Holidaymakers can avoid sunbed race by booking ahead

Sun loungers by a pool. Picture: Creative Commons.
Sun loungers by a pool. Picture: Creative Commons.

Holidaymakers are being offered the chance to reserve sunbeds without the daily dash to put a towel down.

Thomas Cook customers willing to pay 25 euros (£22) will be able to book a specific lounger for their entire stay.

It says it is the UK’s first package holiday company to provide such a service.

Travel firms receive numerous complaints from customers unable to use hotel sunbeds because many are reserved by people leaving towels, books and other belongings on them.

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A number of videos have been posted online in recent months showing desperate holidaymakers waiting for hotel pools to open in the early hours of the morning so they can bag a sunbed.

Thomas Cook believes its new service will prove popular with families who want to spend more time together in their preferred location.

It commissioned a poll of 1,500 working parents which found that three out of four (74%) feel they “lack quality time with their children” during an average weekday.

Half (50%) of those surveyed said holidays are their top spending priority in 2018.

Thomas Cook’s UK managing director Chris Mottershead said: “Traditional package holidays are a thing of the past.

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“Holidaymakers today want to personalise their package, mixing and matching the elements that best fit their needs and lifestyle.

“We’re excited about the opportunity with Choose Your Favourite Sunbed, particularly among families that want to secure a number of beds together in a specific spot.”

Sunbeds will be displayed on a map featuring a compass to help people work out whether certain areas will be in the sun or shade a different times of the day.

Only a proportion of a hotel’s sunbeds will be bookable, in a bid to ensure there are still enough sunbeds for those who do not want to pay the premium.

The scheme is being trialled in three hotels from the end of next month, and will be available in 30 hotels this summer.