What is UK-Europe Self-Catering and what do they do?
We are a travel wholesaler based in New Zealand. We specialise in representing UK & European self-catering accommodation (e.g. cottages, villas, apartments & other local-style properties). We have access to thousands of individual properties. We can do the shopping around for you. Although the public is welcome to contact us direct for further information, our product is predominantly purchased by New Zealand travel agents on behalf of their clients. (We also welcome enquiries from Australia, the Pacific and Asia.)
Should I book direct with UK-Europe Self-Catering or via my Travel Agent?
As we are a travel wholesaler, we are an Allied Member of TAANZ (the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand). As we are not a true retailer, we are not a bonded member of TAANZ (the Bonding system protects the relationship between the Public and Travel Agents). Subsequently, by purchasing our product range through a travel agency rather than direct, you can also ensure you are dealing with a Bonded Travel Agent, who can co-ordinate your stay with the rest of your itinerary arrangements. (Prices are the same whether you book direct with us or through a travel agent.)
Is self-catering good value for money?
Firmly yes! We fervently believe self-catering is simply the best value for money when it comes to accommodation in the UK and Europe. Comparing “apples with apples”, our accommodation is generally around the same price as Bed & Breakfasts, and usually cheaper than equivalent hotels. But, instead of just a room, you have a whole home away from home, complete with bedroom, bathroom, lounge, kitchen or more. Fantastic value!
Is there a minimum stay?
Most properties have a minimum stay of seven nights on a Saturday-Saturday basis. Shorter stays are often available in the off-season (October – March). City apartments vary from a one night, 3 night and 7 night minimum. Please let us know whatever your requirements are and we will do our best to source suitable accommodation.
How far in advance should I book?
As far in advance as possible! Most product ranges are finalised by September/October for the following year. During the busy season, almost all cottages and villas end up booked back to back from around May – Sept. To avoid disappointment, we recommend booking 6-12 months out, although with access to so many properties we are still usually confident we can find somewhere suitable for you even if you are not able to book until closer to your departure. Please remember that most houses are “one-offs” so once it is booked for a particular week we then need to look elsewhere.
With such a vast accommodation range, how will I know I’m getting the best options possible to suit my particular needs?
All you (or your agent) need do is initially contact us with full details on your specific requirements, for example: number of adults/children/infants; number of double/single/cot beds; number of bedrooms; in and out dates; required locations; desired facilities; any particular amenity preferences; and a guide to the sort of standard you want. With this information, we will then provide you with full property description details and prices for suitable available properties within a few days. If you would like to then proceed with a firm booking, we will require a non-refundable deposit to be paid at that stage.
How do I pay for the accommodation?
You can pay in New Zealand dollars. After the deposit payment has secured the reservation, the final balance is usually paid two months prior to stay (accommodation is pre-paid before arrival). All costs are subject to exchange rate fluctuation (up or down)
Are properties regularly inspected?
Yes! The great joy of purchasing accommodation sourced from UK-Europe Self-Catering is that we work with local operators who regularly inspect properties. We also travel to the UK and Europe and carry out inspections ourselves.
What are some good ways to save money?
Just by choosing self-catering accommodation over bed & breakfasts or hotels means you can save money by not needing to eat out for so many meals. Other ways to save expense:
– Book 6-12 months in advance to give yourself a wider range of available properties to choose from.
– Travel in the shoulder- or mid-seasons instead of the high-/peak-season. July and August is the High Season.
– Select a property within a larger complex, rather than a stand-alone property.
– Avoid properties with swimming pools if a pool is not important to you.
– Avoid the most popular areas if it is not important to you.
– We can sometimes obtain discounts for multiple stays or long-let stays.
– With city apartments, stay in commutable suburbs rather than the central city.
– Short stays in city apartments (eg London, Paris) require you to stay in a daily serviced apartment, whereas stays of one week or longer can utilise the better value weekly serviced apartments.
What are some features of the properties that could be important to me?
– Proximity to local services/pub/shops
– Shower, bath or both?
– TV or no TV? (Satellite TV is preferable in Europe to obtain English speaking channels.)
– Pool or no pool?
– Phone or no phone, laptop connection?
– Parking or no parking?
– Full kitchen required or simply a kitchenette?
– Ground floor/first floor/doesn’t matter?
– All on one level / disabled facilities needed?
– Microwave essential?
– Washing machine essential?
Do property owners/caretakers on the Continent speak English?
Most do, but some don’t. However such culture should be thought of as simply adding to the richness and authenticity of your overseas experiences!
How will I know how to get to my cottage/villa/apartment and how I will obtain the key?
Full key collection and driving direction instructions are provided with your final documents, along with suggested recommendations of what to take with you.
How do security damage deposits (bonds) work?
If you stay in a regular hotel, on checking in you are required to provide an imprint of a credit card as a form of security deposit. However this system is not possible for individually owned cottages and villas, so sometimes an alternative system is necessary. The most frequently required procedure is either for you to pay a security deposit in advance, in NZ, with the final balance, or for you to pay a refundable cash deposit on arrival at the property. We will provide full specifics with your booking confirmation of what will be required. Bonds are just a formality and should not be a reason to cause you any concern.
Are there any “extras” I will need to pay for?
We always automatically request that the property provides towels and linen to our customers – and sometimes there can be a small fee for these. Also, heating charges can apply, particularly in winter. Full details on all these specifics will be clearly provided.
Do I need to have a car?
With the exception of city apartments, it is preferable to have a car. However if you would prefer not to drive we have access to properties convenient to public transport in most locations.
Why should I book with a local New Zealand company instead of a possibility I find on the Internet?
You have no guarantee, legal or otherwise, of the standard or reliability of a property you select on the internet nor any assurance of back-up once you are overseas. All of our products have representatives in the UK or Europe who are there to assist. Should you have a family member at home who needs to contact you (even if your cottage doesn’t have a phone) we will ensure that a message gets to you. Arranging your accomodation in New Zealand will give you peace of mind.
The can be many pitfalls in attempting to source accommodation yourself. You may be lucky and strike a really great find or you may be very disappointed.