British Airways To Launch Its New Thrice-Weekly Direct Service From Gatwick To Male In The Maldives

British Airways is to launch its new thrice-weekly direct service from Gatwick to Male in the Maldives from October 25, 2009.

The new service will be the first time ever British Airways has offered flights to the Maldives. The new flights to Malé will depart Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

As well as flights to The Maldives, British Airways will be adding Sharm El Sheikh to its already extensive network. Richard Tams, British Airways’ head of UK & Ireland sales, said: “These new routes will be great assets to the BA network and a real winner with customers. They are both perfect holiday destinations, known for their great beaches and fantastic diving. We’re particularly pleased to be serving a completely new destination, the Maldives and returning to Sharm El Sheikh. We expect both routes to perform well.”

Holidays in The Maldives will introduce British Airways customers to a fantastic selection of tiny palm fringed coral islands each with its own exclusive resort hotel. Each of these international standard hotels in the Maldives, is four or five stars in quality offering a great range of activities such as diving, snorkelling, sailing and fishing, or you can simply laze your days away sunbathing on a stunning white, sandy beach.

Among the hotels suitable for a romantic break in the Maldives, are the recently opened 5 star Coco Palm Bodu Hithi, the 5 star Four Seasons Resort at Landaa and the 5 star Four Seasons Resort at Kuda Huraa. Seaplane or boat transfers are included in the price of all British Airways Maldives resort hotels regardless if customers book a hotel only stay or a package holiday.

The routes will be operated by Boeing 777 aircraft with a three-class configuration: World Traveller, World Traveller Plus and Club World.

Via EPR Network

Wild Excitement Ahead As Wild Wadi Turns Ten

Jumeirah’s Wild Wadi Waterpark, Dubai’s favourite family destination, has announced that it is celebrating its 10th birthday on October 10th 2009 and to help join in the festivities Jumeirah is inviting its friends to splash and giggle at its action-packed birthday party.

Wild Excitement Ahead As Wild Wadi Turns Ten

To get the celebrations underway, Jumeirah has organised a range of fun activities and exciting entertainment for all of its guests, including carnival performers, drummers, magicians and dancers, and many more surprises to be enjoyed along with the usual thrill-inducing Wild Wadi Waterpark waterslides.

In addition, because no birthday celebration would be complete without a gift, any child who is also having their 10th birthday on October 10th, they will get free access to Wild Wadi along with some special gifts in honour of their special day. Children who are 10 years old, but whose birthday is not on October 10th, can also look forward to a special day, thanks to a special discounted entry rate to the park; after all, being 10 years old is a big deal.

In between blowing up balloons, Chris Perry, General Manager of Wild Wadi Water Park and Official Birthday Cake Taster commented: “Wild Wadi Waterpark loves birthday parties – especially when it is our own. We are very proud to be 10 years old, and we want to celebrate this milestone properly with all of our friends. With the help of some special entertaining guests and a whole party bag of surprises we’ve managed to make Wild Wadi Waterpark even more fun and exciting than usual; we can’t wait to celebrate.”

Via EPR Network

FIFA World Cup Section Added to The Emirates Tours Web Site

To coincide with the launch of Emirates Tours’ travel packages for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the tour operating arm of Emirates Airline has launched a new section on its website to highlight the new luxury holiday options.

A range of luxury holidays in South Africa enable football fans to enjoy the FIFA World Cup with the minimum of fuss. Booking an Emirates Tours package means flights, hotels, match tickets and ground transport are all taken care of. Customers can book luxury holidays now – before the draw is made for the FIFA World Cup – and be based in either Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban. Emirates Tours expects the highest demand to be for England tickets although other teams’ tickets are also available.

The new web section gives details of the way these luxury holiday deals can be customised, and has an extensive frequently asked questions guide as well as a brochure for the 2010 FIFA World Cup with prices and a list of terms and conditions.

The FIFA World Cup packages are available to customers through the Emirates Tours website or by phoning the tour operator directly.

Fabio Prestijacopo, General Manager for Emirates Tours UK, said: “We’re very excited about the new section detailing the packages that are sold exclusively via Emirates Tours in the UK. Customers can find all the information they need about the packages by downloading our brochure.”

