Coronavirus

How does Coronavirus affect Bookings for

Accommodation Providers, Rentals, B&Bs, and Hotels ?

Last updated: 7/7/2020, 11:30am


This map, which is provided by Our World in Data, is updated every day. For the most recent stats click here, and to check cases in your area of the UK, click here.

Important updates:

The Department for Transport announces ‘safe’ travel destinations, so those coming to England from the list of 59 countries (with more to follow) can visit without the need to self-isolate from July 10th. Information for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to be published in ‘due course. by the relative devolved administrations.

UKHospitality has released revised safety guidance for accommodation providers. Access the new guide here.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that accommodation businesses can reopen on the 4th July in England, and the 2m distancing rule will be reduced to 1m+. Here is the Guidance for people who work in or run hotels and other guest accommodation.

The date for accommodation businesses to reopen in Northern Ireland is the 3rd of July, all holiday accommodation in Wales are able to reopen from the 13th July, and from the 15th of July in Scotland. Self-catering holiday accommodation only will be permitted to open from the 3rd of July in Scotland, providing it requires no shared facilities.

EnglandAccording to Our Plan To Rebuild: The UK Government’s Covid-19 recovery, a 60-page document published by the Government, hospitality businesses are predicted to reopen on the 4th of July the earliest. You can access the document here.

Fáilte Ireland have published their Guidelines for Reopening Hotels and Guest Houses.

The Professional Association of Self-Caterers has produced their Self-Catering COVID-19 Cleaning Guidelines.

The Scottish Government has released guidelines for reopening that include a risk assessment template and refers to the Scotland Guidance for Hospitality from UK Hospitality.

How and where to find practical help

 

How and where to find practical help:

 

With new cases reported in the news every few hours, it’s easy to get swept up in panic about future booking cancellations, the risk of coronavirus infection from guests and how it might affect your business.  But do not forget that actually, most people who catch this virus are swiftly recovering.

Nevertheless, in these difficult times, it is important to know what measures you can take to protect yourself, your business and your guests.  Whether this is about handling booking cancellations, saving whatever business you can, or preventing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), we have gathered information from trustworthy sources so you can get well-informed and up-to-date on how to protect your business.

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Help from the UK Government

 

Help from the UK Government

 

  • UPDATE: £10m package announced by the UK Government to help tourism businesses in England relaunch. Grants of up to £5000 offered and allocated through Growth Hubs.
  • UPDATE: As of the 15th June the Scottish Government is making grants available to B&Bs who did not qualify for and other COVID-19 grant support schemes. To find out how to apply click here.
  • UPDATE: Revised guidance is available regarding forthcoming changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Click here to access the relevant article. Those eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) are able to claim a second and final grant in August. Click here to find out if you are eligible and how to apply.
  • Additional funding for small businesses was announced on 3rd May that specifically covers bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.  The Government announcement can be viewed here.
  • On the 28th April the Chancellor announced loans of up to £50,000 that are 100% backed by government.
  • Available for small firms that are struggling to access credit, to help them ‘bounce-back’ after the lockdown.Back to top

 

  • The new ’micro loan’ scheme should be a “simple, quick, easy solution for those in need of smaller loans” Rishi Sunak highlighted in a statement to the Commons.
  • The loans will be available from Monday 4th May. Information on how to apply can be found here.
  • or details on the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) visit here, and for the most recent article from the government website, click here.
  • Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Government have said they will pay 80% of wages for employees (up to £2,500/month) who would otherwise be furloughed due to the impact of coronavirus. This means you are still able to keep a good relationship with your staff, even whilst you cannot afford to employ them during this period. For more information on how you can claim this, click here.


For full details on the Government’s Coronavirus Budget
click here.

The Government needs our support to tackle COVID-19. If it is within your means to provide the Government with hotel rooms during this period, click here to find out how to volunteer.

