Package holidays might conjure up images of sun-burned revellers in Zante, but the legal definition is a bit broader and means you benefit from extra consumer rights if things go wrong.
Your holiday is probably a package if:
If your hotel accommodation isn't part of a package trip it and something has gone wrong it will be easier to get your money back if you booked your hotel in the UK or with a UK travel company, because the gives you some protection.
It means the supplier – in this case the hotel – must carry out the service of providing a hotel room with 'reasonable care and skill'.
What is ‘reasonable’ will differ according to the star rating of the hotel, but even the cheapest room must meet basic levels of cleanliness.
Your hotel has to supply the accommodation promised so if you were told it offered a heated pool and air-conditioning, for example, you're entitled to get these.
Hotel booking website's like Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, ebookers and trivago are also required to:
If any of this is familiar, it sounds like you have the right to claim some money back.
You can also claim for out of pocket expenses, too. For example, if the food that was part of an all-inclusive deal was inedible, you could claim the reasonable cost of buying food elsewhere.
To make a claim about your accommodation on holiday, take the following steps:
If you receive an offer of compensation, check whether it's made on condition that it's a 'full and final settlement'.
If so, consider carefully whether it compensates you in full for the problems you've had.
If it doesn't, make it clear that you are reserving the right to claim for more compensation when you return home.
If you’ve arrived home with memories you’d rather forget, then make sure you make an immediate complaint.
Write to the customer services department of the company involved, whether it's a hotel chain or a tour operator.
Give your booking reference, a clear account of the problems, and what compensation you want.
Enclose copies of all documentary evidence: photos and receipts, but keep the originals in case you need them later.
If you booked through a travel company and they fail to resolve the complaint, you can contact the relevant trade body.
This could be ABTA (The Travel Association), which is the UK travel trade association for tour operators and travel agents; the Association of Independent Tour Operators, or the Travel Trust Association.
If all else fails, you can take legal action against the travel company.
When booking foreign accommodation directly, you may be contracting with a company based in another country even though it looks like you booked with a UK company.
This often happens if the accommodation is posted on a listing site where your contract is made directly with the accommodation owner.
In this case, or if you booked direct with a foreign hotel, then you may be dealing with the laws of the country in which the accommodation is located, or where the owner of the hotel lives.