Hotels.com Reports 100% Increase In Travel In One Generation

Hotels.com revealed the results of a new survey which shows that, in the course of a generation, the number of countries visited by an Irish under-16 year old has doubled. The survey was conducted by Hotels.com through Rollercoaster.ie, Ireland’s leading website for parents.

While a child today will have visited an average of six different countries by the age of 16, their parents had visited an average of three countries by the same age – a 100% increase in travel in just one generation.

While the rise in popularity of European city and beach breaks has contributed to children from Ireland venturing overseas, today’s under-16s are also heading further afield. The Hotels.com research showed that 24% of children have been to America by their sixteenth birthday, whilst 5% have been to destinations in Asia and Australia. According to the research, almost every child in Ireland (98%) has made a trip to a European destination by the time they reach 16.

Alison Couper, Director of Communications at Hotels.com, said: “Irish children today are better travelled than ever with almost every under-16 year old experiencing countries abroad according to our research.

“While a generation ago, one-in-four Irish people hadn’t ventured overseas by 16, now the same percentage of today’s youngsters have been to an average of eight countries by the time they reach their sixteenth birthday, which is a huge turnaround between parents and their own children.”

Parents’ desire for their children to experience a range of countries and cultures early is the driver behind their offspring’s travels. 86% of parents who responded to the Hotels.com survey said that experiencing different countries and cultures is important for their child’s education. Learning another language was cited as a key reason for taking children overseas by over half of the parents surveyed (51%).

Carol Buckley, Editor of Rollercoaster.ie commented: “It comes as no surprise to me that children of this generation are experiencing the world at a much faster pace than their parents ever could by the same age. Access to affordable travel over the last decade in particular has enabled families to reach destinations which would have been a rarity in their parents’ time. It’s also encouraging to see that parents appreciate the cultural benefits to their children of visiting foreign countries.”

The research found that parents consider their children seeing the world as so important that 79% of those surveyed let the decision on where to holiday be influenced by where the youngsters in the family would like to go.

Alison Couper concluded: “This survey shows that Irish parents are very keen for their child to experience travel and open their minds to new cultures and destinations. Our research suggests that despite cut backs in other areas, people see their family holiday as an important way of spending time together.”

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Florida Holidays – How To Get More Bang For Your Buck!

Long gone are the days when you happily palmed just under two dollars per pound. Now the US dollar is worth just 61p (29th Oct), a situation that is making the US a less popular holiday option that it has been for years.

But Florida holidays have been on the top ten destination list for Brits for at least two decades and they’ve proved enduringly popular with children. A recession isn’t anywhere nea Industry: Travel PR Text: But Florida holidays have been on the top ten destination list for Brits for at least two decades and they’ve proved enduringly popular with children. A recession isn’t anywhere near enough to stop the kids nagging about Disneyland. So if you’re hell bent on a Florida holiday, how do you get the biggest bang for your buck?

At the 2008 World Travel Market, the feeling was that long haul travel was holding up well despite the economic downturn, mostly because Brits seem to be saving up for one big holiday rather than taking a handful of shorter ones spread over the year. Which is good news because a healthy demand keeps prices low.

Price comparison website BeatTheBrochure.com, has more advice. “Shop around online. It’s the most efficient way to find cheap Florida holiday deals.”

While the internet has made package holiday prices easily available to anyone with a PC, there’s so much information out there that sifting through it can be a nightmare. Using a good holiday price comparison website makes life a great deal simpler.

“We challenge anyone to find cheaper Florida holidays in any brochure, anywhere” they add. “Our unique search technology trawls through a huge range of holiday retailers and travel agencies, including big household names like First Choice, Thomson and Thomas Cook to deliver the best price, in one search, every time”

If the exchange rate really has put Florida holidays out of your financial reach, there are some excellent long haul alternatives. Check the exchange rates; New Zealand is looking good, as are Canada and Australia. You’d have to forgo Disneyland, of course, but then again not going to Disneyland can be just as much fun. Especially if grown men and women dressed as giant mice don’t appeal to you!

Looking ahead? Oil prices have stabilised and, OPEC willing, may fall again. Not long ago Merrill Lynch analysts predicted that oil might drop as low as $50 a barrel, and fuel surcharges should follow suit. With luck US holidays won’t remain out in the cold for too long. In the meantime, shop for your Florida holidays wisely!

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Hotels.com Finds Brits Go Off Peak And On The Money

Hotels.com has revealed results from its latest survey which indicate that credit-crunched Britons are increasingly looking to book holidays out of season in a bid to avoid peak prices and get the most from their holiday budgets.

