Tourist accommodation contracts

Tourist accommodation booking terms and conditions

Guide

Each business has its own requirements, depending on the type of accommodation and the guests it attracts. You should specify your requirements and accommodation arrangements in the terms and conditions (T&Cs) of your booking.T&Cs will form a legal contract between you and your guest once you accept their booking request.

T&Cs usually cover:

  • booking
  • pricing and payment, including deposits
  • availability
  • cancellation policy
  • damages and liability
  • check in/out times
  • children (eg discounted rate, sharing room, etc)
  • pets (eg if they are allowed, if surcharge is required)

When writing terms and conditions, think about the problems your business could face, and how you would deal with them. Ensure this is covered in your terms. Give guests the details of any conditions they must follow before they book. This means the guest will be bound by the booking contract to adhere to these.

T&Cs can outline your liability for loss or damage within reason. However, legally you can't limit your liability for death or personal injury from negligence of an employee, agent or yourself.

Once you have accepted a booking from a guest, you normally have to honour the booking. This applies equally whether the arrangement has been made over the telephone, by email, online, or in writing.  You may only change the terms of the booking at a later date if you and the guest agree to it.

Best practice

As a matter of good practice, you should keep a clear, accurate record of the arrangements for each of your bookings. You might also want to have a simple checklist by the telephone or computer to remind you of the details you need to run through with each guest (eg pricing, deposit, cancellations, data protection).You should make clear what is included in the price quoted, and if any additional services (such as spa treatments, dinner, etc) need to be pre-booked.

Make any in-house policies or other information that might be useful for guests to know clear, this may include your smoking policy, payment methods and credit card surcharges, any access or car parking restrictions, and any refurbishment work in progress.

If possible, you should confirm all bookings by email or in writing. This may be particularly important when accepting booking for longer stays, from larger groups, or dealing with more problematic bookings.

Booking contracts and conditions are a complex area of law. For any detailed information or assistance, you should seek professional legal advice. Find a solicitor.

  • Tourism NI Industry Development
    028 9044 1673
  • Trading Standards Service Northern Ireland Helpline
    0300 123 6262
Developed with:
  • Tourism NI