Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Last updated: 29 May 2020 10:57

On the 23rd March 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued an instruction for everyone to remain in their homes except for very limited purposes. Any customer due to depart for their holiday before 3rd July 2020 can amend their booking now. You are able to do this easily online through your account.

Please find a message from our CEO here.

During these difficult times the safety of our people, our customers and our property owners is of paramount importance to us.

The situation is changing daily. We continue to follow guidance from the government, and we are keeping this page and our policies under constant review.

Find out more about the government’s guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

If you are due to travel on or before 3rd July 2020, the easiest and quickest way to amend your booking is online through your account. You will not be charged an amendment fee.

We are experiencing an unprecedented volume of enquiries, so please bear with us, we are working round the clock to respond to you as quickly as we can and are prioritising customers travelling prior to 21st June 2020.

Frequently asked questions

  • If you are travelling on or before 21st June 2020 see here
  • If you are travelling on or from 22nd June 2020 to on or before 3rd July 2020 see here
  • If you are travelling on or after 4th July 2020 or are considering making a new booking see here
  • If you have booked through airbnb see here
  • If you have booked through booking.com see here

If you are travelling on or before 21st June 2020

1. I’m due to travel before 21st June 2020 – which is during the government’s current ‘lockdown’ measures. What happens to my booking?

In line with government guidance, we have written to every customer due to travel before 21st June 2020 to ask them not to travel and to instead amend their travel dates online through their account. You will not be charged an amendment fee. Read our amendments policy here.

In the event you select a new date that subsequently falls within extended government-imposed travel restrictions, again there will be no amendment fee to amend your booking to a more suitable date.


2. I’m trying to amend my travel dates, but my property isn’t available – what can I do?

In the event a property is not available for the dates a customer wishes to amend their booking to, we are asking customers to email us directly to see what we can do to help.

Please email customerrelations@sykescottages.co.uk and we will do our best to help you. We are currently prioritising in date of email order, so please bear with us.


3. Have you put your prices up in order to profit from these circumstances?

No. A very small number of properties will have seen price increases but this is part of our business-as-usual process, not in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.


4. I’m amending my date of travel, but the price has increased / decreased – why?

Accommodation prices have always, and continue to be, seasonal. School holidays and bank holidays move annually, and this will also impact prices.

Some of our customers who are looking to amend their travel dates may find they are quoted more if they’re booking when prices are higher because of the above. Others may find that their holiday is cheaper if travelling out of season.

Please ensure that when you are looking to amend your dates that you search for the same departure day. For example if you were due to travel on a Friday, please search for a Friday alternative to ensure that our system quotes you the correct price.

If you have booked a short break and are looking to move to a future departure date you may see an increase in price as the short break discount may not apply to that future week.

If you find that a price has increased beyond what you would ordinarily expect then please email us at customerrelations@sykescottages.co.uk.

If you find that your amended travel dates are cheaper, we will transfer the difference back to your Sykes Holiday Cottages account as a credit. This credit can be used at any of the Sykes portfolio of properties within 24 months from the date of issue and are subject to further terms and conditions which we will notify you of. It can also be used across multiple trips, until the balance is exhausted.


5. I’m due to travel before 21st June 2020. I’m not able to amend my booking – how do I request a refund?

We are working hard to facilitate refunds (subject to the owner’s consent). Our owners are working with us in order to do this.

If you are unable to find a suitable date to amend your booking to, please log into your account online to request a refund.

Subject to the owner’s consent, we will then issue you with all funds returned to us by the owner of the property to your original payment method (i.e debit / credit card).

As a goodwill gesture we will issue ex-gratia account credits to your account for the value of our commission and fees which we were paid by the property owner for facilitating your booking.

These credits can be used at any of the Sykes portfolio of properties for holidays departing within 24 months from the date of issue and are subject to further terms and conditions which we will notify you of. Credits can be used to purchase multiple holidays until the account balance has been exhausted.

Due to the volume of bookings affected this may take some time so please bear with us.


6. I’m due to depart before 21st June 2020 and still want to go – is this possible?

No – you should amend your booking to ensure you comply with the latest government lockdown guidance.

Find out more here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus


7. I’m due to travel before 21st June 2020 but the owner of my property isn’t agreeing to issue a refund – why can’t you resolve this?

We are working closely with our property owners to do everything we can for our customers.

Sykes is an agent for its holiday homeowners, which means that we provide the booking and payment service along with customer service support. We are always here to support our customers and our owners, however the actual contract is between the holiday homeowner and the customer.

Should the owner not provide a refund we will be in touch to discuss next steps. Sykes will still apply an ex-gratia credit to your account representing the commission and fees associated with the booking.

Note customers travelling before 21st June 2020 are still able to amend their booking online fee free.


8. I’ve called / emailed / messaged on social media and haven’t had a response – why?

We are working around the clock to deal with an unprecedented volume of enquiries and are currently prioritising in date of email order, so please bear with us.

We have been able to reopen our contact centre, which now has more than 250 of our staff working tirelessly to support our customers and owners.

If you are due to travel prior to the 21st June 2020, during the government ‘lockdown’ measures and need to speak to us, please email customerrelations@sykescottages.co.uk and we will do our best to help you.