With some hotels slashing their prices by up to 70% for out-of-season stays, holiday-makers are taking advantage of off-peak prices to get more for their money, according to leading accommodation site, Hotels.com.

The research has shown that searches for low season stays in long-haul destinations such as South Asia, South America and the South Pacific have dramatically increased year-on-year, in some cases by as much as 200%.

Travellers to Queensland during the Antipodean winter month of June could save over two thirds (68%) on hotel accommodation while visitors to ‘God’s own country’, Kerala, can enjoy heavenly savings of nearly a third (31%) if they choose to travel during the rainy season. Similarly, visitors to Mexico are not letting a little rain put them off with searches for Cancun in July up by almost a half (45%).

Alison Couper, Director of Communications at Hotels.com, said “It is great to see that, rather than forego their holidays, people are looking for ways to make their money go further in the current economic climate. Far from being fair-weather travellers, our findings show that if Brits are prepared to put up with a little uncertain weather, they can avoid peak prices and make significant savings.

“According to our Hotel Price Index, average hotel prices worldwide were down by 17% in the first half of 2009. Add out-of-season discounts into the mix, and travellers can enjoy some incredible savings.”

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Independent Holidays in Cairo Beat Cheap Egypt Package Holidays this Winter

HostelBookers can reveal that Egypt is a top backpacking destination for Winter 2009. According to statistics from the budget accommodation website, the number of independent travellers booking a holiday to Egypt is rising year on year.

This new breed of backpackers are shunning cheap package deals for a more authentic travel experience, choosing Cairo and Dahab over traditional package holiday favourite Sharm el Sheikh.

Cairo is the booking site’s most popular destination year-round in Egypt, with its mix of ancient relics, buzzing bazaars and lively nightlife. Temperatures are at a pleasant 25 degrees in November, ideal for sightseeing and exploring this exotic city.

HostelBookers have hostels close to all the main attractions downtown, so travellers can save money and see the real Egypt at the same time on a Cairo Holiday.

The top six hostels in Cairo were rated at 90% or higher by HostelBookers customers. Recommended for being safe, clean and away from downtown noise, travellers also rated their Cairo hostel for arranging personalised tours around the city and sharing essential travel tips.

With rooms starting at just 5 Euros per person per night for a shared room, here are some of the best Cairo Hostels:

WakeUp Hostel Cairo

Wake Up is popular for its plum location smack in the heart of downtown. Rooms have views of the Nile and Old Cairo, and there’s a kitchen and common room with internet access.

A guest writes:

“We loved Wake Up! Small and cosy, the staff were more helpful than words can describe. Always ready to write out directions, phonetic translations, or just plain hang out with you. The Room had Air Conditioning and was mosquito free – a very tough thing to find in Egypt!”

Meramees Hostel

The Meramees has a laid-back atmosphere and homely touches like fresh flowers, comfy sofas and art on the walls. In a safe and central location, it’s easy to explore the city on foot. There’s even free airport pickup, and a travel desk offering cheap tours.

A guest writes:

“The staff were absolutely wonderful! Rooms are large and clean…Great location for wandering through downtown and very helpful staff for arranging tours and drivers. I would recommend to anyone travelling on a budget.”

Luna Hotel and Hostel

Another downtown favourite, the Luna’s rooms are clean and secure, with comfortable beds and air-conditioning. The facilities and hospitality are second to none- there’s a professional tour advisor on site, authentic Egyptian breakfasts, 24-hour room service, and a ‘Bedouin Corner’ for chilling after a day of sightseeing.

A guest writes:

“Here, unlike most of the hotels, you can learn Arabic, taste Egyptian cuisine and get familiar with Egyptian culture. With the help of professional tour advisers, you can organize great, unforgettable journeys to places like Aswan, Luxor and many others”

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Luxury Link and Lexus Go Green

Luxury Link (www.luxurylink.com), the world’s premier online luxury travel resource, announces its partnership with Lexus to bring eco-friendly hotel packages to the sophisticated traveler.

“At Luxury Link we believe in socially responsible practices. We want to preserve the world’s beauty so people can enjoy it for years to come,” said Diane McDavitt, president of Luxury Link. “We are pleased to be partnering with Lexus and share their commitment to excellence and passion for creating luxury experiences for our consumers.”

Beginning October 26th, LuxuryLink.com will feature packages for Fairmont San Francisco and Fairmont Washington DC that focus on the environment and sustainability. Guests who purchase these packages will stay in the Lexus Hybrid Living Suite composed of organic, recycled or sustainable materials and furnishings. The eco-friendly packages also include personal use of the Lexus LS Hybrid. This low-emission hybrid vehicle is designed to minimize environmental impact without sacrificing luxury and style.

