Book direct for best holiday deals, park owner advises

Skelwith Fold’s safari tents (above) are a family favourite for Lake District visitors, and offer superb value

BOOKING A STAY directly with a British holiday park or other provider is probably the best way to avoid “rip-off pricing” when planning a holiday this year or in 2022.

That’s the firm view of Cumbria park owner Henry Wild after a recent BBC Panorama programme (25 August) reported that some cottage and hotel holidays had doubled in price this summer.

The programme failed to point out, he said, that the accusation of profiteering should be directed not at the business owners, but at the booking agencies they often use.

Such third-party vendors of holidays, Henry said, often deploy a system of “dynamic pricing” which increases the cost of stays as the levels of demand rise.

With available accommodation outstripping supply in many parts of the country this summer, he says, there are even greater temptations for booking agencies to cash-in.

Dynamic pricing by third-party sellers can hike holiday prices, said Henry

Henry compares their approach with that of the vast majority of permanent holiday parks which are more concerned to build trust and long-term relationships with their customers.

“Many of the UK’s parks have been established and run by the same families for many years, and pass their businesses on through successive generations,” he says.

“This requires taking a long-term view of the future, and leaves no room for capitalising on a surge in demand which has been created by a dreadful pandemic.

“Skelwith Fold is far from unique in pegging this year’s holiday prices at around last year’s levels, and next year’s prices will probably just see an inflationary rise.

“It would be unfair to our many loyal customers to do otherwise, even if there are people out there who would be prepared to pay twice what we currently ask.

“Booking agencies have no interest in generating goodwill, and simply hand over pricing to their algorithms which will extract as much money as they can from customers.

“The Panorama programme would have served consumers better by pointing out that booking directly with the accommodation provider will often achieve the best deal.

“In some respects this was a missed opportunity, and it pointed the finger of blame largely in the wrong direction and failed to suggest the solution which exists,” said Henry.

The Wild family, which has owned the park for nearly 25 years, provides glamping accommodation including safari tents, plus touring pitches and holiday homes to rent and own.

There is more information about Skelwith Fold on its website at www.skelwith.com

 

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