Help from other organisations

 

Help from other organisations

NEW: The Professional Association of Self-Caterer publish their guidelines for reopening:


NEW: Punch and Robinson breweries offer further help to their pubs during the reopening phase:

  • Punch Pubs & Co from July 4th to offer tied pubs on substantive agreements initial support of 75% rent credit for July, reduced each month beyond autumn.
  • Robinsons Brewery licensees will be offered discounts of rents of up to 90% in July, 60% in August, and 30% in September and October.NEW: Punch and Robinson brew

 

Update from the CLA (Country Land and Business Association):

  • The CLA has published a new policy briefing, detailing a plan for the re-opening of the rural economy amidst the COVID-19 crisis, to be considered by cabinet ministers, senior officials in government and Members of Parliament.
  • In the briefing, they point out the greatest advantage of rural areas against COVID-19: space. They argue that “if rural business can be re-opened – subject to the appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures, and with the right support framework, they could provide an early boost to the national economy”. Click here to read the briefing paper.

Banks

The stated banks are all partners of the British Business Bank and are offering the Corona Business Interruption Loan Scheme, in addition to accepting applications for loan repayment and/or mortgage holidays. We have collated their contact numbers, some of which are dedicated coronavirus hotlines.

 

We advise you to contact your bank immediately to explore:

  • A temporary interest free loan
  • An outright mortgage holiday during this time of crisis.

 

Click here for more information on the Corona Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

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We’ve collated their contact numbers, some of which are dedicated coronavirus hotlines:

  • Barclays – 0800 1971 086 (dedicated Coronavirus hotline)
  • HSBC – 08000 121 614 (dedicated Coronavirus hotline)
    • If you’ve been affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible for mortgage, loan and credit card payment holidays as well as fee free access to your savings. For our overdraft customers, we’re temporarily introducing a new interest free buffer of £500 and we’ll charge less interest for borrowing over £500 from 9th April until 8th July.*Go to our financial support page to see all the measures we’ve put in place for you and to find out how to apply for help if you need it.
  • Santander – 0800 731 6666 (general line) or 0800 0156 382 (Emergency Support line)
  • Lloyds – 0800 056 0056 (business banking line) or 0800 783 3534 (mortgage queries line)
  • Bank of Ireland – 0818 200 348 (dedicated Coronavirus hotline)
  • Metro Bank – 0345 0808 508 (business banking line) or 0345 319 1200 (mortgage servicing team)
  • Natwest – 0345 711 4477 (business banking line)
  • RBS – 0345 600 2230 (business banking line)
  • TSB – 0345 8353 852 (business banking line) or 0345 835 3380 (mortgage queries line)
  • Ulster Bank – 0345 366 5592 (general line) or 0345 300 6086 (mortgage queries line)

Insurers

 

For advice on what your Travel, Business or Income Protection Insurance could cover click here.

For more specific advice from the Country Land & Business Association supporting rural businesses, click here.

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Online Travel Agencies

 

Online Travel Agencies

The industry is still seeing a high level of cancellations to avoid the spread of the infection. OTAs are trying hard to ease the burden for the guests who book with them while retaining their long term loyalty by making the coronavirus-related cancellation process as easy as possible.

Whilst bookings received via OTAs remain technically subject to the cancellation policies that you have set, OTAs have the ability to override these in special circumstances like the one we are currently facing.

Online travel agencies have announced the measures they are taking to protect travellers and hosts alike, including the setting and implementation of their Force Majeure Policies.

For the latest advice from OTAs on coronavirus, booking cancellation policies and for additional advice provided by some OTAs on how to handle hosting guests and mitigate the effects to your business, click on the links to each OTA:

 

Airbnb

This section also contains information on:

  • The announcement of a $260 million relief package for hosts, including:

$250 million towards paying hosts 25% of bookings cancelled due to coronavirus between March 14 to May 31. For more information, click here.

$10 million Superhost Relief Fund – both rental and experiences hosts are eligible to apply for grants up to $5,000. For more information, click here.

