The i-escape blog / Michael Cullen

By Michael Cullen, Director 

Coronavirus is having a huge impact on all our lives, not least in travel. Cancelled trips, changing government advice, full lockdowns … suffice to say, we all need to be positive, patient and open in our dealings with each other so as to come out of this with partnerships, friendships and spirits intact. 

If you have a booking which you want to cancel or reschedule, read on for our guidelines. 

If you are making a new booking, or rescheduling a cancelled stay, check our special Flexible Booking Policy below. This is designed to give you some peace of mind in case your travel insurance does not cover you.

 

Last updated: 30 April 2020


Our Flexible Booking Policy for new bookings

“Any initial deposits paid through i-escape during April-May 2020 are freely transferable to any future date, or indeed any other i-escape property”

In other words, you can now reserve your holiday accommodation safe in the knowledge that, if you need to cancel at any time due to coronavirus, your deposit is safe. But please check and observe points 3a-3e below.

Always travel responsibly: observe current guidelines from government and health bodies, and do not travel if any of your party is showing symptoms of Covid-19.

Cancelling or Rescheduling existing bookings

Stays in France, Greece, Italy or Portugal: please note that these countries’ governments have passed laws which permit hotels to offer credits rather than refunds. Whilst we have encouraged all our partner hotels to offer refunds wherever possible (especially for overseas guests), it may be the case that they cite this law and offer you a credit instead. This is beyond our control. We understand that these credits can be exchanged for cash if unused at a given point in the future, and are underwritten by the state. Further details: FranceGreeceItalyPortugal

1. If you can change the dates of your stay, this is our recommended course of action. It avoids making any claims, keeps the hotel afloat, and gives you something to look forward to. Please contact the hotel or property directly (their details are on your booking form) and forward the agreed new dates to us by email so that we can update your booking. We won’t charge any administration fee for this.

If you definitely want to cancel, read on.

2. If you have travel insurance, we suggest that you consult your insurers. It is worth clarifying to them that i-escape is a booking agent rather than a tour- or package operator, and that you have presumably booked different travel elements individually (hotel, flight etc). If you need confirmation that your hotel is closed or has cancelled your booking, please first ask the hotel and if they are not answering, ask us.

If you can’t change your dates and you don’t have travel insurance, then read on. You will need to know the payment policy on your reservation.

3. For flexible bookings in the next 2 months where you paid an initial deposit (typically 10-20% of the total) at the moment of booking, this initial deposit may be freely transferred to any future date, or to any other property (with flexible booking) on i-escape.

3a. If you want to reschedule at the same property, please contact them directly (their details are on your booking form) to rearrange dates; then let us know the new dates, and any adjustment to the cost or the room details, so that we can update your booking details on “My Escapes”. We won’t charge you for this adjustment – though there may be a change to the stay cost.

3b. If you want to book a different property, please first log in to My Escapes and cancel the booking. Then email us with your cancellation reference; we will reply confirming the credit we are holding. If you have made further payments to the property (or if their cancellation policy suggests further charges are liable), please ask them if they can refund (or waive) these charges. They are not obliged to do so, especially if the rate is labelled “non-refundable”, but many are.

3c. Either way, you have to rebook by 31 December 2020. The stay can be at any time in the future.

3d. Your rebooking must be on a flexible rate i.e. where you are asked to pay an initial deposit (typically 10-20% of the total) at the moment of booking. Bookings which require immediate full prepayment, or no deposit at all, are excluded.

3e. After rebooking, please forward us the email credit note so that we can refund the relevant amount to you.

4. For prepaid bookings in the next 2 months where you paid the full amount at the moment of booking, then you should contact the hotel directly to request a refund. These prepaid bookings are normally non-refundable, but under the circumstances some of our partner hotels are offering a credit (or occasionally a refund). If so, an admin charge of approximately 15% will be deducted from your credit (or refund).

5. For bookings whose arrival date is more than 2 months away, we kindly ask you to wait and contact us again later. If you do have to cancel now, please do so on the i-escape website, and contact us again when your arrival date is less than 2 months away. If at that time official government and health bodies still advise against travel, we will apply the same policy

6. For all bookings made with an i-escape gift voucher, please contact us at [email protected]

 

What about my other travel costs?

For any travel expenses booked outside i-escape, such as flights or car hire or non-i-escape accommodation, unfortunately we cannot assist you.

 

Further advice on coronavirus

For the latest UK government advice around travel and coronavirus, see the FCO page.

For current UK government policy around coronavirus and staying healthy, see the NHS page.

For details on each country’s entry rules and restrictions, see the IATA page.

For the latest numbers of confirmed cases per country, see the Worldometer page.

 

We reserve the right to withdraw this special policy at any time.

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