9. How are you supporting your property owners at this time?

We are working closely with our property owners to support them through this extremely difficult period, reviewing our policies to offer greater flexibility and dealing with thousands of booking amends every week on their behalf.


10. Am I covered by travel insurance purchased through the Sykes Group?

If you purchased travel insurance through Sykes or one of our Sykes group brands before 17 March 2020, then you will be covered if you are diagnosed as having contracted Covid-19 or are required to self-isolate if you suspect that you or a member of your household has contracted Covid-19.

If you purchased travel insurance on or after 17th March 2020, then you will not be covered.

For claims on policies purchased up to and including 31/12/2019 please contact 03450 744 838

For claims on policies purchased on or after 01/01/2020 please contact 01612 198702


11. Are you charging cancellation fees to property owners?

No, if an owner decides to cancel a booking due to take place before 3rd July 2020, we are not charging cancellation fees. We are advising that they help us to facilitate a refund to those customers whose holidays have been cancelled.


If you are travelling on or from 22nd June 2020 to on or before 3rd July 2020

1. I’m due to travel on or from 22nd June 2020 to on or before 3rd July 2020 – what can I do?

If you are due to travel before 3rd July 2020 you can amend your booking. The easiest and quickest way to do this is online through your account. You will not be charged an amendment fee.

In the event you select a new date that subsequently falls within extended government-imposed travel restrictions, again there will be no amendment fee to amend your booking to a more suitable date.

Read our amendments policy here


2. I’m trying to amend my travel dates, but my property isn’t available – what can I do?

In the event a property is not available for the dates a customer wishes to amend their booking to, we are asking customers to email us directly to see what we can do to help.

Please email customerrelations@sykescottages.co.uk and we will do our best to help you. We are currently prioritising in date of email order, so please bear with us.


3. Have you put your prices up in order to profit from these circumstances?

No. A very small number of properties will have seen price increases but this is part of our business-as-usual process, not in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.


4. I’m amending my date of travel, but the price has increased / decreased – why?

Accommodation prices have always, and continue to be, seasonal. School holidays and bank holidays move annually, and this will also impact prices.

Some of our customers who are looking to amend their travel dates may find they are quoted more if they’re booking when prices are higher because of the above. Others may find that their holiday is cheaper if travelling out of season.

Please ensure that when you are looking to amend your dates that you search for the same departure day. For example if you were due to travel on a Friday, please search for a Friday alternative to ensure that our system quotes you the correct price.

If you have booked a short break and are looking to move to a future departure date you may see an increase in price as the short break discount may not apply to that future week.

If you find that a price has increased beyond what you would ordinarily expect then please email us at customerrelations@sykescottages.co.uk.

If you find that your amended travel dates are cheaper, we will transfer the difference back to your Sykes Holiday Cottages account as a credit. This credit can be used at any of the Sykes portfolio of properties within 24 months from the date of issue and are subject to further terms and conditions which we will notify you of. It can also be used across multiple trips, until the balance is exhausted.

Read our amendments policy here


5. I’ve called / emailed / messaged on social media and haven’t had a response – why?

We are working around the clock to deal with an unprecedented volume of enquiries and are currently prioritising in date of email order, so please bear with us.

We have been able to reopen our contact centre, which now has more than 250 of our staff working tirelessly to support our customers and owners.

If you are due to travel prior to the 21st June 2020, during the government ‘lockdown’ measures and need to speak to us, please email customerrelations@sykescottages.co.uk and we will do our best to help you.


6. Am I covered by travel insurance purchased through the Sykes Group?

If you purchased travel insurance through Sykes or one of our Sykes group brands before 17 March 2020, then you will be covered if you are diagnosed as having contracted Covid-19 or are required to self-isolate if you suspect that you or a member of your household has contracted Covid-19.

If you purchased travel insurance on or after 17th March 2020, then you will not be covered.

For claims on policies purchased up to and including 31/12/2019 please contact 03450 744 838

For claims on policies purchased on or after 01/01/2020 please contact 01612 198702


7. How are you supporting your property owners at this time?

We are working closely with our property owners to support them through this extremely difficult period, reviewing our policies to offer greater flexibility and dealing with thousands of booking amends every week on their behalf.


8. Are you charging cancellation fees to property owners?

No, if an owner decides to cancel a booking due to take place before 3rd July 2020, we are not charging cancellation fees. We are advising that they help us to facilitate a refund to those customers whose holidays have been cancelled.


If you are travelling on or after 4th July 2020 or are considering making a new booking

1. Are you accepting new bookings?

We are not accepting any new bookings for travel on or before 3rd July 2020.

If a customer books a holiday with us departing after 3rd July 2020 and must subsequently amend their holiday date due to government-imposed travel restrictions, we will waive our usual amendment fees.

Read our amendments policy here


2. I am due to travel on or after 4th July 2020 what happens if government-imposed travel restrictions are extended?

If government-imposed travel restrictions are extended and you must amend your holiday date, we will waive our usual amendment fees.


If you have booked through airbnb

If you have booked with airbnb you will need to contact them on 0203 318 1111 or support@airbnb.com to discuss your booking.


If you have booked through booking.com

If you have booked with booking.com you will need to contact them on 0203 564 6725 or customer.service@booking.com to discuss your booking.