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Eurovision - a hotel blessing or curse?

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Sugar Hut expands to the North

The news that Liverpool will host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will no doubt come as a blessing to local hoteliers and Airbnb hosts alike. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for a number of their guests.

Hotel and Airbnb guests are facing substantial price hikes in the wake of the announcement, and even those who were savvy enough to book in advance of the announcement are now finding themselves suffering as a result.

It seems there are widespread booking cancellations taking place across Liverpool for those who already booked rooms during the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2023 even ahead of its announcement.

It appears both hotels and Airbnb hosts are cancelling bookings and then re-listing the rooms/properties for drastically increased rates to benefit from the increase in demand the Eurovision Song Contest has brought.

What if my hotel room or Airbnb has been cancelled?

If you are one of the unlucky guests to have recently received confirmation that your booking has been cancelled, you are no doubt wondering what your rights are.

As a consumer, you are protected by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“the Act”) and cases such as this will largely depend on the terms and conditions you agreed when making the booking. It could be that the terms and conditions allow the hotel or host to cancel your booking in certain circumstances. These terms and conditions can be relied on as long as they are not deemed ‘unfair’ by the Act. The situation will therefore depend on what the terms say and what reason you are given for the cancellation. It might be that you do not believe the reason you are given for the cancellation e.g., if they say there was a booking error however, it can be difficult to prove this is not the case.

Generally speaking, if they cancel due to no fault of your own, you will be entitled to a full refund.

If there is no right for them to cancel for a particular reason, they may do so anyway in the knowledge that even if they refund you all of your money, they will easily get another booking at a much higher price given current demand.

If this happens, they are in breach of contract. If there has been a breach of contract the normal remedy is that you are entitled to be put in the position you would have been in if the contract had been fulfilled. You might be offered a full refund, but sometimes this will not fully put you in the position you would have been. This is because in normal circumstances you would probably be able to book another similar room nearby at a similar price. However, if you were to try and book a new room now for the same dates in a similar location, the price will likely be substantially more, leaving you out of pocket.

It is possible in some circumstances to claim the increased cost to book a comparable room, but you will need to show the loss was reasonably foreseeable. Once again, this will be fact dependant and it would also require consideration of the terms to check if there were any clauses which limit liability in anyway.

If you think you have a claim, it is best to try and work with the hotel or host following any internal complaints procedure. If you booked via Airbnb, you may also want to complain to Airbnb directly about the conduct of the host if you think they have cancelled in breach of their terms. If you booked with a hotel, you could also consider reporting the hotel to Trading Standards.

If you are struggling to even get a refund from your hotel, you could also request a refund from your credit card company (if you paid for the booking with a credit card and it was over £100 and not more than £30,000) under s75 consumer credit act 1974.

Finally, if you wanted to bring a claim, legal costs can be substantial and if your claim is placed on the small claims track of the court (normally for cases of not more than £10,000) there are only limited costs that you can recover. This often means that if you instruct a solicitor, you are very unlikely to recover their costs, other than nominal fixed fees.

Before embarking on a claim, it may be worth speaking to Citizens Advice or checking whether you have any insurance that could cover the legal costs of a claim. 

If you need assistance in bringing a claim for breach of contract of breach of your consumer rights, please contact our dispute resolution team on  0161 696 6178.