Guests and owner of Northamptonshire glamping site speak out after series of issues during Grand Prix weekend
Some guests turned up to the ‘luxury’ camping site to find deflated air beds and no pump, but the owner says this was an ‘emergency measure’
A number of issues were experienced at a glamping site in Northamptonshire during the Grand Prix weekend.
Motorsport Camping and Glamping in Bleak Hill, Dadford Road, Silverstone advertised luxury camping accommodation for customers who were attending the nearby Grand Prix on the weekend of - and leading up to - July 17 and 18.
Guests have since reported serious complaints about the glamping site not offering the facilities promised, which the owner claims is due to Booking.com ‘overbooking’ the site.
The owner says he had 63 tents prepared for those guests who had paid online and completed the online check-in form, which was a condition added to bookings a while after confirmation, so many other campers turned up.
While the issues are investigated, the site has been suspended from Booking.com.
The upset and frustrated customer, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “We found the accommodation on Booking.com and it offered luxury tents, free parking, a kitchen, beds and bed linen, towels, a picnic area, half board, a bar and entertainment.
“When we arrived there was a queue of angry people and we had nothing.
“It was nothing like the photos on Booking.com - it was supposed to be dressed in a Moroccan theme.
“There was only four showers for the whole site, there was supposed to be 11 rows of tents and there was only nine, it was supposed to be half board, with a bar and entertainment and there was no food available other than a pizza van where you had to pay and we had two deflated air beds, with no pump.
“It was a horrendous experience and one we’d paid nearly £700 for.”
The owner, Wayne Atkinson, says the air beds were an ‘emergency measure’ once ‘far more’ people turned up than had checked in online.
Mr Atkinson told Chronicle & Echo: “People who booked in December to March while we were in lockdown, were told they could pay on arrival.
“However we were told by authorities that pay on arrival would not be acceptable in case the card machine failed and there ended up being a backlog of traffic.
“We sent out online booking forms and made several attempts to contact everyone who had booked to let them know they needed to pay online and check-in online, prior to arrival.
“However many never paid or made any contact.
“The 63 tents accounted for had beds, but a lot more people arrived than had checked in. We had more than 100 tents needed.
“The air beds were an emergency measure because we had so many people there who had nowhere to stay.
“With the bar, because there were so many people there we were advised not to open and that’s where the food would have been provided too.”
Since the Grand Prix weekend, the customer has been in contact with the owner, who has said he will issue a refund, but others are still waiting for contact.
Mr Atkinson added: “The issue was with Booking.com.
“We had 63 online check-ins that we were prepared for and had tents kitted out for.
“Booking.com overbooked from that 63 so we are trying to establish how that happened.
“It is a mess and a nightmare.
“We’re working hard to establish what has gone wrong, who was entitled to be on site and then we’ll look at working out what we think is fair for a refund.
“Some people will get a full refund, but others may not.”
Mr Atkinson also claims he has made 33 attempts to call the Booking.com head office to establish how the overbooking was allowed to happen, but has not been able to get an answer.
Following on from the fiasco, the site and the owner has been suspended from Booking.com and the company is urging customers to contact its customer service team.
A spokeswoman for Booking.com said: “On the rare occasion that a customer's experience at a property doesn't match their expectations or if the property is unable to accommodate their stay, we would urge them to reach out to our customer service team ASAP, who are available 24/7 to offer support and to help find a suitable resolution for everyone involved.
“In this instance, as this is not the experience we would want for any of our guests, we have currently suspended the property from taking any reservations on our site.
“We will work with the partner to address how they prepare their property and facilities to ensure all future guests have a good experience.
“We have apologised to all impacted guests and are currently helping with relocations and refunds, which includes covering the difference in cost for any alternative accommodation.”
Booking.com was given more than one opportunity to respond to claims that it overbooked the site, however the company has not responded.