“Booking through our dedicated FIFA World Cup reservations team or purchasing online is straight forward and we truly believe we have created a user friendly experience.”

Emirates Tours is offering football fans the choice of flights from six UK airports (Heathrow, London Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow) to three South African cities: Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban.

Emirates’ partnership with FIFA began at the 2006 FIFA World Cup when it became the first airline to be a sponsor of the prestigious sporting event. Following on from the success of the tournament in Germany, Emirates then cemented its status as an Official FIFA Partner up to and including the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Via EPR Network

Jumeirah Group Signed An Agreement With SGTM Immobilier To Manage The Jumeirah Marrakech Golf & Polo Resort

Jumeirah Group, the Dubai-based luxury hospitality group and member of Dubai Holding, has recently signed an agreement with SGTM Immobilier, a subsidiary of the Société Générale des Travaux du Maroc (SGTM), to manage the Jumeirah Marrakech Golf & Polo Resort, a new luxury golf and polo resort located seven kilometres to the south of Marrakech, in the lee of the Atlas Mountains. The entire negotiation and consultancy process has been conducted by Business Experts.

Scheduled to open in three stages from January 2013, Jumeirah Marrakech Golf & Polo Resort will include a five star deluxe golf hotel and 18 hole golf course, complete with clubhouse and academy; a five star polo hotel with two polo fields and one practice course, a third five star hotel and spa, souk and residential villas.

The golf hotel will be comprised of 230 rooms and suites as well as 50 luxury villas. The boutique polo hotel will offer 100 rooms, while the third, and largest, of the hotels will offer approximately 300 uniquely-designed rooms and suites. This mixed-use development will cover 177 hectares of land and in addition to the facilities listed above, will also offer a variety of restaurants, bars and lounges (some located in a purpose built souk), a 2,500 square metre Talise spa, and ballroom conference facilities for up to 900 people.

“We are delighted to announce the signing of this unique development. The Jumeirah Marrakech Golf & Polo Resort is a welcome addition to Jumeirah Group’s diverse portfolio as we continue to expand around the world,” commented Gerald Lawless, Executive Chairman, Jumeirah Group. “Marrakech is truly the heartbeat of Morocco and possesses a rich and varied cultural inheritance. Jumeirah Group is proud to have our roots in the Arabian culture and we look forward to offering our guests a unique and authentic, world class, luxury experience within Morocco.”

Ahmed Kabbaj, CEO of SGTM Immobilier added: “Marrakech is the jewel of our Kingdom and as such, we felt duty-bound to associate a world leading operator to our project. We are therefore honoured to be working in partnership with Jumeirah on this one-of-a-kind resort. With their world class expertise and knowledge of Middle Eastern culture, Jumeirah will ensure that our guests get the best out of the Red City’s magic.”

Via EPR Network

Market Differentiation Is Key To A Successful Cheap Holidays Comparison Website

So says online holiday price comparison website BeatTheBrochure.com. And they should know. Bringing a business like theirs to prominence in a hideously crowded market, during a global recession, at a time when the Euro exchange rate is clobbering UK holidaymakers across the continent, has been challenging. To say the least. So what’s the secret to cheap holidays price comparison success?

“First and foremost, your price comparison website has to do exactly what it says on the tin.” Says BeatTheBrochure. “No matter how strong your brand is, if you can’t deliver your brand promise you’re stuffed.”

Which is why their team has invested so much time, thought and care into creating holiday price comparison software that is unique in the market. “If you don’t deliver the goods consistently people won’t come back, and repeat custom equals commercial success.”

In the holiday business, price is a high priority. Cheap holidays have become part of our national culture and consumer expectations are high. So if a price comparison site doesn’t return the best deals, or fails to search all the top holiday suppliers, it is missing the mark by a mile. “Our comparison technology returns the best value cheap holidays every time” a BeatTheBrochure staff insists. “And we connect with household names like Thomson, First Choice and Thomas Cook as well as a huge range of secure, trusted holiday providers.”

Via EPR Network

HostelBookers Is The Price Leader For Hostels And Budget Accommodation

The study, conducted by Reed Business Insight, compared over 900 hostels worldwide, with HostelBookers offering the lowest prices in 90 per cent of cases. On average HostelBookers were found to be 5.1 per cent cheaper than Hostelworld.

