We could never have expected this virus to turn into a global pandemic whilst we were eating our Christmas turkey and celebrating the New Year back in December. 2020 was looking to be our biggest and best year to date with new packages, properties, staff and partners for our clients to enjoy and we fully intend for you to still enjoy all these new elements in 2021 and the future!
However we are now here and we have to look at it with a clear view. Our aim is to provide epic Mountain Bike Holidays, it always has been and always will. For now that involves looking after our clients, our staff, friends, families and the business so we can keep the wheels rolling into 2021 and many years beyond!
UPDATE - 23 FEB 2021
Boris Johnson announced Britains road map to normality on 22nd February. There are several key dates relevant to international travel which look extremely promising for the summer;
12th April - Review on international travel
17th May - Earliest point international travel will resume
21st June - Earliest date all limits on social distancing in the UK will be entirely lifted
We are now receiving many questions about our 2021 holidays and what our refund, cancellation and Covid-19 policy is so we wanted to try and make it super simple with a few points below, more in depth information can be found within our T&C's
Financial Failure insurance
A legal requirement for any company offering package holidays, written into law under the travel package regulation in 2018. We are insured with IPP London. If we ever went bust every penny you have paid us will be refunded, this applies to the package holidays only, not Self Catered or Hotel stays.
Multi Element Holidays
Quarantine / Lock down / Border closure- If there is a mandatory quarantine in place in either the UK or the country you are travelling to within 14 days of your outward travel date then we will either offer you a date swap within the same year, a date change to the following year (this is essentially a new booking and open to price increases) or a credit note valid for 21/22 season.
Covid-19 positive test or notification to isolate - If within 14 days of your outward travel date you have either tested positive for Covid-19 or have been asked to isolate by the NHS app then the above will also apply. We will need to see official paperwork to backup the test result or our standard T&C's will apply
MTB Beds can not operate and your trip is cancelled - All of the above options apply or a full refund options if your full balance is paid in full.
Client disinclination to travel - If none of the above situations apply and you simply do not feel comfortable travelling in the current climate our standard T&C's apply. See cancellation rates below
Deposit only payments are non refundable
56 to 50 days prior to departure - 30% of total holiday cost
49 to 43 days prior to departure - 40% of total holiday cost
42 to 36 days prior to departure - 60% of total holiday cost
35 to 29 days prior to departure - 85% of total holiday cost
28 days or fewer prior to departure - 100% of total holiday cost
Single Element Holidays - If in the 14 calendar days prior to the start of your arrangements your booking cannot proceed due to any of the following reasons linked to the coronavirus pandemic you will be entitled to a credit note for 100% of the booking cost to be used with us at any point up until the end of the 21/22 season. If you chose not to accept this credit note we will refund in cash 70% of the payments you have made to us for your booking. The remaining 30% will be retained by us to cover our operational costs in accepting your booking. The accepted coronavirus related reasons for cancellation are as follows: the authorities of the country to where you are travelling impose regional or national restrictions which result in the closure of their border to non-residents, closure of the resort or essential facilities or necessitate the closure of your accommodation you would be required by the authorities of your destination country to quarantine / self-isolate on arrival for more than 24 hours
Insurance - It is a condition of our acceptance of your booking that you obtain appropriate travel insurance. Please be aware that any advice against non-essential international travel (including as a result of the coronavirus pandemic) issued by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (or equivalent authorities outside the UK for citizens of those countries) may have an impact on your travel insurance. You must check the policy terms prior to purchasing your insurance.
Please read your policy details carefully and take them with you on holiday. It is your responsibility to ensure that the insurance cover you purchase is suitable and adequate for your particular needs.
Here’s what we know about how Covid-19 will effect Summer travel plans in 2021.
---- February 22nd ----
Boris Johnson announced Britain's road map to normality on 22nd February. There are several key dates relevant to international travel which look extremely promising for the summer;
12th April - Review on international travel
17th May - Earliest point international travel will resume
21st June - Earliest date limits on social distancing in the UK will be entirely lifted
These are extremely promising dates for summer travel. While we have to wait until April for confirmation of May 17th, all signs point toward a positive outcome. what has not been confirmed from either side of the channel is the requirement for a vaccine passport, which has been much discussed.
----- END 2020 ----
----- October 15th -----
The UK GOV has added Italy to the 14 day quarantine list so anyone returning from France after 04:00 on the 16th August will have to self quarantine for 14 days.