“We’re excited to be getting people behind the wheel of the Lexus LS Hybrid,” says Dave Nordstrom, vice president of marketing for Lexus. “This car is an elegant solution in the marriage of luxury and sustainability. By partnering with Luxury Link, more people will be able to experience the amazing power, comfort and style of the LS Hybrid while making less impact on the earth. We think they’ll be very impressed.”

About Lexus
Lexus is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in the United States. Since its debut in 1989, Lexus has earned a reputation for offering high-quality luxury vehicles and providing benchmark customer service through its 227 dealers.

About Luxury Link
Founded in 1997, Luxury Link is where sophisticated travelers go for inspiration, to indulge their passion for discovering the world’s best places to stay and exceptional values.

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Kuoni Launches Its First Latin America Brochure

Travel specialist Kuoni has launched a brand new Latin America holiday brochure, valid until December 2010. The brochure which is available from Kuoni’s website, high street stores and travel agents across the country, includes 76 holiday itineraries and Kuoni Authentic Experiences, which allow travellers to do as the locals do, or learn from experts in their field.

Kuoni Launches Its First Latin America Brochure

Latin America 2009-2010 features 16 countries and over 20 destinations, covering Antarctica, Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Easter Island, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Robinson Crusoe Island, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Latin American aficionados can design their own luxury holidays, relying on Kuoni’s Personal Travel Experts to tailor-make inspired itineraries for the ultimate flexible adventure. Alternatively, there are private or escorted tours accompanied by local experts.

“There has never been a better time to experience South America,” commented Angelo Davino, Latin America Product Manager. “South America is undergoing a travel renaissance and it is now offering a wider choice of quality accommodation, entertainment and better air access and connections on reputable scheduled carriers. We can combine luxury with a myriad of hardly discovered places.”

Some of the Kuoni Authentic Experiences include: become a cowboy gaucho for three days at Estancio El Rocio – cattle herd on horseback, cheer on the rodeo, bird watch at the local lagoon and play polo, or cook a Peruvian feast, mix a ‘pisco sour’ and become a Llama farmer for a day.

Regular itineraries also include; fishing for piranhas in the Amazon; trekking the ancient trails of the Incas and taking in coffee plantations, marvelling at the volcanoes peppering the Atacaman plains in Chile or hiking the Avenue of Volcanoes in Ecuador.

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Kuoni Launches 2010 America & Canada Brochure

Kuoni, the luxury travel specialist, has launched a new America & Canada brochure covering holidays valid from April 2010 to March 2011 that span the Western, Southern and Eastern states, Hawaii, Alaska and the winter wonderland of Eastern and Western Canada and the Rockies. The new brochure is available from Kuoni’s website, their high street stores and travel agents across the country.

This latest brochure features a large number of Canada holidays and USA holidays, from tailor-made journeys, self-drive tours through to motorhome experiences created to exploit the miles of straight open roads and vast landscapes, flexible adventures and home stays on the Gulf Coast. To counteract the impact of the exchange rate, the brochure now includes many more three-star hotels.

“The USA is offering more unprecedented rates and free night offers than ever before, and most of the rates have gone down by up to 20 per cent so the message is that, despite the exchange rate, America is still affordable,” said Kuoni product manager Mandy McGlade. “Canada is offering some amazing offers too, particularly if you can book early.”

Highlights of the new brochure include: getting close to nature in a teepee on a ranch in the West Rim of the Grand Canyon; sampling southern fare in cookery classes in New Orleans; defying gravity with astronaut training at Cape Canaveral, Florida; languishing in a suite in a top New York hotel for the price of a standard room; becoming a cowboy on a ranch in the wild Canadian Rockies; and fishing on Campbell River, the salmon fishing capital of the world.

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Run the Marathon in Auckland with HolidayCity.com

Get ready to put on your running shoes and participate in the Auckland Marathon 2009 this November 1. This popular road race event, that typically attracts just over 10,000 runners from all corners of the world, was first held in June 1936 and became a yearly attraction since the 1960s.

The Auckland Marathon 2009’s route would take the runners through some of Auckland’s more famous locations before it finishes at Victoria Park. The starting point is at Devonport on the North Shore and continues through the shopping district of the North Shore City and a few other significant landmarks such as the Harbour Bridge, Westhaven Marina, the Viaduct Harbour and Auckland City’s waterfront before it ends at Victoria Park. The initial stage of the course would be more of a challenge than the second half with the hilly terrain expected to give some of the runners a rather tough time.

