'It's crucifying our industry': Hotel bosses on double-booking tourists
- Credit: Felbrigg Lodge Hotel
Hoteliers have expressed their outrage at customers booking multiple accommodations for the same week, only to later cancel one depending on the weather.
Reports of a couple which has a holiday booked in Cromer as a safety net in case their plans to fly to Fuerteventura go awry was no surprise to Deedee Lomax, who runs Felbrigg Lodge Hotel alongside husband Philip.
The owners of the luxury hotel reopened last year and were pleased to see a booking of five rooms from one party - however then learned the individual only needed one room, but wanted the choice to pick at a later date before cancelling the other four.
Ms Lomax said: "The customer basically wanted to have a cup of tea and then take their pick once they'd had a look at all the pictures. That would be five of my seven rooms which I would think were booked - we'd be turning customers away - only to have them empty.
"It's a real worry because it's in the psyche of customers that because of online booking companies they can reserve places without any deposits and then cancel at the last minute. And we can't take deposits because if we do, we get ranked lower on booking sites because other places can offer free cancellation 24 hours before.
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"We're seeing people book one holiday on the East coast and another on the West coast. Then they see what the weather's doing closer to the time and cancel the one where it's raining.
"We were never asked about no deposit policies from online booking firms, and they can manage to take the hit from cancellations because they've got millions - we don't. It is absolutely crucifying our industry."
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She was echoed by Richard Graveling of the Grove in Cromer, who said: "It strikes me as rude and inconsiderate. The vast majority of customers who come to Norfolk wouldn't dream of doing this - but booking platforms have allowed for this to happen.
"It's fine for the hotels which have hundreds of rooms and can fill them quickly, but for smaller, independent and family-run venues it's a massive issue which could some people out of business."