Tag Archives: Hospitality

LIFESTYLE Los Cabos Ready to Capture Increased Traveler Demand with New Website, Free Travel App and Addition of New Luxury Villas

LIFESTYLE Los Cabos, leading luxury villa vacation rental provider and property and destination management company based in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico, has entered into 2013 ready to satisfy the increasing demand of internet savvy travelers with a completely revamped website, a free Los Cabos travel app, and with new luxury vacation villas added to their inventory.

“90% of bookings today we receive on-line, 40% of those are our return customers, and 50% are new customers, who before making a reservation, make an on-line research about the destination, special offers, villas, and the provider itself. Many times travelers communicate with us on Twitter @LifestyleVillasFacebookPinterest and/or TripAdvisor, in order to see our villas and services, other customer’s feedback and that we are a trusted vacation rental provider to whom they are willing to trust planning their vacations in Mexico.”

In comparison to around 30% of reservations received by the phone 3 years ago, today only 10% of guests call in to reserve their stay, explains Alejandro. “We acknowledge the importance of internet in our everyday lives, that’s why our core upgrade in service offerings was to completely revamp our website, make it user friendly and with responsive web design. We created a Free Lifestyle Villas travel App as well, which gives any Los Cabos traveler all the information about Cabo San Lucas and neighboring towns, landmarks, restaurants, activities, and events, besides that the app gives our guests a handy tool to reach their concierge, see Villa amenities, order in-villa Private Chef services, spa treatments, order transportation and other services anytime they want, wherever they want.”

Besides technology aspect of their business, Lifestyle Villas added new exclusive private villa residences to their portfolio. Lifestyle Villas’s villa rental program consists of a carefully selection of stunning beachfront, ocean and golf view villas and condominiums in Los Cabos’s most prestigious developments which have been standardized & are complimented with added value services for guests. On the contrary to most local villa rental companies, Lifestyle manages their inventory directly, and with this is able to maintain superb quality standards in every property. Newly added villas are Villa Pacificaand Villa Buenaventura, both 5 bedroom ocean view villas in exclusive gated community Blue Sea, and Villa Pericu and Villa Guaycura, two 5 bedroom private villas located in the Punta Ballena luxury residential community, which is home of Esperanza, an Auberge Resort.

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Affordable art goes on sale in Battersea Park as 120 galleries gather for the popular spring art fair

The biannual Affordable Art Fair, which returns to Battersea Park this spring, from Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th March 2012, is the leading showcase in the UK for contemporary art under £4,000. A regular feature in Battersea Park since it first appeared in 1999, the fair has become a well-loved institution in London ‘s art scene and anyone wanting to pick up some affordable art can save even more money by booking a cheap London hotel so they can enjoy the fair and stay in London for the weekend.

Gathering 120 art galleries from all over Europe in one place, the fair offers visitors the chance to buy original works of art by up and coming artists without paying over the odds for their name and reputation. Alongside are works by well-known artists at relatively low prices – flower paintings by Marc Quinn, a self-portrait by Sam Taylor-Wood and a dot painting by Damien Hirst all featured in last year’s October art fair.

The price ceiling of £4,000 and the compulsory labelling of all artwork means visitors can see, at a glance, what they can and can’t afford, and the huge array of paintings, sculpture, photography and prints means there is something to suit every taste.

Every fair has an emerging artists’ showcase promoting the work of recent graduates and this spring the theme is ‘Sum of Substance’, an exhibition curated by art and design publishers Jotta featuring 19 artists from well known arts colleges including the Slade, Camberwell College of Arts and Chelsea College of Art and Design among others.

The fair also has a programme of free and informal talks and tours as well as a crèche and an education area, making this an event that all the family can enjoy, even children as young as two years old. For those who prefer to avoid the weekend rush late view tickets, available for Wednesday and Thursday nights, are the best option, giving shoppers the chance to browse the art in a more relaxed setting with a glass of wine to hand.

After a successful inaugural art fair on Hampstead Heath in October last year, the Affordable Art Fair returns to the North London park again this autumn so there will be two further Affordable Art Fairs later in the year: at Battersea, from 25th to 28th October 2012; and at Hampstead, 1st to 4th November 2012. The AAF also has a global presence with ten fairs (and two affiliate fairs) in six countries across three continents.