For example, customers booking a two-night stay for two people in a double en suite room at the Welcome Inn Backpackers hostel in Singapore will save £112.52 with HostelBookers. On average hostels in Singapore are 17 per cent cheaper with HostelBookers than Hostelworld.

Other destinations where HostelBookers offered significant savings compared to Hostelworld prices, were Belgrade at 12 per cent, Bucharest at 13 per cent, Moscow at 14 per cent and Lima at 15 per cent.

Individual hostels that offer the most significant savings included the Funnytime Hotel, Bucharest, at 62 per cent; the Peravel Beach Holiday Home, Goa, at 53 per cent; the City Center hostel in Belgrade at 53 per cent and Auckland’s Frienz.com Backpackers Accommodation at 53 per cent. Budget-conscious travellers can now book these properties through HostelBookers’ newly revamped website.

David Smith, chief operating officer at HostelBookers, said, “We are experiencing a phenomenal year in 2009, thanks to our cheap prices. The fact that HostelBookers works so closely with all our travel partners to negotiate the lowest price and doesn’t charge a booking fee, means that we’re able to pass these savings on to our ever-growing customer base.

“We’re delighted to be able to say with research-backed certainty that we are offering the best value in the budget sector of the travel industry, which is becoming more and more popular with consumers”, Smith added.

HostelBookers has now been confirmed as the leader of the pack when it comes to low cost accommodation, and to celebrate they are launching a 10 Day Free Holiday Giveaway. The prize draw will be open for participation from 1st to 10th October 2009 inclusive. Anyone booking a hostel, hotel or room will be entered into a prize draw, and one lucky person per day will get their entire accommodation costs refunded.

HostelBookers features 14,000 hostels in over 3,000 destinations and is the only website in the industry not to charge a booking fee.

Via EPR Network

Report Sees 17 Per Cent Drop In US Hotels Prices

According to the recently released hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HPI), the average price of a hotel room in the U.S fell 17 percent in the first six months of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. Room rates in the U.S now cost, on average, $115 a night, down from $139 the year before.

“This is by far the most significant change in prices we’ve seen since we created the Hotel Price Index. Americans’ travel dollars have never gone farther than in 2009,” said David Roche, President of hotels.com. “As properties continue to roll out discounts and other incentives to attract guests, the gap between the top star categories has narrowed, giving travelers more value and making luxury more accessible than any other time in the past five years.”

The United States followed a larger global trend with room rates around the world down 17 percent in the first half of the year, according to the HPI. The fall in room rates was driven by price drops across every continent with hotel rooms in Europe down 16 percent, rates in North America and Asia both declining 17 percent, and hotel prices in Latin America falling 18 percent.

Hotels.com’s HPI revealed that Las Vegas overtook New York City as the favourite domestic destination for U.S travellers in the first half of 2009, with room rates in Las Vegas hotels just $82 a night on average. Destinations rounding out the top five U.S. favourites included New York City, Orlando, Chicago hotels and San Francisco.

Las Vegas and New York hotels, also both experienced the nation’s greatest drop in room rates with each destination down 30 percent compared to the same period the previous year. Despite this fall in hotel prices, New York City still held its spot as the most expensive U.S. destination of those tracked in the global list, with prices averaging $196 during Q1 and Q2 2009.

Among the states, New York was the most expensive destination, followed by Hawaii, Massachusetts and Wyoming, whose ski tourism helped boost hotel prices in the state. The nation’s least expensive states in the first half of 2009 included Nevada, with room rates just $77 on average, Idaho and Kansas.

The hotels.com HPI tracks the real prices paid per hotel room rather than advertised rates, using a weighted average based on the number of rooms sold in each of the markets hotels.com operates in. The recent HPI report examines hotel prices paid at 78,000 hotels across 13,000 locations around the world for the period January to June 2009, compared to the same period the year before.

The international scale of hotels.com in terms of both customers and destinations makes the HPI one of the most comprehensive benchmarks available, as it incorporates chain and independent hotels, as well as specialty lodging options such as vacation rentals and bed and breakfast properties.

