New product for travellers hit by holiday rental scams

Couple arriving at non-existent Airbnb

In response to research showing a worrying rise in the number of travellers being conned by non-existent holiday rentals, Guardhog has unveiled a new product to protect them

Guardhog’s research, which polled 2,000 travellers from the UK, found that one in 10 Brits have at some point discovered that their short-term rental property or Airbnb or similar does not in fact exist – usually upon their arrival. And even when the property does turn out to be real, 25 per cent of respondents said that they were disappointed.

Guardhog also found that 69 per cent of Brits do not realise that many travel insurance policies may not cover them if their accommodation is a scam or misrepresentation. In response, it has developed Guestcover, a new protection product for travellers booking accommodation via sites such as Airbnb. The product provides coverage throughout the traveller’s stay, including the option to source alternative accommodation and safe travel, if the pre-booked accommodation turns out to be inadequate – or, indeed, if it doesn’t exist.

“The majority of travellers using home-sharing platforms haven’t even considered what happens when the home they’ve booked has a holiday-ending incident [such as] a leak [or] a fire, or if it’s simply not there,” said Humphrey Bowles, CEO and co-Founder of Guardhog. “This is compounded as there is an alarming mis-perception that their travel insurance covers home-sharing disasters. Guests deserve to stay in the property they’ve paid for and when their expectations are not met – or when they fall victim to scams – they deserve to be compensated. And that’s where Guestcover comes in. We are committed to helping travellers book their accommodation with full confidence that if they don’t get what they booked, we’re there to help.”