Auckland Marathon 2009 offers 5 categories which include the Marathon, Half Marathon, Quarter Marathon, the 5km Walk and the Kids Marathon. The top 3 winners of the Marathon and Half Marathon would take home a total of NZ$5000 and NZ$2900, respectively. Meanwhile, the jackpot prize money has increased to NZ$20,000 this year and this can be won by the persons that clock-in a better course times for both men’s and women’s categories as determined by the organizers prior to the event. Walking is a fantastic way to maintain and improve your heart’s health. What better way than to join in the fun Heart Walkers 5km Walk and make a charitable donation to the Heart Foundation at the same time? For children age 7 – 12, they get the chance to participate in the full marathon through a 8, 10 and 12 weeks training programme that would see them race the final 2.195km of the distance on the day of the Auckland Marathon.

Lee Lai Huat, Chief Executive Officer, HolidayCity.com, remarked, “Auckland is a modern, vibrant city that has many wonderful attractions to keep first-time visitors occupied and repeat visitors the opportunity to truly appreciate the New Zealanders’ zest for life. They also need not worry about finding a place to stay as there is a good selection of Auckland hotels to choose f r o m.” He further added “The Auckland Marathon 2009 is another fantastic event that attracts thousands of runners and visitors f r o m around the world. This year’s event is set to be another record-breaking event with 9000 runners expected to compete in the marathon and full marathon events. And HolidayCity.com is more than happy to offer great savings and discounts for our Auckland accommodation”.

HolidayCity.com offers attractive rates at the following hotels and many others:

The Langham Auckland (5-star)
Starting rate of NZ$171

Duxton Hotel Auckland (4-star)
Starting rate of NZ$129

Mercure Hotel Auckland (3-star)
Starting rate of NZ$129

City Central Hotel Auckland (3-star)
Starting rate of NZ$85

Arena Hotel Auckland (2.5-star)
Starting rate of NZ$84

About HolidayCity.com
HolidayCity.com offers online hotel bookings for more than 20,000 hotels in 900 destinations. Our customers are assured of great rates all year round, broad accommodation range, easy-to-use websites and friendly customer service 24-7, together with thousands of hotel reviews f r o m our guests. For more great deals for Auckland hotels, go to http://www.holidaycity.com/aucklandhotels/. Also check out http://www.holidaycity.com/ for more deals you can’t resist as well as amazing promotions at http://www.holidaycityeurope.com/.

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People Still Love To Browse Through A Brochure, Say Haven Holidays

Despite the rise in on-line bookings it seems more people than ever are requesting holiday brochures. ‘This year we had 25% more brochure requests from new customers than we received the previous year,’ said a spokesperson for the brand. ‘Even people who have already booked a holiday via our website often ask for our literature to be sent to them as well. Whilst people like the ease and convenience of booking on-line and love the videos of our parks they also enjoy the more tactile experience of reading the brochure and sharing their holiday plans with all the family.’

The research into brochure request figures was released soon after the Haven Call Centre was declared industry favourite in Britain’s biggest call centre awards. The Call Centre, which is based in Haven’s Head Offices in Hemel Hempstead achieved ratings of more than 90% in extensive mystery shopper surveys, despite answering 6% more calls than the previous year.

Whilst it’s possible to book a holiday via the internet, over the counter in a Travel Agency or by post – it appears that people still love to flick through the brochure and then follow it up with a chat on the phone!

Haven’s new 2010 brochure will be mailed during the first week of November and the new website goes live on November 6th.

They both feature 35 family holiday parksaround the UK all offering good value for money holidays and some excellent half price early booking deals. Family Spring breaks at a wide choice of parks start at as little as £99 for a family of four in Superior accommodation.

Next year even more family activities are included in the price and the entertainment package promises to be even more extensive with professional cabaret, comedy, tribute bands, stage-shows, variety nights, pantos and circus performances.Call 0871 230 1900 or click on www.haven.com.

About Haven Holidays:

Haven specialise in UK holidays and have a range of different types to suit all. Camping HolidaysFamily HolidaysCaravan Holidays and Touring Holidays throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

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Luxury Link adds New Insights Section – A White Paper Resource for the Travel Industry

Luxury Link (www.luxurylink.com), the world’s leading luxury travel website, recently launched its new “Insights” section, designed to serve as a resource to the travel trade industry. Once a month, Luxury Link will post another “White Paper” that addresses the state of the industry or tackles a specific area of interest to travel business owners and operators.