Via EPR Network

Brits Looking Beyond the Eurozone as Pound Plummets

Hotels.com has revealed that the plummeting pound has prompted a rush amongst British travellers to look for a getaway beyond the major Eurozone destinations. With the Euro almost at parity with the pound, the cost of a holiday in many continental cities has spiralled for Brits heading abroad.

Hotels.com, the leading online accommodation website, has seen a surge in searches for breaks in cities where the pound remains relatively strong against local currencies, as travellers look to make their money go further.

The steepest increase in searches came in the Moroccan city of Marrakech. As the pound has sunk, searches for hotels in the city are up by 250%. Searches for Reykjavik hotels have risen 60% while searches for Istanbul are up by one fifth.

What’s more, according to the Hotels.com Hotel Price Index, all but one of these destinations – Istanbul – have seen the average cost of a hotel room fall, some by as much as 29%, meaning that many travellers are seeing now as a great time to bag an overseas bargain without having to venture too far from home.

Alison Couper, Director of Communications at Hotels.com, said: “There has never been a better time for Brits to explore cities that they might think are off the beaten track. Why not swap Paris for Prague or sample Reykjavik over Rome to escape the falling pound and see holiday budgets stretch a bit further?

“Meantime, for travellers who do want to head to the major culture capitals of the Eurozone, there are still some fantastic deals to be found. While the exchange rates might not be in our favour, there are still bargains out there as hoteliers look to fill their rooms, with savings of up to 40% on hotels in Europe.”

Via EPR Network

Europe’s Biggest Holiday Spenders

Hotels.com’s latest Hotel Price Index (HPI) has revealed that Irish and Norwegian travellers are bearing the mantle of being Europe’s biggest spenders when travelling abroad, spending on average €122 per night on a hotel room.

Despite the economic climate, the Irish have retained the title for two years in a row as Europe’s biggest spenders when it comes to hotel rooms when they leave their own country, according to the figures for Q1 and Q2 2009 released in the new HPI report.

In terms of hotel room spend abroad, the Irish and Norwegians are closely followed by British and Swedish travellers who are willing to pay on average €120 and €119 each per night respectively.

The figure for Irish spending habits on hotels abroad has however dropped slightly to €122 from €134 on hotel rooms per night from the previous HPI report, released in March 2009, which recorded activity for the period October to December 2008 compared to the same period the year before.

The Germans and the Finns are at the other end of the scale, spending the least on hotel rooms when compared to their European counterparts, with the Germans spending on average €107 and the Finns just €104.

Alison Couper, Director of Communications at Hotels.com, commented:

“It is very interesting to see that the Irish have retained the title as the biggest spenders in Europe on hotel rooms when travelling outside their own country and is probably why they are welcome tourists throughout the world. The Irish have earned a reputation for being great spenders while on recreational breaks.”

The Hotels.com HPI is a regular survey of hotel prices in major city destinations across the world. The HPI is based on bookings made on Hotels.com, and prices shown are those actually paid by customers (rather than advertised rates), in the first six months of 2009 compared with the same period in 2008. The HPI tracks the real prices paid per room by Hotels.com customers around the world using a weighted average based on the number of rooms sold in each of the markets that Hotels.com operates in. Approximately 78,000 properties in more than 13,000 locations make up the sample set of hotels from which prices are taken.

About Hotels.com
As part of the Expedia group which operates in all major markets, Hotels.com offers more than 100,000 quality hotels, B&Bs and serviced apartments worldwide including Eburgh hotelshotels in LondonRome hotels and cheap New York hotels.

Via EPR Network

British Airways Prepares For The Launch Of Its New Twice-Weekly Service From Gatwick To Punta Cana In The Dominican Republic

British Airways prepares for the launch of its new twice-weekly service from Gatwick to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic from October 26, 2009 reinforcing its position as the airline with more flights to the Caribbean than any other UK carrier.

In addition to the flights to Punta Cana, the airline is also increasing flights to other winter sun hot-spots in the region such as St Lucia (from three to five flights a week), Barbados (from nine to ten) and Port of Spain, Trinidad (from three to five). Overall, BA will now fly 45 times a week to the Caribbean.

Richard Tams, head of sales at British Airways, said; “These new routes and increased frequencies underline our commitment to the Caribbean. It’s a popular destination with our customers and it’s due to demand that we’re increasing the number of flights to the region. We now operate to 13 destinations in the Caribbean – more than any other UK airline.”

