B&B Blog

News and updates from the Bed & Breakfast Association

Sunday 13 January 2019

Did you know that "recommending" a supplier can now be illegal?

Be careful now when "recommending" a specific supplier to your guests, or when "adding value" to your stays (by including another element) - as both may now be illegal in certain circumstances, unless you have protected your guests' payments (for example, by taking out insolvency protection or arranging a financial "bond").

In July 2018 the Package Travel regulations (PTRs) were completely revised. Originally dating from 1992 and designed to protect holidaymakers from the risk of their tour operator going bust, the PTRs are now much wider and do affect B&Bs in certain circumstances. We and many industry bodies (especially the Tourism Alliance, of which we are members) tried vigorously over the last couple of years to persuade the Government to modify the UK regulations from the EU directive they are based on - but to no avail. So we are left with a ridiculously disproportionate set of laws that will be "honoured more in the breach than the observance". We regret that these laws now bind us - but as your trade association, it is our duty to inform you that this is now the law of the UK.

Penalties for "adding value":
If you "add value", by combining another element with a stay at your B&B - for example, by adding a local green fee to make a golfing break - that may create a "package", which means that you (as the package "organiser") must have insolvency insurance, a client "escrow" account or be "bonded" like a tour operator. Selling a package without such protection can make an organiser liable to criminal prosecution [sic]. 

The Government has been telling our industry that a priority should be to "add value" to innovate our product and increase our sector's productivity - yet the PTRs actively discourage adding value.

Penalties for "recommending":
If you "recommend" a particular supplier - for example, a local pub or restaurant - the PTRs may make you 100% liable for that supplier's performance, as if you were providing it yourself.

Detailed guidance is available for our members:
If you are a member of the Association, you will find new and detailed guidance documents on our member pages, which explain the full details of the PTRs and how they may affect your business.

If you are not yet a member, simply join us, then login to our member pages using your member password to view the full guidance documents.