For more information on the Affordable Art Fair, visit LondonTown.com where you can find the latest information on hotel rooms, availability and prices, all on one website which also gives useful information on London ‘s sights, events and restaurants. If you are bringing the family, you won’t be alone, the website also lists family friendly activities, hotels and restaurants.

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Villa Plus Unveils Fresh New Rebrand

Villa Plus, the independent, direct-sell villa specialist, has rebranded itself with a fresh, modern look, demonstrated by a vibrant and uplifting new colourful logo.

Villa Plus Unveils Fresh New Rebrand

As part of the re-brand, Villa Plus will also be adopting a new tag line; ‘Villa holidays with a difference’, which reinforces the fact that the company’s villas come with many extras as standard and are among the best equipped rental villas in Europe. An impressive 98% of villas are air conditioned and all have their own private swimming pool, many of which are heated. Other additional benefits include sun beds, BBQ’s, table tennis tables, pool tables, Playstation 2s, satellite TV (many with BBC and ITV), as well as the added security of an alarm system. All villas include maid and linen service and, space permitting, each villa is equipped with a washing machine and dishwasher.

Simon Linford, Sales and Marketing Manager at Villa Plus said: “Having been about for a while, we’ve decided it’s time to better reflect the fabulous product and service we sell. Our new brand is characterised by a modern logo of a friendly persona. Also, to illustrate the extra value we give the customer, we’ve come up with the tag line ‘villa holidays with a difference’.

“Yet this doesn’t mean we’ve been taken over by the big boys,” Linford continued. “On the contrary, Villa Plus remains an independent direct sell tour operator owned and managed by its founders. We have over 700 exclusively contracted villas across nine destinations in Europe and we select the very best villas in the very best locations. All our villas have their very own private pools and are amongst the best equipped in the market.”

Villa Plus has been providing quality villa holidays for 23 years and was the pioneer in improving the standard of European villa holidays. Started f r o m the bedroom of founder Nick Cooper, the company has to date booked over 300,000 customers and become the UK’s second largest villa tour operator. With a culture of providing strong customer service, Villa Plus has built up an enviable reputation in the business and a well deserved customer loyalty which is unrivalled.

As the company rolls out its fresh, new image, Villa Plus looks forward to the future and continuing to raise the standards of villa holidays for customers old and new.

About Villa Plus:
VillaPlus.com is an independent tour operator that has been providing villa holidays for 23 years to the best locations in Europe, providing holiday villas to rent in Cyprus, the Algarve, Costa del Sol, Mallorca, Menorca, Corfu, Costa Blanca, Kefalonia and Villas in Lanzarote.

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The Rezidor Hotel Group Honoured For Profound Growth And Expansion In Africa

The Rezidor Hotel Group, one of the world’s fastest growing hotel companies, has been honoured for its ambitious business development across the African continent at the Hospitality Investment Conference Africa (HICA) in Sandton Sun, Gauteng, South Africa, on 4-6 November.

Andrew McLachlan, the group’s Vice President Business Development for Africa & the Indian Ocean Islands, was given the prestigious ‘Mover & Shaker’ award. The HICA prize is awarded to an individual who through their skills, ingenuity and energy has already had an extraordinary impact in the industry, and recognises his outstanding leadership role and contribution to hospitality investment in Africa.

Between January 2007 and March 2009 McLachlan tripled Rezidor’s portfolio from eight hotels (open or under development) in five African countries to 21 Hotels in Africa (open or under development) across 13 sub-Saharan African countries. Over this period the Rezidor portfolio expanded with properties in nations such as Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa under McLachlan’s headship.

The Hospitality Investment Conference Africa, is an annual event on the local and international hospitality and investment calendar. This year’s event was hosted by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), in association with the conference’s founding partners and the Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism of South Africa.

The event proved to be a big success and was attended by the South African Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk. Mmatsatsi Marobe, CEO Tourism Business Council of South Africa, stated on the HICA website, “His attendance serves as confirmation of his commitment to promoting investment opportunities for South Africa and the continent as a whole. The department’s continued support for the conference, as well as the launch of the South African Tourism Investment Portfolio for 2009 at HICA serves as further confirmation”.