Holidays in the Dominican Republic mean relaxing on sun-kissed beaches and snorkelling above colourful reefs, strolling along the 16th-century cobblestone streets of the capital in Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone or taking a hiking holiday in the Dominican Republic’s forested inland.

British Airways has a wide range of hotels in the Dominican Republic, like the 5* Dreams Palm Beach which is situated in an idyllic location, on a gorgeous beach with luxury accommodation and a fantastic kids Explorer’s Club. Alternatively, those looking for pure relaxation, can try the 5* Zoetry Agua Punta Cana, offering complimentary private chauffeured return airport transfers rounding up a holiday in style.

All the British Airways hotels in the Dominican Republic have easy access to some of the most beautiful beaches and range from large, attractive, low-rise resorts to smaller, more intimate hotels, ensuring British Airways has a great selection of 3* to 5* hotels, covering a wide variety of tastes and a mixture of budgets too.

Via EPR Network

Arthur Hoffman To Take On Top Role At Venere.com

Hotels.com has revealed that Arthur Hoffman is to be the new Managing Director of Venere.com, the European online hotel reservations specialist recently acquired by Hotels.com’s parent company, Expedia.com.

In his new role Hoffman will be responsible for spearheading the development of Venere.com, continuing its growth from a leading European enterprise into a global player in the hotel accommodation booking arena. He will work with a dynamic and experienced team based in Rome.

David Roche, President of Hotels.com and Venere.com, commented: “I am delighted to have Arthur onboard. He is an experienced travel professional with a proven track record in developing and growing businesses. His considerable experience will be highly beneficial to the Venere.com brand and we look forward to seeing it develop from strength to strength under his leadership.”

Hoffman brings with him a wealth of experience in the travel market. For the past five years he has held the position of Managing Director of Expedia’s Asia Pacific region. In this role he has been responsible for overseeing all Expedia’s operations in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and India, as well as the continued growth of the Expedia brand across the APAC region.

Prior to joining Expedia, Hoffman was General Manager for Qantas Holidays, a role which saw him take responsibility for strategy, e-Commerce and IT for the brand.

During his career Hoffman has also served as a strategy consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton and Arthur Andersen. Hoffman holds an MA in Science from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands and an MBA from INSEAD in France.

Hoffman takes over the Managing Director role at Venere.com from Emmanuel de Rycker, who leaves the company to become the European Managing Director of Circles, recently acquired by Sodexo, based in London.

Roche continued: “Emmanuel has grown and developed the Venere.com business and has integrated it into Expedia after the acquisition last year, and he now passes on the baton to Arthur. We wish Emmanuel every success in his future endeavours.”

Hoffman will continue to serve as a Director on the board of eLong, Inc, the second largest online travel provider in China, of which Expedia, Inc. is a major shareholder.

Via EPR Network

Warner Leisure Hotels Has Revealed Details Of Its Upcoming Festive Breaks

Warner Leisure Hotels has revealed details of its upcoming festive breaks – for Christmas, New Year and in between – for the 2009 season.

The announced four and five night Christmas breaks and the three and four night New Year breaks are all full board and feature a feast of optional daytime activities, relaxing leisure facilities, traditional Christmas dinner or a Gala New Year Eve’s dinner, and the unique blend of Warner entertainment. A variety of live performances are planned across the various Warner Leisure Hotels.

As well as the usual en-suite accommodation and range of activities, Warner Leisure Hotels is providing a range of seasonal treats, such as a visit from Santa, a special Christmas dinner and a New Year’s Eve party with a fireworks display to see in 2010.

Frances Pardell, PR manager for Warner Leisure Hotels, said: “Last year’s festive period was a huge success. We totally sold out in the South West ‘triangle’ Holme Lacy, Littlecote and Cricket St Thomas, and experimented with setting up a Warner’s holiday experience in another hotel in the Four Pillars Costwold Hotel. This year we’ve listened to our guests, as we always do, and offered them more ‘product’ so they are getting more things in their breaks.”

Subject to availability, these three, four or five day breaks can be booked up until the last minute.

