You’ve confirmed your trip and on arrival, you’re told that use of the WiFi is not included in your package. You chose this accommodation specifically so that you could work from the comfort of your room, but you didn’t read the terms and conditions, and so you have to fork out extra.
This is not an uncommon problem says Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group Hotels and Resorts. In fact, he says that most travel problems start with a failure to read the terms and conditions.
“People get so caught up in the excitement of booking their trip that they often forget to read the very thing designed to protect them – the fine print.”
Lamont adds that given our current reality, it’s more critical than ever to be clear on what you are paying for.
“If 2020 taught us anything it’s that you hope for the best and plan for the worst. Part of that is safeguarding your holiday investment by making sure you understand all the terms. We don’t know what is going to happen next. So, not only do guests need to know what is included in their packages, but they also need to know the options they have should they need to cancel their trip or adjust their dates.”
Three tips when reading the fine print
1. Ask all the questions:
When hotels and resorts create their terms and conditions, it is to provide guests with all the information they need to make an informed decision. When going through the fine print, make a list of questions for clarity as you go. A good reservationist will welcome questions, offer straightforward answers and guide you in terms of your decision making.
2. Be clear on all costs before signing on the dotted line:
The fine print is also there to give insight into costs. It should tell you what is included in your rate and should clearly state what is excluded. Look out for important information like whether there will be a holding fee on your credit card (and if so, when it will be released) and if you need to pay a deposit (and, whether or not it is refundable). Being 100% clear on costs will prevent any nasty surprises at the end of your trip.
3. Understand the cancellation and refund policy:
COVID-19 is not the only reason you need to know and understand the cancellation and refund policy; sometimes life just happens! You lose your job, your husband gets sick or you fall pregnant… the list of reasons to cancel a well-deserved break are vast. And, you need to be clear on what you stand to lose. Find out how far in advance you need to cancel a trip and if you do cancel, whether you will receive a full refund or if a cancellation fee is payable. Also, check if you’re able to change your trip dates should you need to and if any costs will be incurred.
“Terms and conditions, though lengthy and boring, play a massive role in ensuring that you have the holiday of a lifetime, so make time to read them!” Lamont concludes.