Currently, the following white papers can be found on Luxury Link:

• A Three-Point Plan to Protect Rates and Build Revenue in a Recession –Challenging issues such as discounting without undercutting competitors are tackled as well as how to protect rates and drive demand

• Gaining Control of User-Generated Content – Discusses how monitoring the web is essential; how brand image is influenced by responding to comments and therefore amplifying the company’s web voice and presence

• Cross Promoting and Upselling for Greater Revenue and Guest Satisfaction – Addresses such universal issues as how to create compelling offers; how to train and incentivize staff; and how to engage the guest

“We felt that during a time when the entire travel industry is facing enormous challenges, the new Insight section would be helpful to industry executives looking for solutions to issues we face every day,” said Diane McDavitt, President and Co-Founder of Luxury Link. “We want to share our knowledge of the industry with our colleagues to better improve our service and product for the consumer.”

To access the Luxury Links “Insights” section, users can select ‘Hotel Marketing Program’ found on the bottom of the site’s home page and then click on to “White Papers” found on the left of the screen.

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Warner Leisure Hotels’ Call Centre Joins UK’s Top Ten

The Bourne Leisure group’s three call centres based in Hemel Hempstead for Warner Leisure Hotels, Butlins and Haven have collectively reached the Top Ten in latest research from the Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service.

The combined achievements of Butlins Holiday Resorts, Haven Caravan Parks and Warner Leisure Hotels placed them seventh, with a score of 90.67%, and gave them the accolade of most improved member, moving up 16 places from last year. Bourne Leisure was also recognised as The Best Call Centre for Customer Service in the Entertainment and Travel sector.

The study was commissioned by the Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service and organised by Call Centre Focus magazine, which aims to raise customer service standards in the call centre industry. The research consisted of 17,000 mystery shopper enquiries to over 50 of the UK’s leading call centres.

Overall the Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service Initiative, sponsored by Genesys and Noble Systems, showed that call centres are getting the basics right: 96% of customers got through to the call centres on their first attempt and a staggering 94% of customer enquiries were resolved by the initial call. In addition, 86% of callers were either satisfied or extremely satisfied with their call experience, 68% said they were likely or extremely likely to recommend the organisation and 70% said they were likely to start or continue to use the organisation.

“This is absolutely right”, said Julie Howe, call centre manager of Warner Leisure Hotels, stressing the importance of exceptional Customer Service. “For potential and existing guests, phoning our call centre is the beginning of their holiday journey. We offer friendly, efficient and knowledgeable support, delivered with a problem solving attitude, recognising that the guest experience is paramount to our success. I am delighted to share this accolade with my team.”

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Report Says The Cost Of A Night In A Luxurious Hotel Room Has Tumbled Worldwide

Hotels.com has revealed that the cost of a night in a luxurious hotel room has tumbled worldwide, meaning that travellers’ money has never gone further.

According to Hotels.com’s Hotel Price Index (HPI), there are now a crop of ten desirable destinations where £100 per night (or just £50 a night each for a couple) will buy a five star room in some of the most prestigious addresses in town.

The list of cities where British travellers’ cash goes the furthest includes top European cities for culture vultures (£100 will get a five star room in Lisbon, Pisa, Warsaw, Prague and Tallinn), as well as further-flung destinations including Melbourne, Mexico City, Sao Paolo and Toronto.

The Hotels.com HPI 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.

Alison Couper, Communications Director at Hotels.com, said: “The best rooms in the world have never been so affordable according to our data and travellers can get far more for their holiday money this year than they have for a long time – the average price of hotel room is back at 2004 levels. With such low prices and some great deals around, travellers can enjoy a night in the lap of luxury for less than ever.”

For £100, travellers visiting Toronto, Sydney, Copenhagen and Edinburgh hotels will be able to stay in rooms that are a full star category higher in 2009 than the same money would buy in 2008.

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Superbreak Announced A Great Response To Its Win A Dream Break Competition

Since the launch of the competition in September, the ‘Build Your Dream Break’ Facebook page has attained over 100 fans and Superbreak has received 260 entries for the competition itself.

To win a dream break, entrants must describe their ideal break in 20 words or less and have until 31 October 2009 to get their submissions in, with the winner’s draw taking place on the following day. The sole winner of the competition will be awarded a £1000 prize fund f r o m which to build their dream UK break.

