Caravan Club reports 45 per cent drop in no-shows since 2011 rule changes
The Club says it could fill York Rowntree Park `ten times over`
Monday, 17, Mar 2014 02:53
by Chris Jefferies
One of the many member benefits that people highlight about the Caravan Club is that you don't need to pay a deposit to book a pitch.
This liberal attitude allows people to plan their holidays without making too much of a financial commitment up front.
However, this does level the system somewhat open to abuse and back in 2011, the Club received a number of complaints from sites that were supposedly fully booked but saw a number of no-shows.
The problem was blamed on speculative caravanners who would book up their favourite site for the busiest weekends of the year as soon as bookings opening in December and leave it until the very last minute to decide if they actually wanted to use their pitch.
The Club described this behaviour as "selfish booking" and explored a number of ways to stamp it out.
It was for this reason that a new cancellation policy was introduced, obliging members to give 72 hours notice of any cancellations.
Breaching this rule three times within a season would lead to a two-week booking suspension, with all forward bookings cancelled.
Tough talk, we thought at the time, but would the Club actually stick to their guns, and more importantly would it work?
Well, two years on and the latest figures from the Caravan Club suggest that it has indeed worked a treat. Reservations cancelled with 72 hours notice are down by 28%, while complete no-shows have dropped by 45%.
What's more, the new policy has lead to 44 member accounts being suspended for abusing the liberal nature of the reservations system - so more than just tough talk there, then.
A statement from the Club said: "Since the policies were launched we have been monitoring members' booking behaviour and have seen some really positive changes.
"Some members who used to book lots of sites in advance have stopped doing this. Members are booking later and in the full knowledge that they will actually be able to take up the bookings."
There will always be extremely popular sites that are hard to get onto in high season, and the Club admits that it could fill York Rowntree Park ten times over due to its proximity to the city centre.
Nonetheless, we at CaravanTimes applaud the Caravan Club for its efforts to tackle this problem and we hope it will continue to encourage people to book sites fairly and unselfishly.
What do you make of the Caravan Club's three strikes policy? Does it deter selfish booking? Or should they introduce a deposit system? Have your say in our Community Forum.