Hotels have been left fearing they will be out of pocket following the administration of travel company Super Break.
Tracey Pye and David Costley-Wood from KPMG Restructuring were appointed joint administrators to booking websites LateRooms, Super Break and Malvern Travel Technology this morning.
Fraser Richardson, managing director of the four-AA-starred, 57-bedroom Beech Hill Hotel & Spa in Windermere, Cumbria, confirmed the hotel has been affected by the administration and is owed money by Super Break.
He said: “They usually made payments around the 7th of the month. The last payment we received from them was the 7th June hence the 7th July payment was not forthcoming so they knew they had issues but continued to trade right up to yesterday. Clearly this aspect should be investigated by the administrators for either ‘wrongful trading’ or ‘fraudulent trading’.
“As regards guests we only had one booking at the hotel from Super Breaks yesterday when the news broke. We do have a substantial amount of forward bookings however we do not have guest contact details so we are reliant on guests contacting us.
“Fundamentally the forward bookings will have to be cancelled as we will not have been paid for them. But the rooms are still here, so guests if they wish can rebook so their breaks/plans can continue on uninterrupted.
“So far for August, out of about 60 forward bookings, we have had 40 who have rebooked directly with us, 10 who have cancelled and 10 that wish to hold the rooms for 24 hours while they decide what to do.”
Administrators said it is “anticipated” hotel reservations through LateRooms are secure as payments will have been taken by hotels either in advance (for non-refundable reservations) or at the property. It is understood LateRooms did not take any payment for bookings itself.
However the administrators said all hotel-only bookings made via Super Break have been cancelled and are not likely to be covered by the ABTA financial protection scheme.
Other hotel companies including InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Accor, Hilton, Imperial Hotels and Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotels and Merlin Entertainments resorts including Alton Towers and Chessington World of Adventures are understood to have used Super Break.
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is understood to be offering free cancellations to guests who booked via Super Break or LateRooms; while guests who wish to keep bookings are being charged the same rate its hotels charge Super Break, which excludes commission.
Any Imperial Hotels reservation booked through Super Break has now been cancelled.
Representatives of Merlin Entertainments confirmed hotel bookings were ABTA-protected as they include tickets to the theme parks. Representatives of Accor, Hilton and Radisson Blu Edwardian declined to comment.
Owned by the Malvern Group, LateRooms and Super Break had recently come under significant cash flow pressure following news that one of the group’s principal shareholders had defaulted on its debt repayments and would not be able to support the business in the short term. The businesses ceased operations yesterday, prior to the appointment of the joint administrators.
There are understood to be around 23,000 LateRooms bookings affected; and 19,000 through Super Break.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “The collapse of LateRooms and Super Break is obviously very worrying and the impact on holidaymakers and employees of the two companies is extremely regrettable.
“However, with Super Break being members of ABTA, bookings through them ought generally to be refundable, while LateRooms appear confident that bookings with their accommodation suppliers ought to be secure.”