During these difficult times, I am proud to say that our Members are behaving in an exemplary manner when it comes to either returning deposits or allowing guests to re-book without any hassle.

The multi award-winning owner of a self-catering property in Tregonetha, near Padstow, has been praised for his ‘kindness and care’ in immediately returning a booking deposit to guests having to cancel a stay this autumn.

Stephen Chidgey prides himself on always going the extra mile for his visitors and is incensed by what he terms the ‘profiteering in the extreme’ mentality exhibited by some tourism providers. He says that exceptional demand has led to a 40% increase in the weekly self-catering prices being charged by some businesses, regardless of quality, facilities or cleanliness.

“The growth and ease of offering almost any accommodation through online travel agencies worries me,” he said. “The number of people choosing to holiday in Cornwall this year is huge for obvious reasons, but I don’t think that should be an excuse for some property owners and agencies to lower standards, hike costs and not give value for money.

“That sort of attitude will damage the Cornish brand that most of us in the industry have worked so hard to build. Most of us have had a difficult year dealing with Covid and I think it’s only right to do what we can to help, rather than being selfish.”

Writing on Trust Pilot, Anne Woods gave The Old Barn its latest five-star review: “Unfortunately for personal reasons we have had to cancel our planned first visit to this property in the autumn. I let Stephen know, fully expecting that we would lose our deposit. Instead, I almost immediately received a very kind and supportive voicemail message followed by an email reassuring me that of course our money would be without question immediately refunded, which it was.

“We have both been so impressed with this amazing customer service. It is common to read of people being refused refunds or having significant charges deducted, but there was none of this at all. I think it’s the kindness and care demonstrated at a difficult time for us that has made the most difference. We most definitely hope to rebook in the future and cannot recommend this property and its owners too highly.”

The Old Barn is independently inspected and graded by Visit England and Quality Tourism.

“We’re determined to be the best we can be and the satisfaction we get from our guest reviews is immense,” said Stephen. “I think there should be a level playing field for all holiday accommodation in terms of assessment so, when a customer books and pays for five-star, that is what they can rightfully expect.

“I was delighted to read what Anne had written but, as providers, we should be treating everyone fairly and well. We want a stay in Cornwall to evoke wonderful memories and a determination to come back regularly. That won’t be achieved if we show lack of understanding when plans have to change, provide shoddy service or rip people off.”

For more information, visit https://www.oldbarncornwall.co.uk/