  • New Healthcare / Critical Worker Initiative

Airbnb have launched a new campaign to help crucial healthcare workers register and find accommodation via their platform during this period. You can find more information about the programmes and how to participate via these links: medical stays and openhomes

  • Temporary changes to how Super Strict cancellation policies are administered

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Booking.com

This section also contains information on:

  • Temporary changes to how bookings with a virtual credit card will work
  • How to self-manage date modifications to existing bookings
  • Details of temporary removal of accommodation availability due to governmental guidelines (various countries, including the UK)

 

Expedia

This section also contains information on:

  • Temporary changes to the display of non-refundable rates and other cancellation policies.
  • Updates and extension to the Flexible Cancellation Waiver Program (Force Majeure Flex Policy) as of 14th April 2020

 

VRBO (HomeAway)

This section also contains information on:

  • Guidelines on how to manage cancellations and other FAQs

 

In eviivo suite, you can automatically cancel an OTA booking under the Force Majeure policy in just one click. Find out how here.

For more information on all the latest OTA measures, please visit our dedicated eviivo university page here

For top tips and help on how to make the most of your eviivo suite to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on your business, go to our eviivo university.

What are eviivo doing to help?

 

What are eviivo doing to help?

 

We, ourselves, are a small business dedicated to the independent accommodation sector. Like you, we are trying to survive this difficult period while looking after our employees and their families, in addition to applying for relief where possible, as indicated above.

When our customers hurt, we hurt. We are in this together.

We will do whatever we can to help within the limits of our own capabilities.  With this in mind, we have taken the following measures to help support you during this time:

We have created this dedicated coronavirus page to ensure you get helpful information and guidance fast. Where we can, we have provided links to relevant sources, which we hope will help you navigate through the current situation. We will be following new developments and updating the page as and when they relate to the hospitality industry.

 

We have started a series of supportive webinars and podcasts, so that we, together, can share ideas on the best coping strategies through this difficult period. See below for more details on where to find these.

 

We have temporarily enabled free access to Promo Manager and Guest Manager software for all existing customers. Click here to find out how to use My Promo Manager, and click here to find out how to use My Guest Manager.

 

Before the government announced any relief program, we opened a petition with parliament and wrote to MPs to ask that the Government provide B&Bs and Vacation Rental businesses with an immediate mortgage holiday. Although this has not gone through, there is a similar petition here, which we encourage you to sign to show your solidarity.

We have launched our Stays for Heroes platform, aimed at facilitating the placement of key workers into much-needed accommodation. To find out more details and how to sign up, check out the dedicated section below or click here to visit the SFH webpage.

 

To help communicate with any key workers you might be hosting or handle booking cancellations, we have created “model” emails, including confirmations, cancellations and payment requests for you. Our activations team are on hand to help you implement these.

 

Our community website is now taking  ZERO % commission on any bookings.

 

We have released a brand new set of reports which will help you to:

 

1) See into the future more clearly to figure out how your business is affected

2) Apply for relief as it may help you justify your needs to your local authority

3) Claim your insurance, if your policy covers this

Whatever we can feasibly do, we will do.  However, we are unable to cancel subscriptions. If we did this, it would jeopardise our ability to support you, our employees and their families.

We are nevertheless compassionate about the situation, and will endeavour to give priority to our customers who cannot get government relief, are in the greatest need, and have always been staunch loyal supporters of eviivo.

If you want to discuss this further, feel free to get in touch with one of our experts.

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Tune into our supportive podcasts and webinars around COVID-19

 

Tune into our supportive podcasts and webinars around COVID-19

 

We have been working on a series of podcasts and webinars to help support you during this time and advise you on how to get your business in the best position possible, ready for when this all blows over.

 

Podcasts

 

You can access a recording of our first podcast here and recordings of all our new podcasts here, or by clicking on the button below, all free of charge!

 


 

Webinars

 

You can watch recordings of all our coronavirus advice & support webinars for free here or by clicking on the button below!

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Join our Stays for Heroes Initiative

 

Help our heroes have a holiday!

We have launched the NHS & Key Worker Holiday Fund as a way to thank our NHS staff & key workers across the country who are working non-stop to save lives, keep us safe and keep us all going.

What they’re achieving right now is nothing short of remarkable, and we believe they deserve a good rest when the dust finally settles. This is why we want to help them take a well-deserved holiday when it’s safe to do so!

All the money raised will be used to give NHS staff & key workers vouchers to spend on a number of online booking platforms linked to the Stays for Heroes website. We are encouraging as many people as possible to donate what they can towards a special experience for our key workers in a huge choice of B&Bs, hotels, pubs with rooms, cottages and apartments across the UK.

