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Hotels (Charges)

Volume 929: debated on Wednesday 6 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he intends to introduce compulsory displays in hotels; and whether he will make a statement.

Extensive discussions have been held with the industry about providing guests with adequate information in advance about their charges for accommodation. I am glad to say that a new code of booking practice will be voluntarily introduced in time for this year's main holiday season in establishments with four or more guest bedrooms. The main feature will be that, before a booking is taken up, managements abid- ing by the code will give the customer a card at reception stating the total charge for his room and meals included in the booking, taking account of VAT and any service charge. Certain other basic particulars about the accommodation will be included, such as the provision or otherwise of a private bathroom.Publishers of some leading accommodation guides have taken part in the discussions leading to the introduction of the code. Furthermore, I have been given to understand that from 1978 onwards those guides will list establishments agreeing to observe this code, and I am inviting other publishers to extend this principle to their guides.These arrangements, which will enable guests to check the prospective minimum charge for their own bookings from the start, go rather further than could be required by order, and I hope they will prove to be but a start to raising the booking services provided in our tourist trade. I congratulate the industry on their establishment.My colleagues, the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales, and I also wish to provide for the display in the reception areas of hotels maximum and minimum overnight charges, and discussions are being held with local authority organisations and others concerned with a view to introducing an order in this Parliament to require such display under Section 18 of the Development of Tourism Act 1969.