About The Rezidor Hotel Group
The Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the fastest growing hotel companies in the world. The group features a portfolio of more than 380 luxury hotels in operation and under development with 81,700 rooms in almost 60 countries including luxury hotels in London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

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Best Western Castle Green Hotel Acknowledged in North West Tourism Awards

The Best Western Castle Green Hotel near Kendal, in Cumbria was highly commended in the most prestigious awards for hotels in the North West.

The hotel was runner up in the large hotel of the year category in the North West Tourism Awards which were held in Blackpool.

The only independent hotel in the shortlist, the Best Western Castle Green Hotel, one of a number of hotels in Kendal, was up against stiff competition from across the region. The Lowry in Manchester won the award, which was the only hotel in the category with a five star rating.

After winning the large hotel of the year category in the Cumbrian Tourism Awards in May 2009, the Best Western Castle Green was automatically short-listed for the awards covering the whole region, including thehotels in Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire category winners.

The highly commended status means that the hotel passed a mystery shopper visit with flying colours. The hotel also had to show excellence in the areas of – customer care, investment in training and staff development, accessibility and innovative marketing.

Tim Wade, Best Western said; “We are delighted that the Best Western Castle Green Hotel has received such a prestigious accolade at the North West Tourism Awards. As an independent hotel group we are always striving to not only maintain but exceed our internationally renowned high standards of quality and service. So, it is fantastic to see how well this hotel has done to achieve such excellent recognition. We hope that next year the hotel will have a repeat success and maybe secure the top award.”

The 2009 Northwest Tourism Awards were held at Blackpool Tower on September 28. The event was hosted by BBC presenter Ranvir Singh and organised by the Northwest Regional Development Agency.

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Hostels on HostelBookers Offer Christmas Presents, Free Meals and Parties to Christmas Shoppers

HostelBookers are offering customers the ultimate Christmas gift – cheap Christmas holidays in the most magical cities in Europe.

The cities of London, Berlin and Prague are all perfect for a bargain city break this winter. Home to some of the best Christmas markets in Europe , travellers can get their shopping done in style and soak up the authentic atmosphere of a traditional holiday.

Berlin and Prague’s markets have hundreds of stalls selling traditional crafts and delicious treats like warm mulled wine and roasted chestnuts. London’s Shopper’s Markets, the ‘Winter Wonderland’ Ice Rink in Hyde Park and famous lights on Oxford Street also bring plenty of festive spirit.

Going away at Christmas may seem expensive, but hostels offer an affordable alternative for aChristmas holiday . And to really bring good tidings this year, HostelBookers have teamed up with three of the best hostels in each city to offer guests some top Christmas gifts.

Sir Toby’s Hostel in Prague is offering special Christmas rates for all bookings made through the HostelBookers website . One of the top-rated Prague youth hostels, the staff are hosting a Christmas Eve buffet with all the trimmings.

Celebrate Christmas at The Journey’s Hostel Kings Cross in London. Beds booked for the 20 th -27 th December are a bargain £10 per person , and come with a bumper batch of Christmas presents. Guests can enjoy free entry to top local clubs, free drinks vouchers in a local pub, and 30% off food in a cool London restaurant . There’s even a Christmas party with live singing carols.

The Generator Hostel in Berlin has some real treats in store for guests this December, with a free traditional Christmas dinner , welcome drink and Christmas party on the 24 th . The Generator also offers a VIP Christmas Package Deal through HostelBookers, with three nights in a shared room including dinner, for €49.

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Travel Industry in Cyprus

The last experts researches show that many companies begin to overcome the economic crisis. Probably this is connected with a general improvement of the economic situation or with structural changes in companies.

One of such successfully run companies in travel industry is our “Orpheus Luxury Travel” company in Cyprus.

There is no necessity to list all our merits and quantity of employees. Unique information about the company and its services, is possible to find on company’s website. The most important thing is a mobility and using new methods in development in an uneasy situation. Employees’ creation thinking helps to resolve diverse problems.

A good reputation allows us to carry on negotiations with hotels on favourable for us conditions. The contracts, concluded earlier, give us an opportunity to offer our clients the best rates, better than someone from our competitors offer.

