Barnutopia’s cancellation and change policy is included in our terms and conditions. The policy is a formal arrangement that protects you and us and ensures there are no surprises. Generally, the principles relating to cancellation and changes to any reservation are:
- If we cancel your reservation we refund in full.
- If you cancel your reservation or change dates you pay a penalty.
- If external circumstances beyond our control dictate that your reservation cannot for practical purposes go ahead, our terms and conditions apply. However, we may attempt to find a mutually agreeable solution that does not bankrupt you or us. This is the reasonable thing to do. This could include a free date change within a defined period and/or a paid date change outside that period.
- A statement relating to COVID-19 with free and paid options for rescheduling is located further down this page.
Travel, Wedding and Event Insurance
In our booking confirmation email, we advise guests to take out insurance for their glamping holiday, wedding or event at Barnutopia. The relatively small cost of insurance is peace of mind for guests if they have to cancel unexpectedly. We cannot recommend insurers, but have a list of wedding insurers that couples tell us they have used. Make sure you read carefully through the details of any insurance before you buy it. Please also pursue your insurance to cover the cost of your cancellation or changes to your reservation. We can provide documentation to prove your reservation and any payments made.
Cancellation and Change Policy Rationale
We do not enjoy charging guests if they have to cancel or change dates. It is standard industry practice because:
- Allowing cancellations, amendments or date changes free of charge puts businesses (especially small businesses) in a very precarious position.
- If you change to new dates for free and businesses cannot re-sell your old dates, their income is halved for the period. For example, you change your 2-night April venue hire weekend to June and we cannot re-sell your original weekend. We now have 1 weekend of income for both weekends.
- Businesses incur expenses all year round on infrastructure, improvements and marketing to secure reservations. Our glamping units, barns, pastures, garden, animals, directory listings, social media and website have to be paid for, built, maintained, fed and cared for every day of the year.
- Seasonal businesses earn income Mar/Apr through Sep/Oct that has to cover expenses for the entire year. Barnutopia’s cash-flow Sep through Mar is significantly reduced. Other than a small number of payment installments and our New Year package, we rely on income received Apr through Aug to sustain us year-round.
- Notwithstanding these considerations, some businesses work with guests to come to a solution that works for both parties. We fall into this category. Asking us to bear the entire financial burden of a cancellation or date change to prime dates in our season (when there is no chance of re-selling your original dates) is not a workable solution for us. We don’t mind reducing our profit margin, but we cannot do away with it completely. “Profit” for self-employed individuals or small businesses is a moot point. It is what we live on.
Since opening in 2015, Barnutopia has had very few cancellations or date changes for glamping holidays, weddings or events. Without exception, every venue hire cancellation or date change has been for a good and sometimes tragic reason. It is not feasible for us to make exceptions to our policy and offer full refunds or free date changes to some guests and not others. We believe the Barnutopia cancellation and change policy is as fair as it can be to guests and Barnutopia. In the event of cancellation, we retain the cancellation fee and refund any portion due promptly. For changes, we spread the fee over future instalments. As promised, we WILL refund more if we can re-sell your dates. Our cancellation/change penalty does not make up for dates that cannot be re-sold. We do not make a profit from it. Rather, we reduce our losses by a small amount. On a personal level, know also that we have continued to provide a service through personal tragedies and huge unexpected expenses. If we were unable to fulfill our service to you even for reasons such as this, you would expect a refund (and we would expect to give one). Please take this into consideration when the situation is reversed.
COVID-19 Cancellation and Change Policy
This is the first time reservations have been unable to go ahead because of external circumstances. The situation is unprecedented and consumers and most businesses and guests want to come to a reasonable and fair solution. We issued a statement on the Barnutopia Facebook page as soon as it became clear that government restrictions would impact reservations in the months to come.
We (Katrina and Steve Boydon, Mrs and Mr B) are members of several industry bodies and groups. Stories from other members are heart-breaking. They are not massive hotel chains or highly profitable venues that host hundreds of events per year. Neither are we. We are a small family business with low profit margins. Barnutopia is a labour of love as much as it is a business. Our effective hourly rate is minimum wage at best. Many online travel agencies (OTAs) decided to refund guests (and pass on that cost to accommodation providers) without consulting accommodation providers. We appreciate that from a consumer perspective this may seem reasonable. However, it means that ALL the financial burden is taken by the hotels and guesthouse. Many are now in dire circumstances. Some will go out of business. We do not want to put ourselves in this position. Currently, we are offering free date changes for existing reservations in Apr, May, Jun and Jul 2020 to available dates in the 8-month period Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec 2020, Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr 2021. Changes to new dates Apr 2021 through Mar 2022 are subject to a 15% change fee. We will continue to monitor and update as the situation and any future restrictions unfold.