easyJet predicts record holiday travel this summer

British low-fares airline easyJet said that it is expecting almost 14 million passengers to fly out of the UK this summer – between mid-July and the end of September.

Spain tops the list of the most popular destinations with Malaga, Barcelona, Palma and Alicante featuring within the top five. Faro, Nice and Paphos are also popular among British holidaymakers in search for ‘guaranteed’ sun.

Sophie Dekkers, UK Director for easyJet, commented: ‘Our record bookings this summer show that the strong pound is having an effect on British holidaymakers who can see their pound will stretch further on holiday. With some bookies also having suspended betting on this summer being the wettest on record UK passengers aren’t taking their chances.

‘For those who haven’t yet booked, there are still some bargains to be had for a last minute summer deal to escape the British weather.’

For British holidaymakers who are yet to book for summer, easyJet has over five million seats for sale between August 1 and September 30 to Spain, France, Portugal, Italy and Greece.

Fares available for booking include: London Luton to Bordeaux from £41.56, London Gatwick to Lyon from £48.14, London Gatwick to Marseille from £49.18, Southend to Venice from £45.40, London Gatwick to Nice from £48.77; London Gatwick to Nantes from £47.22 and London Gatwick to Toulouse from £49.77, the airline said. The fares indicated are per person, one way, based on two people travelling on the same booking.

One of Europe’s most popular airlines, easyJet carries over 66 million passengers annually, of which more than 12 million are travelling on business. The budget airline flies over 230 aircraft on more than 750 routes to over 130 airports across 31 countries.

 

British Airways prepares for busy Easter break; over 700,000 passengers expected

British Airways is expecting to see almost 700,000 people travel around the world on its flights during the 2015 Easter break set to start next week.

Starting Thursday April 2, families and holidaymakers are expected to travel to destinations of their choice across the globe for a pleasurable getaway. The single busiest day for travel will be Monday, April 6, with 142,000 people set to fly with British Airways. More than 135,000 people are expected to travel with the airline on Sunday, April 12 to return home.

The top long-haul destinations for travellers this Easter are mainly to the US, with New York in the lead, followed by Los Angeles and Miami, with strong bookings also to Hong Kong and Boston. Other popular long haul destinations include Johannesburg, San Francisco, Cape Town, Dubai and Tel Aviv, the airline said.

Edinburgh is the top choice for short-haul travellers, followed by Barcelona, Amsterdam, Glasgow and Rome. Other favourites include Geneva, Manchester, Nice, Madrid and Berlin.

Stephen Humphreys, British Airways’ head of UK&I sales, said: ‘Like many parents, I’d like a break away with the children to shake off the last of the winter weather and recharge by soaking up some much needed sun before the onset of spring. Fortunately there are some brilliant deals still on offer from British Airways Holidays to exciting city destinations like New York, Paris and Milan.’

British Airways offers priority boarding for those travelling with children. Skyflyer activity packs are also available to keep children engaged and entertained. Child meals can be pre-ordered with British Airways’ ‘feed families first’ policy.

The getaway packages offered by the British Airways include: three nights at the Doubletree by Hilton Metropolitan – New York City, from £899 per person, travelling on April 3; two nights at Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile from £229 per person, for travel between March 28 and April 12, 2015; two nights at Aspect Hotel Parkwest, Dublin from £119 per person, for travel between March 27 and April 30, 2015; two nights at Innside Berlin from £159 per person, for travel between March 27 and April 30, 2015; and two nights at Raffaello from £149 per person, for travel between March 27 and April 30, 2015.

Britons fall short on European annual leave league

British workers average two less annual days leave per year than their European neighbours according to a recent survey, the Daily Mail has reported.

The survey, carried out by on-line travel organisation, Expedia, took data from 24 countries and deducted that the average European worker benefits from 28 days annual leave. This compares with UK workers who, although entitled to an average of 26 days, typically only take 25 days. This could be why three quarters of UK workers polled said that they felt ‘very or somewhat’ deprived of time off.

