2021, we will freeze the price
- Get a credit voucher for the amount previously paid for your booking, to spend on any Original Cottages break, to take place before the end of 2021
- Cancel your booking and receive a refund of the amount already paid for the holiday
All other booking terms and conditions remain unchanged.
Will it be safe to stay in holiday cottages?
Here at Original Cottages, looking after the health and safety of our guests has always been a top priority. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have – in conjunction with clinicians and public health officials - reviewed all our usual housekeeping guidelines to make sure that you can take your holiday without worry. For more information on the measure’s we’re taking, click here.
I’m not sure whether my holiday will be able to go ahead due to other possible restrictions, what should I do?
We appreciate that some guests may have bookings that are affected by Government guidance – for example on the amount of households who can stay together, or by tighter guidance for those who are shielding. Since this guidance is subject to regular review and updates, we recommend waiting until closer to the start of your holiday before deciding whether to change your arrangements.
However, if you would like to make a change to your holiday, then our normal terms and conditions apply. We are happy to approach the homeowner to try and find you a suitable alternative or a refund, however this remains at the discretion of the homeowner. To request a change to your booking outside of formal/legal lockdown dates/restrictions, please contact us on 0333 2020 899.
What options do I have in respect of bookings that were during lockdown and what if I want to change my (non-lockdown) holiday booking?
Transferring your upcoming holiday
Alongside our property owners, we shall do everything we can to help you transfer your holiday to another date, free of our usual administration charges.
If you have a holiday that is/was due to start after 26 March 2020 and prior to 4 July 2020 in England, or 11 July 2020 in Wales, you can transfer your booking to new dates which suit you, quickly and securely using our website.
Here’s how in just 3 steps...
Sign into your account using your email and password - or register your account
Find your booking and select ‘See options’
From the options screen, you will have the option to transfer your booking. After selecting this option, you will be able to see future dates when the property is available and then transfer your booking to a later period when it is safe to travel. Once you’ve completed this simple process, you’ll receive an email that confirms your chosen holiday dates.
Should you decide to transfer your holiday to the same dates in 2021, we will ensure prices are frozen to reflect the price you would have paid this year, taking into account any changes in public or school holiday dates.
If you decide to transfer your holiday to a different (non-equivalent) date in either 2020 or 2021, any difference in the price of your new dates will be applied or credited as appropriate at the time of transferring.Log-in to My Account
Transferring your upcoming holiday later
If you are not in a position to decide on new holiday dates now, you can select the option to convert your booking into an e-voucher for the value of the amount paid towards your booking. This can then be used online to make a booking with new holiday dates. Terms and conditions can be found here.
Cancelling your holiday
Bookings in England due to start between 26 March 2020 and 3 July 2020, or in Wales due to start between 26 March 2020 and 12 July 2020:
We encourage all our customers to transfer your holiday to another date and alongside our property owners, we shall do everything we can to help you to do this.
If you are not in a position to decide on new holiday dates or would prefer not to transfer your booking and would like a cash refund, please log-in to your customer account and select the booking option available for cancelling your holiday with a cash refund.
Bookings in England due to start after 4 July 2020, or after 11 July in Wales:
If you choose to cancel your booking, our standard cancellation terms apply. If the Government-imposed travel restrictions are extended into this period, we shall be in touch with you to discuss your options (including a cash refund). To request a cancellation on a booking starting after the above dates, please contact us on 0333 2020 899.
I have submitted a holiday transfer form and have not heard back, do I need to submit another one?
Our teams are currently managing an unprecedented amount of enquiries - so if you have got in touch with us about amending your booking but are yet to hear back from our team, please be assured that your request is in a queue and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
In order to ensure we can look after all of our customer requests, our team is having to prioritise queries based on the nearest holiday start dates. However, we are working through all queries as quickly as we can and therefore will come back to you on your request as soon as possible. Being able to help you secure your chosen dates, and welcome you to our cottages in the future, means a lot to us so we really do appreciate your patience during this incredibly busy period.
I have called, e-mailed and messaged you and are yet to receive a response – why?
Our teams are currently working extremely hard to respond to all queries received as quickly as possible. We apologise that, due to the sheer volume of enquiries, we are not able to get back to you as quickly as either you or we would like. Our teams are working as hard as they can to get back to everyone and will do so in holiday date order. Please do not contact us about the same issue more than once as this duplication will increase the amount of time it takes for us to respond.
My booking couldn’t go ahead and I’ve got an E-Voucher, how do I redeem it?
In order to redeem your e-voucher, please follow these steps:
- Log in to your customer account via the My Account link at the top of this web page. If you have not yet registered an account please select Create an account and follow the instructions.
- Select Vouchers in the main menu.
- You’ll then see a list of all your vouchers and can click on each one to see more details, including the holiday dates that the voucher is valid for.
- Select the voucher you want to use and click Use this voucher.
- You’ll be taken to our website where you can select the property and dates you’d like, and make your booking.
- The voucher will be automatically applied to the booking and you’ll see it deducted from the total cost. If the value of the voucher is less than the cost of your new booking, you’ll need to pay the remaining amount. (Deposit payments are due immediately and balance payments are currently due 12 weeks before your holiday starts.)
- If the value of the voucher is more than the cost of your new booking, the balance will stay on the voucher and you can use it towards another holiday.
If you have any issues, please contact us here.
What happens if I or one of my party feels unwell during my stay?
If you or a member of your party show symptoms that could be related to coronavirus you must follow the appropriate government advice. In addition, please contact us and we will be able to assist you. When contacting the NHS, please specifically state that you are staying in a holiday property. 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 amount due for an additional stay in addition to any related costs.
Do the new VAT rules mean I will get a discount on the cost of my holiday?
We act as an agent, providing a booking and marketing service for the holiday property owners (we do not own any of the properties listed on our website) and a booking service to guests. These services are not impacted by the new VAT rules, as such, the applicable VAT rate for any services we provide remains at 20%.
The majority of our holiday property owners are not VAT registered and as such, the temporary reduction in the VAT rate has no impact on the rental price of the property.