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Helpful Holidays and Sykes Cottages

 
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Groucho



Joined: 04 Aug 2017
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:06 pm    Post subject: Helpful Holidays and Sykes Cottages Reply with quote

Are there any Helpful Holidays' owners out there who have concerns about the takeover of Helpful Holidays by Sykes Cottages? For example, differences in terms and conditions, with Sykes charging annual fees, and providing no cancellation guarantee. Or just being a small cog in a much bigger wheel? Would be interested to hear from other owners on Helpful Holidays' books.
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Mike&Chrissy



Joined: 04 Sep 2017
Posts: 8
Location: Selsey, West Sussex

PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:24 pm    Post subject: Experience with Sykes Reply with quote

If its any help, we've been with Sykes for just over a year and have given them notice. Apart from issues over their bargain basement pricing we have found that their customer care for owners is appalling.

We have an 18th century seaside cottage and 6 months ago raised our off-peak short break price to avoid customers who just wanted cheap accommodation. Somehow, Sykes reverted to the old price and someone booked for 4 adults at that price. Sykes said they'd cover the difference. Fair enough. Then they let the customer amend the booking to 7 people including an infant. The cottage sleeps 6 and we stipulate no children under 5. We told Sykes. Two days later, still no response so we emailed the customer. He had been contacted by Sykes but they hadn't kept us informed. He says he's agreed with Sykes that the 3 extras will stay elsewhere and he'll bring his nephew instead but the booking still shows 6 people.

We're now worried about a family reunion happening in the cottage! Trying to sort this out is stressing us more than the income is worth.
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Groucho



Joined: 04 Aug 2017
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:24 am    Post subject: Experience with Sykes Reply with quote

Sorry to read about the problems you have encountered with Sykes. It's the sort of thing that worried me when I heard about Helpful Holidays being taken over by Sykes. I hope you have better luck with any new agents you appoint!
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Mike&Chrissy



Joined: 04 Sep 2017
Posts: 8
Location: Selsey, West Sussex

PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:40 am    Post subject: Experience with Sykes Reply with quote

Thanks, Groucho. Something else to look out for is that Sykes don't routinely take a security deposit - and are pretty rubbish at recovering the cost of damage repairs. If Helpful Holidays copy this, I'd recommend that you jump ship.
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akwe-xavante



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 248
Location: East Yorkshire

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before I started I invited a number of Agents to visit the property before I decided who to go with and spoke to friends who have been in the industry for a good few years now too.

Sykes was most disliked by far.

I decided to go with Cottages.com AKA Wyndham Vacation.

Overall I'm very happy with them, if there's an unusual request or a proposed potential booking that doesn't fit in with what I allow they phone and ask. Sometimes I say no, sometimes I say yes but they have never allowed a booking through that doesn't fit what I'm prepared to allow without phoning and asking first.

They do discount as time approaches an un-booked date but I have requested a fixed floor price below which discounting must not drop below and so far this has always been honoured and it has never dropped below it.

They recently introduced 2 night bookings without asking or telling me........... When I became aware of this and unhappy about it I phoned them to stop this and they did with 48hrs.

With Cottages.com you have to keep an eye on them but I have to say that if your not happy they will stop / change things without a fuss and so far they have always honoured and stuck to my requests to stop or restrict something.

I would love to stop bookings that have a dog and children.

Bookings with a dog and no children and vice versa is fine but both together has not been good for me and this is something they say they can't do!!!!!! Or wont!!!!

Otherwise I can't really fault Cottages.com as an agent overall but they are not perfect.
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delilah



Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 102
Location: mersea island, essex

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi
akwe-xavante

I know its a couple of years old, your reply on that thread, but how are you finding cottages.com? thanks
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akwe-xavante



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 248
Location: East Yorkshire

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd give them a nine out of Ten.

Overall very happy with them.
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Graysilk



Joined: 10 Mar 2018
Posts: 3
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:50 am    Post subject: HelpfulHolidays and Sykes Cottages Reply with quote

Hi,
I'm not sure if this thread is still active, I hope so. I am very new to being a landlord and signed with Helpfulholidays on the recommendation of a neighbour who is with them in November 2017. Infact my first guests arrive over Easter.
I have now be advised by HH that they have been taken over by Sykes. Having googled Sykes I am not sure that I want to do business with them. I have received an email from HH informing me that I need to agree online to the Sykes terms and conditions before the 21st March or they will not be able to take any further bookings for my property. This seems a little heavy handed to me and I dont particularly respond to what appears to be coercion.
If HH require me to agree to new terms and conditions is this considered a break of the contract with HH and would that allow me to engage a new Agent?

Any views would be greatly appreciated.
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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."[Mark Twain]
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akwe-xavante



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 248
Location: East Yorkshire

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd phone and ask, best way to find out.

But given that your being asked to agree to new T's & C's etc this sounds like your being asked to basically sign and agree to a new contract.

HOWEVER.....If i were you i wouldn't, dump em. Sykes have an established reputation for under selling, you'll get more bookings but less money, increased footfall, more exposure to risk, wear and tear etc for less money.

I'd move elsswhere, i can recommend cottages.com / Wyndham vacation. Fewer booking but more money overall, less footfall, less exposure to risk and damages etc
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Moonshine



Joined: 30 Jun 2016
Posts: 34
Location: South Devon, UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't like what I hear about either agency, although I've no direct experience. Helpful Holidays used to have a good reputation, but see this recent thread on this forum https://www.laymyhat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=28152&highlight=helpful+holidays. I'm no sort of legal expert, but I personally wouldn't sign up to the Sykes terms and conditions. To me it sounds as though HH has broken their contract and they should therefore refund you.
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Graysilk



Joined: 10 Mar 2018
Posts: 3
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both for your responses.

After reading the link, I'm definitely not going to sign the new T&C's and get locked into a Sykes contract.

In one of the emails I received from HH about the takeover it did mention that Sykes would be able to increase occupancy by basically getting a lower price, which I am not happy about as my property is of a very high standard and deserves a premium rent. Also that they now have an agreement with AirBNB for short breaks!!!!!

I certainly going to have to do something about it. Maybe if I contact an alternative Agency they may have already had some experience of landlords with similar issues wanting to leave Sykes and can assist.
_________________
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."[Mark Twain]
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Graysilk



Joined: 10 Mar 2018
Posts: 3
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:01 am    Post subject: HelpfulHolidays and Sykes Cottages Reply with quote

Helpful Holidays have removed my property from their website because I hadnt acknowledged their new Terms and Conditions which are the same a the Sykes T&C's

Has anyone else been delisted?

I was actually in correspondence with them clarifying some of the various details before making a final decision and then this happens.

I have to say they did warn me but I thought that as I signed a contract with them in November that it would still be honored.

Can they just delist me with impunity?

Doesnt seem anyway to foster a sense of trust in your agent.
_________________
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."[Mark Twain]
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