Tag Archives: Leisure

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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Lake Arrowhead Village Offers a Cool Summer Escape

Although it got off to a late start, summer has arrived in Southern California and with it, the scorching temperatures that drive many to seek cooler alternatives for weekends and holidays. If your budget or schedule won’t allow for an island escape and you can’t stand facing the crowds at LA or Orange County beaches, raise your expectations—to 5000 feet—and visit Lake Arrowhead Village.

Temperatures in Lake Arrowhead Village are typically ten to twenty degrees cooler than those in the Inland Empire and San Gabriel Valley. Just a short drive from the desert floor of San Bernardino, the trip to Lake Arrowhead Village spares you about one degree for every mile you travel up the easy-to-drive Rim of the World Highway.

Lake Arrowhead Village offers something for everyone. Book a romantic night or weekend for two at the Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa, and dine on seasonal specialties and choice wines at Bin 189. Or bring the whole family and enjoy shopping, casual dining, games and rides, and live entertainment.

Lake Arrowhead Village’s Summer Entertainment Series brings the best in top names, local acts, tribute bands and family-friendly comedy to the mountain each Friday and Saturday night through Labor Day. And just like the parking, the shows are always free.

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Stars of X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent Appear Live in the Same Shows at Butlins

Butlins is proud to announce that for the first time at a UK holiday centre, and exclusive to them, stars of both X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent will be appearing in the same live shows at the three beachside Resorts, Bognor Regis, Minehead and Skegness, in 2010.

Stars of X-Factor and Britain's Got Talent Appear Live in the Same Shows at Butlins

Many of the stars are from the most recent shows – from X-Factor there will be Olly, Stacey, Danyl, Lloyd, Jamie, Lucie, Rachel and Miss Frank with Stavros Flatley, George Sampson and Faces of Disco from Britain’s Got Talent (stars from the 2010 show appearing from July). Both brands will be represented on weekend and mid-week breaks.

Prices for Butlins UK breaks start from just £59pp per break based on four people sharing a Silver self-catering apartment at any of the three holiday parks. To book a Butlins break call 0845 070 4730 or visit www.butlins.com (The maximum call charge is 2p per minute from a BT landline. Calls from other networks may vary).

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Destinology Helps Haiti

From today, every booking that you make through Destinology will result in a £5 donation to the Haiti Earthquake Appeal.

Destinology Helps Haiti

In view of the terrible events in Haiti Destinology have been liaising with Plan UK on how they could possibly assist the disaster recovery programme in place. Plan UK staff are currently on the ground in Haiti using their expertise to assess the situation and assist the families affected by the disaster that occurred.

From today, every booking that is made through Destinology will result in £5 being donated to the Haiti Earthquake Appeal and go towards rebuilding the lives of those affected.

On 12th January at 17:00 hours a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the Haitian coast rocking the capital, with hundreds of thousands feared dead. It is the biggest earthquake to hit the region for 200 years. The epicentre is about 10 miles from Port-au-Prince.

For full details on how Plan UK are helping with the situation in Haiti, please refer to the Plan UK website: http://www.plan-uk.org/haiti

If you wish to make a personal contribution you can do so by calling free phone on 0800 1300230, or online on the above website.

Destinology are providers of luxury holidays to a variety of worldwide destinations.

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Kuoni Launches New 2010 World Class Europe And Morocco Brochure

Travel specialist Kuoni has launched its new World Class Europe and Morocco 2010 brochure.

The brochure, which is being made available through Kuoni’s website and f r o m high street stores and travel agents across the country, includes a selection of luxury holidays to 16 countries f r o m as far north as Russia to the Mediterranean islands of Madeira, Malta, Cyprus, Greece, Ibiza and Croatia, and everywhere in between.