The prize can be customised to the winner’s content, so long as all components are purchased through Superbreak’s site. The winner can choose f r o m a range of accommodation options across the United Kingdom – including London hotels – as well as other package selections such as theatre, concert and dinner outings. Superbreak offers a variety of short breaks tailored to what people want f r o m holidays – whether that’s culture, adventure or relaxation.

Will Dunnett, marketing director for Superbreak, said: “At Superbreak, we pack more into your dream short break, with hotel deals and entertainment across the UK’s most popular destinations. It’s your dream break built according to what you want f r o m where you stay, what you do and how you get there – it really is up to you.”

Terms and conditions apply for the competition. Entries are limited to one per person and all entrants must be UK residents aged 18 or older. A full list is available online.

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LAN Publishes Preliminary Statistics For September 2009

LAN Airlines S.A. and its subsidiaries, (“LAN” or “the Company”) (NYSE: LFL / IPSA: LAN), one of the leading airlines in Latin America, has reported its preliminary monthly traffic statistics and punctuality indicators for September 2009.

LAN

System passenger traffic for September increased 11.9% as capacity rose 9.3%. As a result, the Company’s load factor increased 1.8 points to 78.8%. International passenger traffic accounted for approximately 71% of total passenger traffic.

Domestic passenger traffic in Chile, Argentina, Peru and Ecuador rose 17.5% as capacity increased 15.0%. As a consequence, the domestic load factor for the month increased 1.6 points to 77.0%. International passenger traffic for September rose 9.8% as capacity increased 7.1%. Accordingly, the international passenger load factor for the month increased 1.9 points to 79.6%. International capacity was mainly driven by an increase in operations on routes to Europe and the South Pacific, partially offset by a decrease on certain regional routes.

In line with the global decrease in the import and export markets, during the month of September cargo traffic decreased 8.0%. This decrease was mainly due to the slowdown in import and export markets in Latin America, as well as the reduction of salmon exports from Chile. In line with the decrease in demand, capacity fell 7.0%, mainly through the reduction of ACMI leases. The cargo load factor reached its highest level this year at 69.8%.

During September, 90.8% of the Company’s total flights left on time based on a fifteen-minute standard (all departures leaving within fifteen minutes of the scheduled departure time are considered as “on-time”). This represented an increase of 2.1 points compared to September 2008.

About LAN
LAN Airlines is one of the leading passenger and cargo airlines in Latin America. The company and its affiliates serve over 65 destinations around the world including flights to South Americaflights to Lima and flights to Chile through an extensive network across Latin America, while also linking North America, Europe, the South Pacific and 63 additional international destinations through its various alliances.

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British Airways Returns To Sharm El Sheikh

British Airways is launching its thrice-weekly direct non-stop services from Gatwick to Sharm El Sheikh from October 26, 2009.

This signifies a return for the airline’s colours to this popular Red Sea resort, with the new direct non-stop London Gatwick flights to Sharm El Sheikh departing on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

As well as the new flights to Sharm El Sheikh, British Airways will also be adding The Maldives 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 Sharm El Sheikh have proved popular with tourist for years due to their promise of sun-filled days on the beach and spotting turtles on the coral reefs, as well as offering the ability to explore the desert by camel and spend the nights feasting on traditional Bedouin food and stargazing.

British Airways have a number of superb Sharm El Sheikh hotels – all with easy access to beautiful beaches. The range of hotels in Sharm El Sheikh includes something for everyone ranging from 3 to 5*. Romantics can pamper themselves at the 4*+ Grand Rotana ideally located on the shores of Sharks Bay. The 4* all inclusive Hilton Sharks Bay Resort offers fun for the whole family, or for pure relaxation and a round of golf there is the 5* Maritim Jolie Ville Golf and Resort.

All of the new Sharm El Sheikh flights will be operated by Boeing 777 aircraft with a three-class configuration: World Traveller, World Traveller Plus and Club World.

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HostelBookers Offers VIP Tickets To The 2009 Gillette Four Nations Rugby League Finals

Leading budget accommodation provider HostelBookers is offering three pairs of VIP tickets to the 2009 Gillette Four Nations rugby league finals to its top customers. The fantastic giveaway includes a chance to see the final game in style, complete with a champagne reception, a slap up lunch and a Q&A session with Rugby League legend Martin Offiah and other guest personalities.

The final game will be held at Elland Road, Leeds on Saturday 14th November 2009 and all customers can enter by simply registering on HostelBookers.com.

As the first two rounds of the 2009 Gillette Four Nations rugby league tournament loom, HostelBookers has pinpointed the best value accommodation in each host city, leaving rugby fans with more cash for the big game.