----- August 14th -----
The UK GOV has added France to the 14 day quarantine list so anyone returning from France after 04:00 on the 15th August will have to self quarantine for 14 days. We will be contacting all clients with options for your 2020 trip as soon as possible. Please feel free to also email us on [email protected] with your booking name and reference and we get back to you asap.
The Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) have now updated the travel advice for British Nationals, as of August 13th, which advises against all but essential international travel to France. This will most likely have an impact on your insurance if you do choose to travel, please check with your provider before you embark on your trip.
See some more info below on the current situation and advice
- If I'm in one of the affected countries, what should I do?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is not telling Britons to leave immediately.
People are being asked to follow local rules, return home as normal, and check the travel advice pages on gov.uk.
It may be difficult to get an earlier trip home anyway. For example, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle has said: "The service is already very busy this weekend and there is no additional capacity.
"To avoid long queues and severe disruption we strongly advise against turning up at the terminal outside the allocated time. Customers will be unable to board alternative shuttles without a valid booking."
- I have a holiday booked in an affected country - what should I do?
The FCO says Britons should avoid "all but essential travel" to these countries.
The Association of British Insurers said travel insurance will remain valid for people who are already in the quarantined countries until they return home.
But if you travel to the affected countries after the FCO advice has changed your insurance will "likely" be invalid, the ABI said.
- Employment - What if my employer is unhappy about me isolating instead of coming in to work?
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab previously has said no worker following quarantine guidance should be penalised by employers, including by being put onto sick pay.
He said that if someone is following the law in relation to quarantine and self-isolating, "they can't have penalties taken against them".
We will do everything we can to help in the current situation but please have patience!
----- August 13th -----
Morzine announces masks must be worn in all busy, outdoor public areas aswell as inside. So in the high street, or in the lift queue. You do not need to wear one at the lakes unless in groups of 10 or more.
----- July 20th -----
France announces masks must be worn in all public areas. Meaning we are enforcing mask wearing in all of our Riders Week properties, when not sitting and eating, drinking, or in your room. In town this means all shops aswell as bars and restaurants.
----- July 18th -----
Video of life after lockdown with MTB Beds - https://www.pinkbike.com/news/video-life-after-lockdown-in-morzine-with-mtb-beds.html
----- July 4th -----
The Portes du Soleil lift network is open and you can go shred the trails as usual! The only stipulation is you must wear a mask when in the lift queues and when on the lift. Our properties are open with Covid-19 procedures in place. Masks need to be worn when entering a bar or restaurant, shops have their own procedures in place.
Returning passengers via all transport are asked to fill in this form - https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk
----- June 14th -----
The France / UK border, all French borders and arrivals from the Schengen zone are open as of June 15th. The full statement from the French can be found here.
Translation of part pertinent to arrivals from the UK;
The United Kingdom has chosen to introduce a fourteen-day obligation on June 8 for travelers from France. As of June 15, travelers from the United Kingdom will no longer be subject to entry restrictions linked to the fight against COVID-19 but will remain, until further notice, invited to observe a fortnight upon their arrival
----- June 11th -----
The French Government has officially announced it will open it's borders from June 15th. This includes the UK.
French President Emmanuel Macron will announce the plans on Sunday evening. The 'voluntary quarantine' to nations that have imposed their own, such as Spain and the UK, will apply to arrivals until in France until these particular nations lift their measures.
----- June 5th -----
Austria re-opened it's borders without quarantine to arrivals from with the EU / Schengen zone for arrivals via land. The only current exclusion is Italy, which Austria intends to have lifted by June 15th. You do have to have a valid test certificate showing negative for Covid-19.
Here is a current timeline of border re-opening schedules across Europe.
For our destinations, only France remains to re-open it's borders, due June 15th.
----- June 4th -----
The home secretary confirmed plans to impose a mandatory quarantine on any arrivals into the UK from Monday June 8th, until June 29th when the policy would be reviewed. If the quarantine is disobeyed and the traveller is caught a fine of up to £1000 can be issued. This was issued despite protests from many Government ministers and against the advice of the WHO and the EU. Though pressure is being mounted to discuss 'air bridges' with certain countries, meaning they would not need to isolate, no such plans are official.
France have long said that any quarantine imposed on people from it's country would be reciprocal. They have confirmed any arrival into France from the UK should voluntarily self isolate. Meaning they will not be handing out fines or prosecutions for those that disobey.