However, when compared to the annual leave that workers from certain nations outside of Europe are entitled to, UK workers appear to be positively spoilt. A prime example is that of American workers, who averaged just 15 days of leave in the past year, and typically only took 14. But despite this seemingly meagre amount of time off, only 54 percent of Americans polled said that they felt ‘very or somewhat’ deprived.

Asian workers appear to come out worst from the poll results, with Thai workers only receiving 11 days holiday entitlement, and South Korean workers only taking seven of the 15 days that are available to them.

Andy Washington, managing director of Expedia.co.uk, was quoted in the Daily Mail, saying, ‘The vacation deprivation study looks at holiday habits across several different continents. While habits differ, the emotional impact of holiday does not.

‘Somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of people worldwide say that holidays make them feel happier, better rested, closer to their family, less stressed, and more relaxed.’

 

Thomson predicts the holiday trends for 2014

Holiday company, Thomson, is expecting millions of British holidaymakers to go online during the yearend to plan their 2014 vacation.

Looking ahead, Thomson has predicted the expected destination hotspots and emerging travel trends for British holidaymakers for the next year.

While Mediterranean countries like Greece, Spain and Cyprus remain popular destinations for Brits, Thomson is expecting demand for further away and less known holiday spots in 2014. In the last 12 months, one in five, or 20 percent of web searches, were for long-haul holidays, it said.

In 2013 bookings for Thomson and Thomson Cruise’s long haul destinations increased by 28 percent on the previous year, and this is expected to further increase for 2014. Based on past bookings data, the emerging destinations for Thomson & Thomson Cruises include Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Khao Lak, Thailand; Croatia, Mauritius, Jamaica, Sochi, Russia, Panama, Ukraine, Montenegro and the Roatan, Honduras.

Planning weddings in sunny destinations has been another growing trend over the past decade, a trend that is expected to increase in 2014. Thomson saw an increases of almost 100 percent in the volume of traffic to its Weddings homepage in 2013.

Based on early booking patterns, Thomson predicts that the most popular months for weddings abroad in 2014 will be May and September, besides the traditional wedding months of June, July and August in the UK.

Greece, including its islands, is predicted to be the first choice for families looking for a refreshing and inspiring holiday break next year. Almost a quarter of Greek holidays sold were on a half board basis In 2013, and this is expected to increase in 2014, Thomson said, adding that it will increase its capacity by 9 percent across the country to meet rising demand.

Jeremy Ellis, marketing director at Thomson, said: ‘Understanding where our customers are going and why is key to us delivering the very best holiday experiences. 2013 has seen some interesting trends emerging so we look to 2014 with excitement as we use this knowledge to give our customers the high level of choice and service that they have grown to expect, for an even better holiday in 2014.’

Travellers seek happiness factor along side costs

Travellers are beginning to consider the ‘happiness’ factor as importantly as price when booking travel, Travel Mole has reported, citing a separate research report.

According to new research by World Travel Market, holidaymakers and travellers are demanding more comfort and added value to seek a higher ‘happiness score’. The WTM Global Trends Report 2013, commissioned in association with Euromonitor International, highlights the emerging trends in the global travel and tourism industry, and says that ‘happiness factor’ is now as important as price.

In the US, flight meta-search website, Routehappy.com, which was launched in April this year, provides flight Happiness Factors and Happiness Scores on a scale of one to 10 helping consumers select flights based on comfort and suitability.

Using “Flightpad,” proprietary Product Attribute Database, Routehappy studies airlines and airplanes globally combining traveller experience with low prices and flight availability.

Consumers can set their own happiness criteria, according to in-flight services, based on incentives such as ear-plugs, wi-fi, entertainment, leg room and other factors. The WTM report also says that smart phones and tablets will be the key customer service tool in travel within the next five years and that budget carriers will offer more ‘frills’ in the future in order to remain competitive.

