Sometimes our call centre team have to call customers after they book to tell them that the price for their holiday has increased, or that an element that they’ve selected is unavailable. This can obviously be a little confusing and sometimes annoying, so we wanted to write this article to explain why this can happen.
Two of the big benefits of booking with an online travel agent like On the Beach are great prices and flexibility; package holidays are often around 50% more expensive with tour operators and their range is sometimes limited.
On the Beach is here to allow customers to search lots of different flight providers (including the low cost airlines), flight times and airports, so you can choose the flights that best fit your needs. We also provide customers with access to thousands of hotels, board and room types so we can give you even more choice and flexibility.
So why can bookings sometimes not be confirmed?
Our website pricing is live, this means that we take the latest price information from our suppliers and feed it into the website. However, a small proportion of bookings cannot be confirmed at the price quoted at checkout. This could be for a number of reasons; supplier prices and availability change at very short notice (even in the time it takes to fill in your names/address etc).
In booking online, you are PLACING AN ORDER and upon receiving this, our system will try to book the holiday at the price you have seen. If the system is not able to book your order at the price displayed, we will call you to explain your options.
At this point, WE DON’T TAKE ANY MONEY. We call the customer back and let them know of the price increase, giving them an option to cancel the booking at no cost, pay the additional cost and confirm the order, or look for a suitable alternative with the help of our advisors.
So why does the lower price sometimes stay on the website?
Our website collects third party information from airlines and hotel suppliers in order to give you the price you see. The airlines supply the price of one seat on the flight and our website multiplies this price by how many people the customer has requested.
The airlines, however, will increase their seat prices after a certain amount of seats are sold (usually about 9) and therefore, if there are not the required number of seats remaining at the price showing, the order will be set to pending and a sales advisor will give the customer a call to ask if they wish to continue with the increase.
They are therefore still purchasing some seats at the lower price, however, there will be at least one of the passengers who will be in the higher price band, unfortunately pushing the overall cost up. This is why sometimes the lower price will stay on our website for several days; as long as there’s at least one seat at the price showing, then that’s the price our website will display.
We know that can be frustrating but we think this is better for our customers than cancelling their order automatically. Our team of developers are constantly working to make sure our prices are as up to date as possible, and we’re proud to say that our data is more up to date than any other UK travel agent.