Put simply, it means until June 29th, anyone arriving in France or the UK should be quarantining for 2 weeks. From June 29th onwards, there are no official plans. Our opinion, for what it is worth, is that there will be plans made perhaps even before that date, to allow travel between key European countries in order to mitigate the severe economic losses the aviation and travel industry as a whole are suffering. But we will have to wait and follow the official statements closely.
Once again, this is not the policy for the whole summer, this policy is until 29th June, perhaps it changes earlier, perhaps it continues.
The British Embassy in France is a great source of up to the minute information - Click Here.
----- June 3rd -----
Italy have re-opened their borders to European countries as of today. This also means Italians can freely travel within their own country to any region. There is no mandatory quarantine imposed. Travel is still heavily restricted to anyone coming from outside of Europe.
----- May 28th -----
The French Government have announced phase 3 of their plan to reinstate normality on May 28th. The last 3 weeks have been in their words; ‘better than expected’ in controlling the virus.
The highlights are;
Bars & restaurants can re-open from June 2nd. Masks are compulsory for staff, with a maximum of 10 people per table, with a 1 metre minimum distance between tables.
Hotels can re-open from June 2nd (Accommodations not classified as hotels have been open for several weeks now), the particulars of room arrangements are to be clarified
The 100km travel limit set for travel within France has been lifted, those in France can now travel anywhere in the country beyond this radius.
Gyms, pools, fitness centres, parks and beaches all open from June 2nd.
They have conveyed their desire to have all internal European borders open from June 15th, but wish to do so as a united Europe, not separately. Quote; ‘Travel within Europe, I hope will be allowed’.
This is due to be reviewed on June 22nd, with a track and trace app being available from this date.
----- May 23rd -----
The Home Secretary announced plans on Friday 22nd May to introduce mandatory quarantine on any arrival into the UK by any method of travel. Though exemptions exist for freight drivers, medical personnel and cross borders workers but importantly, not for leisure travel. These measures are due to be implemented from June 8th and will be reviewed every 3 weeks, meaning June 29th.
Though the announcements in the previous week that France and the UK would have a bi-lateral agreement for quarantine free travel may have been made in good faith between the UK Government and France. It appears the UK Government has decided to break rank from the other 26 EU nations that are working to have borders re-opened by the end of June. However with the timeline that has been given, the end of June is still a possibility to see quarantine free travel into the UK. France have previously stated any rules imposed by the UK would be reciprocated, they have mirrored the UK's policy as of May 23rd, at midday. Italy and Austria are yet to clarify their position. French announcement found here.
How to take this news? It is disappointing however in the last six weeks we have learned that one week is a very long time. Much can change and Governments, particularly in the UK and Italy, can change policy hour by hour that would be unthinkable in any other time.
The travel sector in the UK is a huge market responsible for a substantial amount of local and international GDP, ABTA and the aviation industry are poised to put immense pressure on the UK Government to substantiate these measures, which go against WHO guidelines. The EU have already laid out their policy in returning tourism to the bloc this summer and this policy threatens to go against that, the UK remains a member of the EU until 2021.
It is important to note these quarantine regulations are not permanent and have not been given an end date. They maybe lifted at anytime. Though it is going to get nail bitingly close to prime summer months of July and August, they are still on the table as potential travel dates. By June 29th, the UK Governments current revision date of these rules, the rest of the EU will have been able to move freely for two weeks should the EU plans go ahead.
We see this as yet another hurdle to jump, we've jumped every one so far and though this one is pretty high, together we have the legs. Please email us with any concerns over your holiday booking and we will answer them as best we can.
----- May 20th -----
Uplifts have been underway in Finale Ligure and Aosta have been given the go ahead to restart their guiding and transprt services. All 9 seater vans are running on a 4 client minimum number for now.
----- May 17th -----
Italy is set to re-open it's borders to Schengen nations for un-restricted to travel as early as June 3rd in an effort to re-ignite the tourism sector.
----- May 13th -----
EU Release huge document covering 3 phase plan to allow countries to organise themselves for tourism this summer, among member states, as Germany/Austria and the Baltic states open their borders to each other.
----- May 12th -----
Super Morzine (Serma) confirms lift opening date for the summer season as 4th July
Bike Park Chatel confirm lift opening dates for the summer season as June 27th.
----- May 10th -----
Joint statement from the UK and France stating that travellers from either nation will not have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
----- May 7th -----
Bike Park Les Gets announce they intend to open the lifts and trail network from 30th May.
Bike Park Champery Morgins also intend to be open from 11th June.
----- May 5th -----
The French Government have released plans for their phased end to confinement from May 11th - June 2nd.