In addition to the usual festive dates, Warner Leisure Hotels is also providing a range of special ‘Twixmas’ breaks for those looking for a break between Christmas and New Year.

Via EPR Network

Hotel Prices in Scotland Tumble

Hotels.com has revealed that the average price of a hotel room across Scotland tumbled during the first half of 2009.

The Hotel.com Hotel Price Index showed that hotel prices in the major Scottish cities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness all fell in the first half of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008, making a holiday in Scotland even more affordable for UK travellers.

Aberdeen led the price falls in Scotland, where prices dropped by 25% to an average of £83 during the first half of the year when compared to the same time last year. Hoteliers in Inverness also slashed prices to cope with falling demand – down 20% to just £68 per room per night.

The two major cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow also showed a reduction, but their figures were not as pronounced as much of the rest of the nation. Edinburgh hotels experienced a 9% price fall to £91 per night, yet remained the most expensive Scottish city, whilst Glasgow did not suffer such severe price falls, with a drop of just 5% making it the seventh most expensive destination in the UK.

The Hotels.com Hotel Price Index tracks the real prices paid per hotel room (rather than advertised rates) for 78,000 hotels across 13,000 locations around the world. The latest Hotel Price Index looks at prices from January to June 2009, compared to the same period in 2008.

Via EPR Network

Hotel Prices In London Drop By 12%, Report Says

Hotels.com’s latest Hotel Price Index (HPI) has revealed that despite hotel prices in London falling by 12% in the first half of 2009, as compared with the same period in 2008, the capital still remains the second most expensive city in the UK for hotel rooms.

The new HPI has shown that the average price of staying in a hotel in London now costs just £101 per night, which is down from £115 a year ago. This means that a couple from the UK would be able to save an average of £98 on hotel rooms for a week’s break in London, compared with 2008.

This reduction has come at a time amid the worldwide economic turmoil when London hotel owners are striving to highlight to travellers that now is the ideal time to take a break in the capital.

Whilst across the UK the average hotel prices for UK travellers fell by an average of 16%, providing good news for those looking to holiday near home, the news was even better for overseas visitors to the UK. The weakness of the Pound coupled with hoteliers lowering their rates to stimulate business meant that the average price paid by travellers from Europe or the US were even lower, down by as much as 39% for US travellers in one UK city.

Prices paid were down in every major UK destination, with Southampton (down 33%), Belfast (down 29%) and Aberdeen (down 25%) experiencing the steepest price falls for UK travellers.

The Hotels.com Hotel Price Index tracks the real prices paid per hotel room (rather than advertised rates) for 78,000 hotels across 13,000 locations around the world. The latest HPI looks at prices from January to June 2009, compared to the same period in 2008.

Via EPR Network

Report Says UK Hotel Prices Fall By 16%

Hotels.com has reported that hotel prices in the UK fell by 16% in the first half of the year, as global hotel prices plummeted to their lowest level for five years.

The average price of a hotel room in the UK was down by 16% between January and June 2009 compared to the same period in 2008, according to the latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HPI). An average hotel room across the country now costs just £83 per night, down from £99 per night last year, making it a great time to holiday at home.

For a week’s break in the UK, a couple would save an average of £112 on hotel rooms this year compared to 2008, with the levels of savings even more dramatic in many major cities.

For overseas visitors to the UK, the news was even better; the weakness of the pound coupled with hoteliers lowering their rates to stimulate business meant that the average prices paid by travellers from Europe or the US were down by as much as 39% in some UK cities.

The Hotels.com Hotel Price Index tracks the real prices paid per hotel room (rather than advertised rates) for 78,000 hotels across 13,000 locations around the world. The latest HPI looks at prices from January to June 2009, compared to the same period in 2008.

For the first time since the HPI was first published four years ago, prices paid were down in every major UK destination, making it a great time to plan a ‘staycation’.

Southampton (where prices were down 33% to £57 per room per night), Belfast (down 29% to £68) and Aberdeen (down 25% to £83) experienced the steepest price falls for UK travellers. Similarly, London hotels became more affordable for those planning a visit to the capital, with prices down 12% on 2008, to £101 per night on average.

Despite the fact that prices fell by 6% between 2008 and 2009, Bath, with its relatively low number of hotel rooms and predominance in the luxury sector, remained the UK’s most expensive destination. A hotel room in the Georgian city cost travellers £111 per night on average.