“Our Happiness Score is very important to airlines. Why? Airlines are working hard to move away from air travel being a commoditised, price and schedule-only decision,” Robert Albert, Founder and CEO, Routehappy.

With more than 100,000 unique visitors at launch and over 30 percent of visitors returning in July 2013, the Routehappy site is a unique offering with the UK as the leading European source of demand. According to the report, the UK air transportation segment is expected to record two percent growth over 2012-2017, to reach £31 billion air travel retail sales by 2017.

Other transportation modes such as bus and cruising, as well as hotel and travel retail players, is likely to follow suit and adopt the ”Happiness Score? approach, the report said.

BA launches digital platform for choosing holiday destinations

British Airways (BA), the UK’s national carrier, has launched a digital platform that is intended to help holidaymakers to choose their ideal holiday destination, through a visual and social online tool.

The new digital platform, named Picture Your Holiday, was designed by BBH London and created by Monterosa, a mobile agency recently acquired by BBH. The move comes after EasyJet created its own holiday CRM tool last October, which it called Inspire Me. Inspire Me uses a scroll bar to display varying budgets, airports and holiday themes for European customers.

The platform features a visual mood board that offers customers a range of interlocking images that show different holiday destinations and experiences, including beach scenes, mountain hikes, cityscapes, art galleries etc, which can be dragged into a concertina-style book. Once a selection of images has been compiled, BA produces a range of tourist destinations that suit the individual profiles that users have created. These ideas can then be shared with others through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and email.

The work is being supported by digital and outdoor activity, including interactive digital outdoor ads on touch screen LCD screens at Westfield shopping centre. The screens have been produced and built by Grand Visual in association with Kinetic Fuel, and mimic the online experience.

Matt Armstrong, head of marketing and distribution for BA Holidays, said: ‘We believe that by putting the fun and emotion back into searching for holidays, we can surprise people by suggesting destinations they may not have considered. By using generic destination images alongside lifestyle images we can showcase the wide-ranging appeal of the destinations we support.

‘This is a different approach from other tour operators and we hope it will make our holidays stand out in a very competitive market,’ he added.

Survey says British holidaymakers still haunted by work

British Airways, a UK-based airline company, has announced the results of a survey that it has carried out into British workers’ ability to switch off from work while on holiday.

The survey has revealed that Brits abroad find it hard to leave the stresses of the workplace behind, and switch off for as little as four days during two weeks holiday. Three days was the minimum time that respondents to the survey said that it took them to wind down and forget about work. Then, once the holiday moves into its last few days, fears about the return to work resurface and raise anxiety levels. These fears can make holidaymakers resort to checking their work e-mails or even phoning work colleagues for an update.

BA learned that respondents to the survey were more relaxed about their jobs while on short breaks than on long ones, because there was less chance of work mounting up while they were away.

Managing director of BA Holidays, Claire Bentley, was quoted in the Daily Mail, saying, ‘Many believe that getting away from things for two weeks means you can really switch off – more so than if you just went for a long weekend away. But it seems for some the opposite is actually true.’

Survey findings confirmed that 20 percent of respondents worried about work while they were away on holiday, 25 percent worried about the amount of work that they would face on their return, more than 20 percent checked their e-mails at an Internet cafe, and 15 percent took a laptop with them to the beach or pool.

Death knell for brochures as Virgin opens paperless travel outlets

Virgin Holidays, the travel agency arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin empire, has signalled the demise of the iconic holiday brochure with the opening of the first of two paperless ‘holiday laboratory’ travel outlets this weekend.

Virgin’s new hi-tech holiday stores will assist customers with creating their own vacations with the use of giant computer screens and iPads, and the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent will be the first venue to host a new-look store. The second store is earmarked to open on July 8 at the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield.

