A UK holiday boom has resulted in chaos for some families as trips are cancelled at the last minute – with some finding their rooms taken when they arrive.
Staycation holiday demand has seen campsites and caravan parks sell out this month, while some home rentals and hotels are full until the end of September.
However, the soaring demand for a holiday in Britain has led to problems with online booking platforms, and families being disappointed at the last minute.
Caroline Baskin, from Liverpool, booked a holiday in the Highlands in Scotland – only to arrive and find German tourists at their booking.
She told the Times: “My eldest son walked over to ask them what they were doing. The couple told him to go away and said that they had driven all the way from Germany.”
Ms Baskin was then forced to shell out £1,200 for two nights at a hotel and a new holiday booking at short notice.
Other families have found their holidays are being cancelled at the last minute, with no reason given.
Couple James and Georgina booked a holiday in Norfolk last Christmas for this summer and were told it was cancelled just as they were due to leave.
They told the BBC: “”We were literally all packed, kids had their rucksacks.
“I came off the phone and said ‘sorry kids, no holiday’.”
He added: “It’s been tough for everyone. It’s been tough for Hoseasons, I get that. What I don’t get is just dropping it on us with five hours’ notice. How can they not have known?”
Children’s author Michael Rosen faced similar problems after booking a week-long holiday in Somerset, only to have it cancelled at short notice as it was “double booked”.
They are just one of many facing similar problems, with online booking platforms Hoseasons, owned by Awaze, being the main offender.
Many have complained on social media as their bookings are cancelled with no reasons.
One woman wrote: “Parents in bits after last-minute cancellation of Norfolk Broads boat for Golden Anniversary, booked ’19.
“No direct contact, just a note on online to call cust services. 3hrs on hold, told the boat was ‘not sailing’.”
Another family had similar problems: “We were booked through #Hoseasons to stay in a house on the Isle of Wight next week and yesterday they told us that it was cancelled as it had been double booked – so holiday cancelled with less than a weeks notice. Shocking service.”
One woman had already arrived when they were told it was cancelled: “Still waiting to hear about our @Hoseasons compensation for our holiday that was cancelled.
“We had arrived on site when they called us at 5.15pm to say we no longer had a reservation. We had to drive to another county to stay in a different accommodation.”
With limited availability at home rentals and holiday parks, it means families are likely to be unable to rebook their trips any time soon.
Awake chief executive Henrik Kjellberg apologised to customers in an open letter on July 31: “Though we expected demand to resurface as UK travel restrictions were lifted, we didn’t plan for a tenfold increase, which is what we’ve experienced on some of our platforms in recent weeks.
“To put it simply – our systems didn’t scale to the level we needed them to and this regrettably caused some duplicate bookings to occur.”
Sun Online Travel has contacted Hoseasons and Awaze for additional comment.