Efficiency of our personnel, unique database allows to expand cooperation area with others tour operators and agencies in many countries in difficult economic conditions. Our company takes part in many traveling exhibitions from London to Russia.

Thanks to all this our company coped with crisis and offers cooperation to all, who is capable to work effectively in the new conditions.

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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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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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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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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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Jumeirah Wins Prestigious Business Traveller Awards

Jumeirah, the Dubai-based luxury hospitality group and member of Dubai Holding, has been announced as the winner of a series of major industry awards. The Business Traveller awards are among the most prestigious in the hospitality sector and Jumeirah’s performance was celebrated at ceremonies in London and Hong Kong.

Jumeirah was recognised in five separate travel and tourism awards categories – with three wins, a runner-up place and a top four recognition.

The hospitality group was named ‘Best Business Hotel Chain in the Middle East/Africa’ for the sixth consecutive year, ahead of InterContinental and Sheraton, at the Business Traveller Asia Pacific Awards.

At the Business Traveller UK awards, the Jumeirah Group was voted ‘Best Business Hotel Chain in the Middle East’ for the fourth year running, ahead of InterContinental, Hilton and Sheraton, and Jumeirah Emirates Towers was voted ‘Best Business Hotel in the Middle East’ for the seventh year in a row. Madinat Jumeirah was named runner-up in the global ‘Best Resort Hotel’ category, and in the ‘Best Luxury Hotel Chain’, Jumeirah was also recognised as one of the top four in the world alongside Four Seasons, Shangri-La and Ritz-Carlton.

Not content with winning awards for just its existing properties, Jumeirah has extensive expansion plans to grow its portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts into key gateway or letterhead cities and aspirational resort destinations worldwide. Currently, the Group has several luxury five-star properties under development in the Middle East, Maldives, Bali, Thailand, South America, Spain, the UK, Germany, the US Virgin Islands and Morocco.

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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

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

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

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

Enjoy Oktoberfest 2009 On A Budget With HostelBookers

It’s official: the price of a pint has gone up again for Oktoberfest 2009. Munich City Council have announced a price increase of 3.8% from last year, with the average cost of one litre of beer 8.44 Euros.

The news will come as a blow to fans of the annual beer fest, with prices already hiked up an extra 5% in 2008. 6 million litres of Bavarian beer are drunk at the festival every year, believed to be the best in the world for its ‘pure’ mix of hops, barley and water.

The recent price hikes may be enough to put anyone off knocking back a few, but you can still enjoy the festival on a budget with Hostelbookers Oktoberfest travel tips. With their lowest price guarantee, rooms are on average 4.2% cheaper with HostelBookers than its next largest competitor. So with late availability for group bookings in top Munich hostels, you’ll have more to spend on all the fun of the festival. Check out three of our fantastic hostels in Munich that still have availability for group bookings

The 4 You Munchen Youth Hostel has a lively atmosphere and central location perfect for the beer fest. Bring the after party to the well-stocked bar, with special ‘Happy Hour’ prices for HostelBookers customers. The delicious free buffet breakfast is perfect for soaking up the alcohol the next day.

Haus International is a favourite among young people visiting Munich. Situated in artistic the quarter of Schwabing, close to the Olympic Park, and boasting facilities such as a bar, restaurant, games room and lounge room, it makes for a perfect meeting place for students and backpackers alike.

The Hotel Blutenburg is a modern, family-run hotel, offering hotel facilities for hostel prices. The private ensuite rooms all have cable TV and comfortable beds, and there’s a scenic terrace for enjoying a beer after the festival.

All three of these properties are ideal for a group of friends, students or backpackers doing Oktoberfest on a budget.

To help beer fans get the best of the fest, HostelBookers have also put together a handy Oktoberfest beer guide. With tips ranging from food stalls to attractions beyond the beer tents, it’s the essential guide to this year’s events.

Via EPR Network

Taiwan Tourism Bureau Invites More Than 600 Foreign Travelers And Media Representatives To Attend A Traditional “Taiwanese Open-Air Banquet” On Aug. 18

As part of its international 2009 Tour Taiwan Year promotion, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau is inviting more than 600 foreign travelers and media representatives to attend a traditional “Taiwanese open-air banquet” on Aug. 18. The event is being held in conjunction of the 20th anniversary of the Taiwan Food Festival. In addition to a delicious meal, the participants will also be able to experience some of the scenic beauty, historic romance, and warm hospitality of the ancient capital city of Tainan.

