First, we had Black Friday, then Cyber Monday and now Sunshine Saturday? If you’re anything like me, you’ll struggle to simply ascertain what day of the week it is over the festive period! While ‘Take-the-day-off Tuesdays’ has a certain ring to it (although I’m sure my boss would disagree), the next ‘double-barrelled day’ on the horizon is ‘Sunshine Saturday’, on the 4th January.
Sunshine Saturday is usually the busiest day of the year for holiday bookings. Previous years have seen a huge surge in the number of holidays booked on the first Saturday of the New Year. The trend looks set to continue this year, with a predicted uplift in sales for travel companies as bookings are expected to double from their usual rate.
Holiday Booking Questions
The major news stories of the last twelve months within the retail travel sector will have undoubtedly raised concerns for those wishing to book holidays, as many remain unsure how secure their hard-earned money really is.
2019 saw one of the UK’s oldest and most established travel giants, Thomas Cook, entering administration. This resulted in the mass-repatriation of over 150,000 holidaymakers who had been stranded abroad. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) co-ordinated this action and guaranteed stays in accommodation that were booked as part of ATOL protected flights and accommodation packages.
With uncertainty still surrounding the longevity of certain travel companies and Brexit looming, many travel companies are recommending the use of package holidays for 2020, due to the payment protections such packages provide for the consumer.
When purchasing flights and accommodation as a package which is ATOL protected, consumers can have peace of mind knowing that if something were to go wrong, they would have recourse for refunds or guarantees.
Credit Cards & Chargeback Schemes
Another precaution that is often recommended to consumers is the purchasing of holidays on their credit card, or alternatively ensuring their banking provider has a chargeback scheme in place, should the merchant or travel agent enter administration.
In most instances, purchases made on a credit card would be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which means that the credit card company would become ‘joint and severally’ liable with the holiday company to provide the services that have been paid for.
In situations where a bank or financial institution has a chargeback scheme in place, then any purchases that are made over £100 are covered, and in a situation where a travel provider was to go bust, the money could be claimed back through the bank.
Variation is Key
Bargains can be found on holidays by looking at selecting a different day to travel, with many prices being lowered by travel operators and airlines on days that are quieter and less popular for travel.
By shopping around and comparing the prices on ‘Sunshine Saturday’, you can also potentially avoid being duped into thinking you are getting a better deal than you are.
Try to check comparison sites over a longer period of time if possible and you may find that the price during “sale periods” may not always reflect the best price available. This theory applies to all purchases, particularly with retail sales. There is an age-old retailer’s technique of increasing costs prior to upcoming sales (for the statutory mandated time) and then lowering the price on the opening day of sales to give the illusion of a bargain.
The key to getting a bargain on ‘Sunshine Saturday’ is to be prepared, know your rights and understanding the processes that protect you, should the worst-case scenario happen.
consumeradvice.scot have put together our top tips in countdown to the big day to ensure that you make the most of Sunshine Saturday (or indeed any day of the week!) when booking holidays –
- Be prepared! – Research the destination of choice in advance (including the price of flights and accommodation) and use this as a comparison on discount days to make sure your bargain is everything it is supposed to be.
- Consider your method-of-purchase – Purchasing on a credit card can protect your investment. Remember Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act and Chargeback Schemes through your bank or building society.
- Variation is key (mix it up) – Consider travelling on different days. Moving your travel plans back or forwards a couple of days can save a fortune – and not just on Sunshine Saturday!
- Keep a cool head – Don’t panic buy and remember that countdown timers on websites are there to push you to the checkout quicker. Take your time and don’t rush.
If you would like more advice or guidance on any consumer matter, you can contact consumeradvice.scot on 0808 164 6000. We are open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday. You can follow us on social media – Twitter: @advicedotscot and Facebook at www.facebook.com/advice.scot, Instagram: @advice.scot, or get ahead by visiting our knowledge centre at www.consumeradvice.scot.