Specialising in luxury holidays, the 2010 World Class Europe and Morocco brochure includes 23 newly introduced resorts and hotels across eight countries, including Verona and Lake Garda in Italy, Ibiza and Casares in Spain, St Laurent de Cabrereisse in the French Languedoc region, and the Istrian resorts of Rovinj and Savudrija in Croatia to meet increased interest in this area.

Other highlights include more family-friendly, luxury resorts with facilities to occupy the little ones, in the Algarve, Cyprus, Tenerife, France and Croatia. Also, World Class experiences have been added for the first time.

The new brochure also includes flights on scheduled, low cost carriers and private jets as well as eco-friendly hotels and Michelin-star restaurants and chefs at hotels like the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, the Hotel Arts in Barcelona, and the Palazzo Sasso in Ravello, Italy.

The brochure features 40 tours and one-off experiences including; performances at the world-famous La Scala Opera House in Milan, private wine tasting sessions in Madrid, flying in a private plane or helicopter over the French Riviera and chartering a private yacht in Croatia.

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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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Butlins Big Weekend – 29th -31ST January 2010 ROCK & BLUES

Every year, over the last weekend in January, in that post-Christmas malaise – a remarkable music festival takes place at Butlins, Skegness in Lincolnshire.

Fast gaining an impressive reputation on the music lovers festival circuit and as hotly anticipated by the artists as the fans (who regularly travel from the length and breadth of the UK), the weekend has hosted an incredible range of some of Rock and Blues’ most exciting and influential artists, alongside fiery ‘new blood’, too.

2010 is no exception to the high quality & value threshold and this year, the event returns to its roots by presenting separate BLUES and ROCK stages.

BLUES fans will be delighted at a line up that includes – former ROLLING STONES and JOHN MAYALL guitarist, MICK TAYLOR, boogie piano king, BEN WATERS & HIS BAND (who recently had both Charlie Watts of the Stones and Jools Holland as HIS guests!); JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR, MAGGIE BELL & DAVE KELLY, THE BLUES BAND, ANIMALS & Friends, CHANTEL McGREGOR, OLI BROWN, STAN WEBB & CHICKEN SHACK, JAY TAMKIN, THE YARDBIRDS, NINE BELOW ZERO, SNAKE DAVIS & JIM DIAMOND and from THE ALARM – DAVE SHARP…

The ROCK stage hosts the magnificent NAZARETH, with Special Guests THE DEBORAH BONHAM BAND; OLIVER-DAWSON SAXON, (featuring Saxon founder members Graham Oliver & Steve Dawson); MARTIN TURNER’S WISHBONE ASH; JOHN COGHLAN’S QUO; TYGERS OF PAN TANG, PRAYING MANTIS, CARVIN JONES and from the Lynyrd Skynyrd ‘family’ – SKINNY MOLLY.

Finally, a rare performance from former WHITESNAKE guitar supremo MICKY MOODY with his band, who promise “some originals, some covers and some Whitesnake”.

And there are even more artists to be announced!

To book the Rock & Blues break at the family holiday parks call Butlins direct on 0845 070 4750 open daily (The maximum call charge is 2p per minute from a BT landline. Calls from other networks may vary).

Prices for Rock & Blues are £72 per person for the full weekend UK breaks based on four people sharing a silver self-catering apartment (all guests must be aged +18 years) including accommodation, all live entertainment and many free activities.

Butlins reserves the right to change the entertainment programme for Butlins Family Breaks.

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Nation To Decide New Crop Of Redcoats

For the first time ever, Butlins is launching an X-Factor-style search for the next generation of its famous Redcoats. The nation can play Simon Cowell by looking at the would-be Redcoat’s audition videos online and voting for their favourites.

Current TV stars Stephen Mulhern and Naomi Wilkinson got their first break at Butlins and now hopeful Redcoats are being urged to upload their audition videos to YouTube with the best 300 applicants being put through to the next round of interviews.