The list of participants was compiled over a period of more than two months with the help of travel agencies, who are including the open-air banquet in their tour itineraries. Most of the attending groups have not changed their schedules despite the recent ravaging of southern Taiwan by Typhoon Morakot, and their presence at the “Taiwanese open-air banquet” will help to dispel misconceptions about overall conditions on the island. They will see that as far as international tourists are concerned, the island is mostly back to normal.

The open-air banquet was originally to have taken place at the Old Fort of Anping, a first-grade historic site, but because of environmental and weather considerations it has been moved under-roof at the Anping Tourist Fish Market. During the meal, diners will be treated to performances of hand-puppet opera, spinning-drum music, and the “Twelve Nannies” prancing to solicit the blessings of the gods, providing a rich glimpse into the folk culture of southern Taiwan.

Among the diners will be a group of 40 visitors from Japan, led by two famous Japanese culinary masters, who will not only enjoy Taiwanese food but will also engage in Taiwanese-Japanese culinary exchange. There will also be a famous culinary expert from Hong Kong, and French culinary expert and critic Alain Cirelli will be on hand to experience the unique open-air banquet and the warmth of the southern Taiwanese people. These experts will spread the word about Taiwanese food and the attending international media people will report it to the world, giving a strong boost to Taiwan as an attractive culinary destination.

The kitchen team for the banquet will be headed up by top chef Master Ah Yong, who has prepared a menu consisting of traditional open-air-banquet dishes in consultation with a group of food consultants. Master Ah Yong is donating half of his income from the banquet to the victims of Typhoon Morakot.

The banquet is co-organized by the city governments of Tainan and Taipei with the aim of using the allure of fine food, along with the historic sites of the area, to upgrade the image of tourism in southern Taiwan. The banquet will also be used to publicize next year’s Taipei International Flora Expo in the international arena, and the foreign invitees will be urged to return next year for more culinary pleasures along with the flower show.

Via EPR Network

Warner Leisure Hotels is Awarded Four Stars and Rosettes by the AA

Three of the historic hotels in the Warner Leisure Hotels award-winning group have received recognition from the AA, by being awarded four-star ratings and several rosettes for the quality of service, accommodation and the dining experiences they provide.

Holme Lacy House in Herefordshire, a Grade 1 listed mansion, becomes the only AA Four Star hotel in the county. The hotel, which offers its guests a choice of three restaurants, also gained two rosettes for Gary Wheeler’s superb cuisine in The Orchard restaurant, which is also open to non-residents.

Thoresby Hall Hotel and Spa in Nottinghamshire, also a Grade 1 listed mansion, gained a rosette for master chef Warren Jones’ restaurant, the Blue Room, which is open to non-residents. The hotel also offers guests a wide choice of dining, from The Blue Room to Italian bistro Fenocchi’s and the atrium restaurant, The Pierrepont.

Nidd Hall in Yorkshire is a Grade ll listed stately home, situated at the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales. The hotel also offers guests a choice of dining, from the Rawson Restaurant to fine dining in The Terrace, also open to non-residents.

Jim Forward, managing director of Warner Leisure Hotels, which has 13 properties throughout the UK, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and a huge accolade for our hotels. While we remain as friendly, relaxing and as welcoming as ever, the new ratings fully endorse our investment and commitment to improving and enhancing the experience of our guests. We are so incredibly proud of the amazing teams we have in all of our properties, who do everything to ensure that our guests have a wonderful Warner’s experience at whichever property they choose.”

About Warner Leisure Hotels
Exclusively for adults, Warner Leisure Hotels’ enjoys an occupancy rate of 95% in its portfolio of 13 properties across the UK. As well as offering a wide choice and style of accommodation, each with its own personality. Renowned for its weekend breakshotel breaks and spa breaks, the hotel chain is also known for its wide range of experiences, offering more than 600 additional activities from hot air balloon trips and antiques with TV’s Eric Knowles to a Mini Cooper Treasure Hunt and numerous dance breaks.

Via EPR Network