Found in recent independent research to offer hostel beds at an average of 5.1 per cent less than its rivals, HostelBookers has uncovered hostels from as cheap as £9.50 per person per night in the match cities of Doncaster, Southwest London, Wigan and Toulouse, France. Travelers looking to travel to the games with a bunch of mates can also get great rates for group accommodation with HostelBookers.

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World-Wide Hotels Specialist Hotels4u.com Has Launched A Refreshed Version Of Its Website

World-wide hotels specialist Hotels4u.com has launched a refreshed version of its website to help holidaymakers find cheap hotels and accommodation at home and abroad even more quickly and easily. A combination of improved browsing and searching, plus extra choice and information will allow customers to confidently make decisions about where to stay on their next holiday.

Easier searching

The new site includes five tabs on the homepage covering the major holiday types: city, beach, all inclusive, winter sun and ski, giving the chance to browse deals and top hotels across each of these categories. Alongside these, a comprehensive hotels section lists all the Hotels4u.com destinations in one place offering the opportunity to quickly drill down by location. In combination, these improved sections allow customers to browse Hotels4u.com’s over 45,000 hotels with ease.

For more specific searching, holidaymakers can enter a location and dates straight into the search box. They can still make use of the website’s best price filter, which appears under the search box once initial information has been entered and the search button clicked. This allows customers to find hotels offering the lowest prices for all types of accommodation, from self catering and bed & breakfast to half board and all inclusive. It also shows the best prices by star rating.

In addition to the easier browsing and searching, the whole process has been made quicker thanks to the introduction of a new ‘cache’, which makes the results come back faster than before.

Homepage deals and top hotels

Holidaymakers can access a range of Hotels4u.com’s best deals and top hotels straight from the homepage. The website’s previous panel of scrolling cheap hotels has been removed and now all the individual hotels and offers are easily accessible at the click of a button. Additional top hotel recommendations across Hotels4u.com’s most popular locations can be accessed via the homepage and now every individual destination page, whether its Sharm el Sheikh or Corfu, has its own dedicated top hotels list, which is automatically updated every ten minutes to show the hotels that are currently selling well.

More choice

Hotels4u.com has also added to its already extensive portfolio of hotels, including 35 new hotels in Turkey and 15 new Sharm el Sheikh hotels. Extra hotels have been added across Hotels4u.com’s city section as well, including new UK choices.

More information

In addition to the improved usability and extra choice, Hotels4u.com has included extended country guides for its top destinations. Holidaymakers can get general background on the place they would like to visit, alongside tips on where to go once they are there and what activities to try. These are accessible through the homepage.

Once the right hotel is found, the booking process is still just as quick and simple as before, allowing holidaymakers to reserve their hotel rooms in a matter of minutes. This time, though, customers benefit from 3D secure payments as well, giving them and their money extra protection. Meanwhile, those seeking to book resort transfers alongside a hotel can take advantage of the improved transfers function, which has been adapted to make the process much simpler.

Steven Moore, Head of eCommerce at Hotels4u.com, says: “We’re very pleased with the new usability of the site and hope that customers will find the changes helpful. It doesn’t stop here, though. We’re continually seeking ways to make improvements and also to find new deals so that holidaymakers can access a huge range of cheap hotels around the world in a quick and hassle-free manner.”

To see the new site in action, or for more information on the latest deals and cheap hotels on offer visit http://www.hotels4u.com.

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Stena Line Expands Its Northern Corridor Fleet

Stena Line, leading ferry company, has announced details of a new addition to its Northern Corridor fleet. From early November the company will introduce a third ship, the Stena Navigator, on its Stranraer-Belfast route. The vessel will cater for both passenger and freight traffic with a capacity of up to 1,500 passengers and up to 280 cars or 50 lorries. The addition of the vessel and an onboard upgrade programme that’s currently under way in Belfast Port represents a total investment in the route of over £6m.

Stena Navigator will be substantially upgraded and creates an opportunity to introduce a new cruiseferry concept. With substantial passenger areas and expanded free wifi and free movies, the ship will offer a new travelling experience.

The introduction of the Stena Navigator will expand Stena Line’s current fleet of the HSS Stena Voyager and Stena Caledonia and provides the company with an opportunity to make a number of changes to its existing timetable which better reflect the needs of its customer base. It means Stena Line can now offer up to 14 crossings on the route each day.

Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Stranraer-Belfast Route Manager, said: “The introduction of the Stena Navigator will give us the opportunity to provide our customers with an increased number of travel and timetable options. The additional capacity on the route will also enable us to expand in time for what we hope will be a more buoyant 2010.