  • To donate, click here.
  • If you are a key worker or wish to nominate a key worker for a voucher, you can use our application form here.
  • To visit the Stays for Heroes website, click here.

Join our Stays for Heroes Initiative

 

Join our Stays for Heroes Initiative

The UK government is seeking to place key workers in safe accommodation, so they have a place to stay close to their work and can recuperate enough to push through the challenging days ahead. We are calling on all hosts and hoteliers to help – if you are in a position to do so without risking your own safety or breaching the Government guidelines. With this in mind, we’ve launched our Stays for Heroes initiative, where we aim to facilitate the placement of key workers into much-needed accommodation.

We recognise it is a challenging time for many businesses in the hospitality sector, but we encourage, given the community spirit of this initiative, hosts to offer a discount or promotion to key workers if you feel that you are in a position to do so.

To find out more details and how to sign up, click here.

Alternative Ways to Utilise Accommodation during Lock Down

Alternative Ways to Utilise Accommodation:

 

  • UPDATE: According to the latest government update, businesses providing holiday accommodation are now permitted to “provide rooms to those required to self-isolate because they have arrived in England from outside the UK, or arrived in England from elsewhere in the UK but have within the preceding 14 days been outside the UK”. Access the relevant article here.
  • Hosting key workers – check out our Stays for Heroes initiative to find out more.
  • Protect high-risk groups – consider hosting those who care for the elderly and work in senior living homes, or immuno-compromised individuals who may live with key workers.
  • We’re focused on developing impactful campaigns that emphasise the heart of hospitality. Right now, our team is working on getting in touch with local charities to see how we can help those seeking refuge in this difficult time, such as victims of domestic violence.

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Ways to stay busy

 

Ways to stay busy

By staying inside, you’re already doing your part during this difficult time. If you have a burst of energy, are feeling stir crazy or particularly productive, we have a few ideas to help occupy your time:

  • Update your skills. The Government has launched The Skills Toolkit of free digital and numeracy courses for all levels of ability, including some useful social media and digital marketing courses.
  • Connect with other businesses – reach out to other small businesses to start planning partnership initiatives for when the economy re-opens.
  • Do a deep dive on your competition.
  • Start planning ahead – brainstorm new communications and promotions to offer once self-quarantine is lifted to entice guests to stay in the future.
  • Be extra social – right now everyone is sitting in front of a screen trying to amuse themselves. It’s a great chance to engage with your audience and get out in front of them by creating content. You can kill two birds with one stone by creating videos while you stay productive:
    • How to clean silver
    • The best all-natural cleaning solution before and afters
    • How to make the world’s snuggest hospital corners
    • How to make your favourite recipe
    • Showcase your skills at flipping flapjacks

 

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  • Clean up your digital workspaces:
    • Update your pricing calendar and remove outdated information
    • Organise your email

 

Protecting yourself, your family and your guests

 

Protecting yourself, your family and your guests

  • If you think that you or one of your guests is infected, in the UK call NHS 111.
  • If you think you are in a high-risk group because of your age or an underlying health condition, you should consider closing your business temporarily. Do contact your local authority, bank and insurance company to ask them to provide you with the appropriate financial relief in these extraordinary circumstances.  If one of your close relatives is vulnerable and lives with you, and you would rather not close your business, consider temporarily renting a place for you or them to self-isolate if you are able to.
  • For the most up to date health advice, please consult:

    NHS – the UK National Health Service site

    WHO – the World Health Organisation site.

  • The Government have published guidance on COVID-19 cleaning in non-healthcare settings.  View the document here.
  • UKHospitality have issued a comprehensive guide for businesses which provides detailed information on cleaning, food service and staff training. Access the advice here.
  • The B&B Association have also released a discussion document on guest  safety drawn up with the hotels sector.

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Source: World Health Organisation

Reducing the spread of infection

 

Reducing the spread of infection

 

Check out our latest blog post on how to clean and disinfect your property during the COVID-19 outbreak here. For more tips and advice on how to protect your business and employees, as well as helpful guidance for employers consult:

 

 


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