What to do
1. To vote log on to www.youtube.com/user/wearebutlins and visit the ‘I Want To Be A Butlins Redcoat’ playlist to view the videos
2. To enter log on and upload a video before 15th November 2009
3. Keep up to date with all the latest news at twitter.com/redcoataudition or by joining the ‘I Want To Be A Butlins Redcoat’ group on Facebook.

Known for world class family entertainment, Butlins Redcoats are famed for their high energy, lively personalities and ability to entertain parents and children alike. The holiday company receives thousands of applications for the 20 new Redcoat positions created each year.

Butlins Head of Entertainment Mike Godolphin said: “It’s time for the Redcoats to go online! The Redcoat auditions are always an important time of year for us and we’ve now truly embraced the social media phenomenon and invited the nation to become part of the process. We’re even on Twitter! Hopeful Redcoats are about to become internet stars for the first time.”

HOW TO ENTER
1. Film your audition piece on a video camera, camera phone, or webcam, keeping it to no longer than one minute in length. Please bear in mind that submissions featuring nudity, profanities or anything that may be offensive to our viewers will NOT be accepted

2. Save your video in a compatible format (WMV, 3GP, AVI, MOV, MP4, MPEG, FLV and MKV are all acceptable)

3. Create a YouTube account or log in to your pre-existent account at www.youtube.com and upload your audition video

4. Here’s the very important bit: When you’re editing the video description, add the tag ‘redcoataudition’ and set the privacy to ‘share your video with the world’. This will help us to find your video and add it to our YouTube channel

5. Your video should shortly appear on our YouTube channel under ‘I Want To Be A Redcoat’ in our ‘Playlists’ section

6. After the competition closes on 15th November 2009 Butlins will shortlist 300 entrants, based on their video submissions, who will then be invited to a second round face-to-face audition at Butlins. Should you make the shortlist, please make sure we can contact you through a private message on YouTube by unchecking the option ‘Allow only friends to send messages or share videos’ on your privacy option

The Butlins Redcoats
• Redcoats were the first type of “coat entertainers” or “Reps” in the holiday industry at UK holiday parks.

• There are approximately 150 Redcoats across Butlins three UK Holiday Resorts

• More than 1.5 million guests are entertained by the Redcoats each year

• Previous Redcoat jackets have been designed by Zandra Rhodes and Jeff Banks

Butlins has three beachside Resorts, Bognor Regis (West Sussex), Minehead (Somerset) and Skegness (Lincolnshire) and welcomes around 1.5m guests per year. Although it mainly offers family breaks it also offers around 50 Big Weekend breaks – music themed breaks for those aged 18+.

Butlins Family Holidays is part of Bourne Leisure Ltd which also owns Warner Leisure Hotels and Haven Holidays and was awarded Best Travel Company 2008 by Travel Trade Gazette. Bourne Leisure was also voted second in the Best Big Company to work for award in the Sunday Times’ list out on 8 March 2009.

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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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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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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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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.

Via EPR Network
More Travel press releases

Luxury Link Partners With Waldorf Astoria

Luxury Link, the world’s premier online luxury travel resource, announces its partnership with Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. The prestigious collection of hotels joins Luxury Link’s portfolio of world-class hotels, resorts and tour companies in over 60 countries, gaining instant access to the sophisticated Luxury Link consumer.

“Both Luxury Link and Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts strive to bring unique luxury experiences to the discerning traveler,” said Diane McDavitt, president of Luxury Link. “Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts is renowned for its grace and style. We are excited about this partnership and look forward to making these special properties available to our travelers.”

Luxury Link will feature an exclusive section highlighting the latest news and travel offerings from Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. Additionally, Luxury Link travelers will have full access to the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts web site to facilitate comprehensive research on each property and direct booking.

“Luxury Link has become a premiere venue for sophisticated travelers to locate distinctive properties around the globe. As such, it is an ideal partner for Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts,” stated Kirk Thompson, Vice President of Marketing, Hilton Luxury Brands.

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