The end of a strict lockdown in France begins on May 11. We are allowed to ride bikes again, the forests are open and we can travel anything up to 100km without an ‘attestation’ to state why we are travelling, within your region
Shops under 4000m2 can re open, with measures in place to regulate social distancing.
Groups of up to 10 people can congregate
Bars, cafes and restaurants will remain closed
Events of up to 5000 people cannot be held
Masks will be required in public
Here is the link to the full de-confinement procedure - Deconfinement The procedure is split into different zones, by region, certain regions are harder hit than others, their liberties will be less than others. Currently, Morzine is classified as orange. Though we have a very low amount of Covid-19 cases, we do not have a large amount of intensive care beds, so our colour will be decided before May 11.
We also know that tourists or anyone entering France from within Schengen countries, to also include the UK, will NOT be required to quarantine on arrival.
President Macron is due to make a further speech this week (Thursday 7th) to the French people, where he will release the final maps that will be adjusted each week as the cases hopefully drop. We are expecting some news regarding travel and the summer season.
The Portes du Soleil lift system intends to be open fully on the 4th July
Morzine, Les Gets, Champery and Morgins intend to be open on June 27th
The full lift system is scheduled to close by September 2nd, but talks are underway to extend.
The Morzine and Les Gets lift network intends to be open until 20th September
The Les Gets round of the World Cup is still scheduled to go ahead
The Passportes du Soleil bike festival has been rescheduled to the last weekend in August.
The Aguille de Midi lift in Chamonix intends to open on May 12th.
We are expecting updates every week if not more frequently as we approach the end of May, June 2nd is the date France have set to have every section of society reassessed and given a pathway to ‘business as usual’, or at least given new dates to work toward.
------ April 23rd ------
An announcement from the Portes du Soleil lift companies and resorts arrived on the afternoon of April 23rd. They have slated July 4th as an opening date for the full Portes du Soleil network. If the restrictions and demand allows, they will consider opening earlier, even as far as opening as planned on June 20th.
At the time of writing this has not been Government sanctioned and there will be certain social distancing measures in place.
The resorts still plan to open until September 20th as originally advertised, though everything, including the possibility of opening later remains on the table.
Here is their announcement, translated to English;
“The GIE of the Portes du Soleil ski lifts has announced that it will not be possible to open the entire Portes de Soleil ski area on June 13. It is likely that the opening will be on July 4, but if the sanitary conditions allow it some RM will open on June 27, notably Morzine (Pleney), Les Gets, Châtel and Champéry. For now, the closure is scheduled for September 20.
The ski lifts reflect on the cleaning of the installations, how to ensure a social distance, as well as the supply of masks and gels. Information on the measures to be implemented will follow later.”
This does come with plenty of extra information, this is an extremely fluid announcement that will be met with many questions. We followed up with our contacts within the resort in order to flesh out their thinking, here are those conversations in bullet point;
- July 4th definitive opening date for all lifts across the network, pending government approval. This is the Portes du Soleil’s date of choice and does not come from official Government guidelines as yet.
- June 27th is still a possible opening date for some lifts, and maybe even earlier. Though it may sound unlikely, should border restrictions be lifted in time the lift operations can be opened earlier, they are opening based on potential demand.
- Social distancing measures will be put in place on the lifts, though it is not clear what this means, masks and gloves for lift operating staff will be the minimum.
- Lift operations will continue until at least the 20th September, though it has not been confirmed if this means the whole Portes du Soleil.
Very encouraging news at a time when we all need something uplifting! (Pun intended)
You can keep upto date with the FCO travel advice for the country you are travelling to here
- France - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/email-signup
- Italy - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy/email-signup
- Austria - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/austria/email-signup
Should their travel advice change to advise against travelling to your destination and your holiday is affected, we will contact you to discuss your options.
Please note that our standard booking terms and conditions apply to any amendments, cancellations, deposits and final balance payments.
Our deposits are non refundable, however we are happy to move your booking to an alternative date if this is done before your 8 week final balance deadline and availability allows.
There will also be the option to change your travel date if your balance has been paid in full. We are doing this from the final balance due date as to keep it fair for everyone and that also means no one can take the dates after their original booking date so all future moves have the same respect.
See T&C's here - https://www.mtbbeds.com/booking-terms-conditions
It may sound counter-intuitive to pay out more money to guarantee either a holiday or your money back, but that is the way the system works that we operate within.
