A new initiative is hoping to reboot the luxury sector by offering reassurances on bookings made at more than 1,000 hotels worldwide.
The Carefree Bookings incentive has been developed by luxury inbound company Overseas Leisure Group, which is hoping to encourage confidence among consumers to think about future travel.
Carefree Bookings allows reservations without a deposit and with no cancellation fee on bookings made for travel until 31 October, which the company claims will act as a “remedy and solution for avoiding refund issues”.
When booking hotels within the initiative, travellers can keep their money up until seven days prior to arrival, when they then pay to guarantee their reservation. If they decide to cancel up to a week before arrival, they do nothing and the reservation is automatically cancelled without penalty, Overseas Leisure Group said.
The company is working with more than 1,000 hotels and resorts, all of which are listed on its site along with their planned reopening dates.
These include properties from groups such as Como, Auberge, Belmond, Fairmont, Four Seasons, Rosewood, Hyatt, Peninsula, InterContinental, Kimpton, and several Marriott luxury brands, with Overseas Leisure Group claiming this list of hotels and their proposed opening dates is the “only one-stop resource available dedicated to the luxury market”.
Overseas Leisure Group works with operators and agencies in 34 countries, including several in the UK such as The Ultimate Travel Company, Original Travel, Bailey Robinson, Red Savannah and Steppes Travel. Operators buy from the company at net rates; agencies usually receive 13% commission on preferred hotel rates.
The company also undertook a survey among consumers of the key UK luxury operators and agents it works with, and found 80% of affluent British travellers said they were planning their holidays now.
Europe was the most commonly selected destination, with 63% saying that was were they would likely travel to first.
Further findings included that in the next 12 months, 52% of respondents still plan to travel “as much as I used to”; 41% said less and 7% said “more than I used to”.
The survey also found that 42% of people would “be ready to make a reservation now if there was no deposit and no cancellation fees”; 33% said maybe and 25% said not.
A range of materials has also been made available by Overseas Leisure Group to download for any partners who want to promote Carefree Bookings.