Whenever a customer books with sunshine.co.uk, we offer them an opportunity to provide feedback on the website, the booking process and to raise any questions or pass on any suggestions they have. We’ve compiled a list of the most frequent queries (that don’t really fit into our FAQ section) and asked our MD Chris Brown to reply.
Question: We currently charge 2% when a customer chooses to pay by Credit Card. This was the most frequently mentioned point, why don’t we include the charges in the price, like we do for all the other fees, taxes, baggage and add-on costs?
Chris Brown: When a customer chooses to book with a Debit Card, it costs us a fixed price of a few pence, so this is absorbed into the price. When a customer chooses to pay by credit card, we pass on the cost of making this transaction to the customer. If we included the 2% fee into all bookings, this would unfairly impact those customers who choose to pay by Debit Card. Currently around 60% of our customers pay by Debit Card, 40% by Credit Card.
It’s a bugbear when we hear companies saying that they’ve done away with credit card charges, when what they’re actually doing is screwing you if you pay by Debit Card.
Question: Why don’t we carry any hotel reviews, either from our customers or from a site like Tripadvisor?
Chris Brown: We love hotel reviews! Really, it’s where this all started for us. The simple reason we don’t publish hotel reviews from customers is that we’re not sure potential customers visiting the site would believe that all the reviews were un-edited and genuine, since we are in the business of trying to sell you a holiday!
The other option we considered was using the reviews from Tripadvisor, however this requires us to pay a small sum per hotel, per year to Tripadvisor, and as there are over 16,000 hotels available on sunshine.co.uk, when you add it up (16,000 x £few = £lots) it suddenly becomes a rather large number.
We’d still recommend all our customers go and do their research on any hotel they are considering booking, using the multitude of review sites that are available.
Question: Why don’t we offer extra rewards or discounts to loyal customers or offer our customers incentives for referring friends & family to sunshine.co.uk ?
Chris Brown: For the same reason we don’t ever have a “SALE”, we don’t offer discount codes or vouchers. We want sunshine.co.uk to offer the best prices we can, all year round, to everyone. We do appreciate our regular loyal customers, and word of mouth is one of the best selling tools we have. We just make sure that we keep all our customers happy and offer them the best prices we can.
Question: Why doesn’t Ryanair feature on sunshine.co.uk’s flight search?
Chris Brown: We love Ryanair and I have a great admiration for Michael O’Leary. We’d really love to sell Ryanair on sunshine.co.uk, but they aren’t so keen. Ryanair don’t want anyone else to sell their flights, so all customers go through their own website and hopefully spend some extra cash on hotels, car hire etc. Ryanair really don’t like travel agents selling their flights (as many mark up the prices) and have threatened to sue any who do, and to refuse a customer entry to the aircraft if they are found to have booked through a travel agency.
Question: Why do hotels return similar room types at different prices?
Chris Brown: When you do a hotel search on sunshine.co.uk, the website actually goes off and searches several different suppliers in the background. While we try very hard to narrow all the results down to one price per type of room and board, often the suppliers provide slightly different names for the exact same room. The advice we give is to always book the cheapest one!
Thanks to Chris for his answers, and many thanks to all our customers who take the time to complete our surveys. There were lots of other suggestions that we’ve taken on-board and are using to improve the website, some of which we’ll roll out over the next few weeks.
Posted : Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 at 16:44