Cornish hotel charging guests £1,500 to deter people from staying

Holidaymakers hoping to catch some rays abroad this year are choosing to stay in the UK for a summer break.

Locations across Wales, Cornwall and Bournemouth to name a few are inundated with guests booking for a last-minute break.

Having been closed for months due to lockdown, most hotels and B&Bs are looking forward to business booming.

But in a bizarre twist, one Cornish hotel is charging people an extortionate amount of money to deter people from staying, Cornwall Live reports.

The Kilbirnie Hotel, Newquay, was charging £1,500 one night on Saturday, August 7.

And the room itself isn’t available anyway – the Kilbirnie is fully booked.

Hotel manager Gary Ricketts explained that a glitch in a booking system has meant rooms have been sold to guests via online vendors which aren’t actually available, so this is a move to ensure there are no more disappointed customers.



He explained: “Three different customers booked rooms through Booking.com last week and expected to stay here, but we were fully booked.

“This is a way of combating that – it’s crazy, no one’s going to pay £1,500 to stay for the night. It’s true that our rates are at a premium, as are everyone’s, but we know no one’s going to pay that amount; £300 maybe but not £1,500.

“It’s to combat the fact we don’t have any rooms and yet they might appear on the site.”

Gary added: “People are seeing these rooms on booking sites and expecting to come to Cornwall but there’s very little availability if anything; everywhere is full.

“They’re saying there’s an issue with the system. It’s an issue either on our side or their side. No one can find out what the problem is.

“I know of at least two other hotels in Newquay alone that have had this problem.

“I’d rather deal with the problem of someone wanting to pay that than someone coming down, expecting to have a room and we haven’t got one. If someone wants to pay over £1,500 they can stay at my house!”

He said it wasn’t as simple as just removing the listing as a room at their hotel might still appear available because of the system error.

A spokesperson for Booking.com said: “All accommodations – big and small, in any category – can list their rooms on Booking.com free of charge. The power of choice lies with the properties. They choose to list and at what price, with no sign-up fees or subscription costs.

“If, and only if, Booking manages to secure one of our partners a customer, do we charge a small fee for our services. Our accommodation partners are in total control of the inventory that they choose to list on Booking.com.

“If our partners ever have questions or believe there is a glitch in the system, then our customer service and security teams are available 24/7 to support and assist.”

Cornwall Live has contacted Trivago’s press department but has yet to receive a reply.

Gary added that holiday trade In Newquay is much busier than at this stage of the season in recent years.

“It’s a shortened season because of COVID-19 but we’ve made up for it since reopening,” he added.

The Kilbirnie dates back to the 1930s and has two swimming pools, a sauna and a fitness area. It has been owned and managed by a series of families over the decades. The business last changed hands in the spring of 2018 and is now owned by two business partners based in South Africa.

The AA-certified hotel is ranked 27 out of 37 hotels in Newquay on TripAdvisor.

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