The stores will rely on video and sensory experiences to fulfil clients’ holiday expectations, with no place among the hi-tech offerings for the printed word. Having created their own holiday itinerary using technology that records their movements, clients will have their own copy in digital format to take away with them. Sensory effects, including textured flooring, mood lighting and appropriate scents will all be employed to provide the client with a virtual taste of their preferred exotic destination. And as no experience is complete nowadays unless it has been shared with the world on social media, customers will also have the option of having their photo taken against a green screen to provide them with a shareable record of the vacation that they have just booked.

Virgin Holidays’ customer and sales director, Mark Anderson, commented, ‘Our holiday laboratories have been designed with one purpose – to harness the latest technology and the increasingly powerful influence of social media to create something really different on the high street. As our retail network has grown, we’ve increasingly seen the need to put ‘play’ at the heart of the buying experience and these two stores are the logical conclusion of that process.’

 

Women’s clothes shopping adds 33 percent to cost of holiday

A new survey has revealed that shopping for clothes in readiness for an upcoming holiday adds an average of 33 percent to the holiday cost for women in the UK.

The survey, which was carried out by travel agency company sunshine.co.uk, revealed that on average a woman spends £245 on clothing, accessories and toiletries when preparing to go on holiday. This compares with an average amount spent on flights and accommodation of £710, and signifies a sizeable addition to the overall cost of the trip.

The pre-holiday shopping spree typically includes four items of swimwear, six summer dresses, five tops or vests, three pairs of sandals or other shoes, two pairs of shorts, three items of holiday jewellery; sunglasses, a beach bag, sun lotion and additional makeup. The prime reason that 21 percent of female respondents to the survey gave for their urge to spend on the new wardrobe was their determination not to be seen wearing the same items of clothing when photographed for the coming holiday as they were when photographed for the previous holiday. This was also the reason why a third of respondents said that they bought some new items of clothing every time that they went on holiday.

Chris Clarkson, co-founder of the Sunshine website, was quoted in the Daily Mail, saying, ‘I think it’s easy to forget about other costs involved in going on holiday on top of the flight and accommodation. My advice would be for people to really take a look at the clothes and accessories they already have, because there’s no need to buy new items each time.’

UK travel agents back domestic holidays campaign

Several major UK travel agents are backing a government-sponsored campaign to promote domestic holidays.

The ‘Great Adventure’ campaign gets underway today, launched by VisitEngland, the body responsible for promoting English tourism, and Maria Miller, the UK government’s culture secretary. It has received the backing of travel agents operating within the UK, including Thomas Cook, Premier Travel, Coop Travel, The Travel Network Group, Tui, Advantage, Shearings Holidays, Superbreak, Hoseasons, Bourne Leisure and Attraction World.

The main thrust of the promotion, which has a budget of £4 million, will be TV adverts featuring animated screen stars Wallace and Gromit setting off on their own holiday adventures around the UK. The first advert will be aired on the nation’s commercial channels this Sunday, May 12, with the emphasis on encouraging viewers to book their travel breaks with local travel agents. In addition, the website, yourgreatadventur.co.uk, will be promoted to provide viewers with ideas for UK-based excursions and holidays.

A feature of the website will be a facility whereby those intending to book a holiday can input their postcode and find the nearest agent to them that is signed up to the promotion.

For the financial investment involved, the organisers expect to generate £80 million in revenue from additional tourism, and in excess of one million extra overnight stays.

James Berresford, VisitEngland’s chief executive, said, ‘We have had a fantastic response from the domestic travel trade, and I’m looking forward to working with our tour operator and retail partners to inspire Britons to visit their local travel agent and book a break at home this year. Wallace & Gromit are wonderful ambassadors for holidays at home. They are a quintessentially English double-act with universal appeal at home and abroad, and I’m sure they will capture the public’s imagination.

‘Following on from the success of the first Holidays at Home are GREAT campaign last year, which generated over £300 million in additional tourism spend, this new campaign forms a key part of VisitEngland’s strategy to grow tourism in this country, supporting the government’s agenda for growth.’