We ask you to settle the balance payment for your holiday (by the due date detailed on your Confirmation email and MyBooking portal). If the final balance is not paid by the due date and you have not contacted us to request a date move or discuss an alternative option this will be taken as a cancellation of the booking and the deposit held so please keep us in the loop if you decided not to pay or cancel.
We are currently sourcing a new insurance provider due to the pandemic several have pulled out of the industry including ours. All bookings moved from 2020 and taken before the 01/12/2020 are however covered under our previous policy as detailed below.
Because we believe in protecting our clients, and if the worst case scenario did happen you can be secure in the knowledge that your money is protected in full by our Travel Vault insurance policy.
This is called a Passenger Protection Policy and costs us a large sum to have in place each year but we feel it is only fair to protect your money and under the Package Travel Regulations if you are provided with two or more specific elements elements in a package it is a legal operating requirement. PLEASE check a company has this in place before you book any trips.
Seasonal Beds Ltd is a company committed to customer satisfaction and consumer financial protection. We are therefore pleased to announce that, at no extra cost to you, and in accordance with '' The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018'' all passengers booking with Seasonal Beds Ltd are fully insured for the initial deposit, and subsequently the balance of monies paid as detailed in your booking confirmation form. The policy will also include repatriation if required, arising from the cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Seasonal Beds Ltd. This insurance has been arranged by The Travel Vault in conjunction with Towergate Travel through Zurich Insurance PLC.
In the unlikely event of Insolvency, you must Inform Towergate Travel immediately on +44 (0) 1932 334140 or by email at [email protected] . Please ensure you retain the booking confirmation form as evidence of cover and value.
Policy exclusions: This policy will not cover any monies paid for Travel Insurance
How will I know if my travel plans are going to be affected?
We are constantly monitoring the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), and are in constant communications with ABTA and the local health authorities at our destinations. We will respond to any advice by FCO (or foreign government agencies) against non-essential travel to your destination. We will contact you as soon as it is clear that we won’t be able to operate your holiday. However, the unpredictable nature of Coronavirus may mean that decisions about cancelling or changing your holiday may take place just a few days before your departure.
What Happens if I decide to cancel my trip?
If you decide not to travel and choose to cancel your holiday then our usual cancellation terms apply. We advise that you contact your travel insurance provider in advance to check your terms for cancellation. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic certain insurance companies are not providing cover even with FCO advice against travel being in place. Premiums are slightly higher or your MTB Holiday but reasonable.
Will I be covered by my travel insurance if I decide to cancel?
Usually, your travel insurance will only cover you if your trip was planned for an area where there is no FCO advice against travel. We are seeing a move in the insurance industry to honor policies that the FCO now advise against travel to also, you will have to confirm with them. We would advise you check with your travel insurance provider as there may be exceptions for other instances, such as if you are concerned about a serious underlying medical condition.
Should I book holiday insurance?
Yes. Take out holiday insurance to cover trip cancellation and to protect your deposit and full balance if you decide to cancel of if restriction are put in place which mean you can not travel.
If I continue to pay my final balance, will my money still be protected, even though I am paying it in the knowledge that virus may disrupt my trip?
Yes, your money is completely safe. It is insured under a financial failure policy which is obliged by the CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) to cover all funds. As soon as you pay any monies to MTB Beds for a holiday, an insurance policy is taken out on it which is protected by industry rules. The policy protects your money in the event of MTB Beds becoming insolvent and is not related to holiday insurance in any way. This means you can trust that any money paid that maybe paid for a booked trip, or differed to a future trip will be 100% safe.
Should I book a holiday with MTB Beds? Should I pay my final balance if I already have?
If you want to go on an amazing Mountain Bike Holiday, YES! If we cannot operate due to Covid-19 restrictions our terms and conditions apply, you will be offered a full refund.
If you cannot come due to restrictions put in place that mean you could still travel, but for a circumstance beyond your control, email us and we will see what we can do for you on an individual basis.
What happens to my deposit if I have booked a single supplement room
If you have booked a single supplement room we will invoice you for the full price of a single place plus the £ supplement for the full room. if you decide to cancel we will retain 30% of the total holiday cost.
ABTA offers updated advice and FAQs for travellers: www.abta.com/coronavirus
WHO is providing detailed advice on how to protect yourself and rolling updates on the outbreak: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Travellers are advised to read the FCO travel advice for the country they are travelling to: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) TravelHealthPro website: travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries
Fit for Travel: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/disease-prevention-advice/coronavirus-disease-covid-19
A guide about guarding mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.