Sharp price falls for US and European travellers to Britain in the first half of the year made the UK one of the more affordable destinations for overseas travellers. Hotel prices across the country fell by 28% for US travellers and by 22% for European visitors between June 2009 and the previous year

David Roche, President, Hotels.com Worldwide, said: “We were expecting 2009 to be a year of dramatic price reductions and, so far, it has been. The UK is no exception to this and is now a more affordable and attractive destination than ever.

“For UK travellers, it is a great time to stay closer to home and explore the British Isles, while for visitors from overseas, there has never been a better chance to come and enjoy the UK at 2004 prices.”

Via EPR Network

New Hampshire Ski Group Offer International Customers Visiting The State To Enjoy A Skiing Holiday Access To Five Different Mountains All On One Pass

New Hampshire Ski Group has announced that international customers visiting the state to enjoy a skiing holiday can have access to five different mountains all on one pass, as well as a free day’s stay when a six day visit is booked.

Fifteen hotels are participating in the offer from the New Hampshire Ski Group USA, a deal which is unrivalled by other New England ski resorts.

The ski resorts in New Hampshire included in the five mountain pass feature a variety of well maintained ski runs suitable for every level of skier. Cannon Mountain, located in the Franconia Notch State Park in the Great White Mountain National Forest, in particular has a wide range of ski options available and has received five top ten rankings in SKI Magazine and was ranked number one in the ‘Classic Mountain’ category by readers of Snoweast Magazine.

Commenting on the new deal, Mike Breakwell, New Hampshire Ski Group’s UK and Ireland representative, said: “The unique Five Mountain Ski Passport means people can ski or board on up to five mountains in a single visit to New Hampshire. Loon Mountain, Cannon, Waterville Valley, Cranmore and Wildcat are all within 20 minutes of hotels in the area, so it’s really easy to combine 2 or mountains into your stay to give variety and different experiences on the slopes.”

About the New Hampshire Ski Group:
The New Hampshire Ski Group is a partnership of 5 major ski resorts and 15 hotels, condos, and traditional inns in the White Mountain National Forest of New England, along with three convenient hotels in the historic city of Boston. The resorts include Loon Mountain Ski Resort, Waterville Valley, Cranmore Mountain, Wildcat Mountain, and Cannon Mountain.

Via EPR Network

Hotels.com Launches Six Figure Marketing Campaign To Target Londoners

The campaign will mark the first time Hotels.com has used outdoor and press advertising in its UK marketing mix. The dual campaign launches on 14 September 2009 and will be focussed on the website’s London audience.

The outdoor strand of the advertising campaign will include an initial burst of digital advertising targeting commuters on the Underground in the West End, and at mainline rail stations such as Waterloo, Liverpool Street and London Bridge. The campaign stretches out to include visitors to Westfield Shopping Centre as well.

The digital activity will be supported by static adverts on the Underground and on buses around the capital. In total 650 buses will carry the Hotels.com adverts for the duration of the campaign.

The campaign highlights deals to popular city break destinations for London travellers, such as holidays in Paris, flights to Amsterdam and hotels in Dublin, among many others.

Press advertising will also be present in selected key London-centric commuter newspapers such as the Metro and Evening Standard.

As well as an above-the-line campaign, Hotels.com will target travellers through its traditional online channels such as pay-per-click and graphical adverts, with additional video creatives playing across various online outlets such as On Demand f r o m Channel 4, ITV and Channel 5.

Matt Walls, marketing director EMEA at Hotels.com, said: “This heavy-weight campaign is designed give us tactical cut through within a key demographic and enable us to highlight the excellent savings that can be made by booking with Hotels.com.”

Via EPR Network

The Definitive Video Guide To Pet Travel

Stena Line, the leading ferry operator, is looking to woo pet owners with a brand-new step-by-step video guide on how to safely take pets on holiday by ferry to Holland, following a 13% year-on-year increase in the transportation of travellers’ pets on its North Sea route.

The short guide which appears on Stena Line’s website explains the legal and practical requirements of taking pets to Holland and then back into the UK.