“While trading conditions remain challenging, Stena Line is confident about the future and is putting the necessary investment in place to ensure that it can leverage a competitive advantage when the economic upturn arrives. We will announce details of our revised timetable over the next few weeks.”

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The Much-Anticipated Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Australia’s First Luxury Conservation-Based Resort, Opens

The much-anticipated Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Australia’s first luxury conservation-based resort and Emirates Hotels & Resorts’ first development outside Dubai, has welcomed its first guests.

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa

The A$125 million project, built on the same principles as Emirates’ acclaimed Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, combines the expectations of the high-end traveller with a commitment to broader social, ecological and environmental sustainability. Wolgan Valley is Emirates’ first luxury resort in Australia.

Located between two of Australia’s most prominent national parks and bordering the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa features 40 individual secluded suites, and is fully integrated into its environment, supporting wide-ranging conservation practices. The resort occupies only two per cent of its 4,000 acre land, while the remaining area is dedicated as a wildlife reserve.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said: “Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa’s combination of iconic location, understated luxury, privacy and outstanding conservation values is unparalleled in Australia. Heralding a new era of luxury travel in the country, the resort actively protects its surrounding habitat and indigenous wildlife species while delivering the first-class standards and quality expected from luxury resorts.

“Since the opening of Al Maha a decade ago, we have built our businesses on the basis of being sustainable and environmentally aware; and leading in wildlife conservation, in particular the protection of endangered and threatened species. With the opening of Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa in Australia, we are expanding our unique luxury conservation-based resort philosophy into a different country, a different continent and a different ecological environment.”

Wolgan Valley was selected by Emirates after an extensive research for a location that lent itself to world-class conservation-based practices. Australia is an important destination for Emirates, and Wolgan Valley is an outstanding example of the Dubai-based airline’s long term commitment to the country.

“Australia has a fascinating history, heritage, and of course unique wildlife; not to mention some of the most exciting landscapes in the world. We believe Australia has great potential and we are extremely proud that Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa will not only showcase a slice of Australia’s heritage, but will also contribute to the country’s prospects for developing this calibre of conservation-based, luxury tourism,” added His Highness.

Wolgan Valley is rich in historical significance. Charles Darwin was a visitor in 1836 and the property’s original homestead, which dates back to 1832, has been fully restored to its former glory, providing a fascinating glimpse of the region’s heritage for guests.

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Research Finds Wyoming Is Among The States With Most Expensive Hotel Rates In The First Half Of 2009

According to the latest hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HP), Wyoming was among the states with most expensive hotel rates in the first half of 2009. In addition to ski tourism helping to maintain higher averages room rate across the state, prices in the capital of Cheyenne also led to a higher average rate for Wyoming as the city bucked national trends with a five per cent increase in room rates.

Wyoming took fourth place behind taking the fourth place spot behind New York hotels and accommodation in Massachusetts and Hawaii. Steve Dumaine, senior director of merchandising at hotels.com, said: “Despite fewer large cities, the more expensive lodging options in major ski destinations have helped keep the mountain states below the national average in terms of price drops. However, travelers can still get a great deal in the area. Hotels are getting more aggressive with promotions and offering added extras like resort credits and complimentary meals.”

Cheyenne was one of only five cities in the nation whose average price per room increased in January through June 2009. Salt Lake City ranked second among mountain states for least dramatic rate change with a five percent decrease in average room prices, with an average price of $117 per night.

The HPI also found that in the first half of 2009 hotel prices across the US dropped 17%. Mountain states – noted here as Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Montana and Colorado – beat the national year-over-year rate drop with Wyoming having the lowest decrease in hotel room price at nine per cent, followed by Utah, Colorado, Idaho and Montana, all decreasing by 15% or less.

Also in the first half of 2009, Denver came in 17th among the top 20 US destinations for US travelers. Despite being a favorite among US travelers, Denver saw the average hotel price fall 11% over the same period in 2008 with averages prices for a night at $116 in the first half of 2009.

Nationally, Idaho had the second least expensive hotel rates of all states with rooms on average $84 a night, which made it the least expensive state among the mountain region. Among major US cities, Boise, Idaho, has the second least expensive hotel rates, with Albuquerque as having the lowest average price for the first half of 2009, with the average price of $81 per night. Helena, Montana, ranked fifth overall with rooms averaging $85 per night a drop of 26% from the previous year.

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 in which hotels.com operates. The HPI report issued today 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 both chain and independent hotels, as well as specialty lodging options such as vacation rentals and bed and breakfast properties.

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