Featuring dog owner Jason Towler and his Jack Russell Eddie, the video demystifies the government’s Pet Travel Scheme – or PETS for short – and explains the five prerequisites of taking a pet to Holland. Defra developed the scheme in 2000 to enable pets – specifically dogs, cats and ferrets – to re-enter Britain without quarantine.

Lars Olsson, Stena Line’s commercial manager for travel on the North Sea, said: “Having noted the increasing importance to our passengers of bringing their pets, Stena Line recognised the need for a simple guide which visually sets out the official governmental and logistical requirements of taking a pet dog or cat abroad.”

Stena Line has always catered for pet owners, offering onboard kennels and an area where the pets can walk. Its website also includes exclusive pet travel tips by animal behaviour specialist Dr Roger Mugford.

Olsson added: “We’re confident that the video format of the new guide and its step-by-step depiction of the procedure will help pet owners who were unsure of the process or even unaware of the possibility of taking pets to the Netherlands, either by ferry or at all. We’re also aware that it’s the required timeframe that confuses some pet owners, so we’ve made clear the simple but necessary preparation and timings that avoids any problems upon re-entry into the UK.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has simplified the process within the past few years and promoted its PETS travel scheme this summer. Stena Line’s guide aims to complement this and increase public awareness, increasing the growing trend for pets crossing the North Sea for a holiday.

Via EPR Network

Orient-Express And Luxury Link Partner

Luxury Link (www.luxurylink.com), the online luxury travel resource that offers high-end trips to destinations around the globe, announces its partnership with Orient-Express (www.orient-express.com) the world-renowned hotel and travel company. Orient-Express properties join Luxury Link’s esteemed portfolio of world-class hotels, resorts and tour companies in over 60 countries, gaining instant access to the sophisticated Luxury Link consumer.

“Partnering with Luxury Link provides a distinct advantage to our luxury hotels throughout the world,” said Shawn K. Jereb, Corporate Director of Revenue Management for Orient-Express. “Luxury Link boasts one of the world’s most coveted online audiences. Our properties adhere to the highest standards and are an excellent match for the sophisticated traveler Luxury Link attracts.”

Luxury Link customers now have the opportunity to bid on or immediately purchase world-class getaways to the elite collection of travel experiences in the Orient-Express Hotels portfolio. Luxury Link also features an exclusive section highlighting the latest news and travel offerings from Orient-Express (www.luxurylink.com/mini/orient_express.php). Additionally Luxury Link travelers have full access to the redesigned Orient-Express web site to facilitate comprehensive research on each property and direct booking.

“Few brands stir the imagination like Orient-Express,” said Diane McDavitt, president of Luxury Link. “Exotic journeys, legendary hotels and modern elegance combine in one iconic collection that is as unique as it is luxurious. We are pleased to be making these special properties available to our travelers via this new partnership.”

Via EPR Network

New Executive Club Incentives By British Airways

For the first time, British Airways is offering customers flying on discount economy tickets the opportunity to earn Executive Club tier points to help them ascend the blue, silver and gold ranks of the airline’s loyalty scheme.

The permanent change to the Executive Club follows a successful trial after members said such an improvement would be top of their wish list.

Ian Romanis, British Airways’ head of loyalty, said: “We’ve been listening to our members and rolling out a host of new benefits for the British Airways Executive Club. This is the latest initiative and our customers tell us they’re delighted we’ve made this change. It brings real value to members, allowing them to either move more easily up the tiers, or simply maintain their status, regardless of the type of ticket they’re on”.

The changes mean that Silver and Gold Executive Club members will find it simpler to maintain their status and the benefits associated with them, including access to 150 lounges worldwide, including British Airways’ £60 million Galleries lounge complex at Terminal 5.

Customers in Euro Traveller (shorthaul economy) will receive five tier points while those in World Traveller (longhaul economy) will receive 15 tier points with every booking.

Other recent enhancements to the BA Executive Club scheme include the ability for Gold Card holders to book any route, cabin or date for double the cost of the standard redemption rate, provided they book 30 days or more in advance, and the capicity for blue members can make it to Silver, and Silvers can maintain their status by taking 50 flights.

No points are needed to become a blue member but 600 points or 50 flights with the airline are needed to become a silver member and then 1500 points are needed to be a gold member.

Via EPR Network