Glasgow hotels cash in on Commonwealth Games fans

With the start of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow just two days away, visitors to the games are being made to dig deep to afford hotel rooms in the city, the Daily Mail has reported.

The Commonwealth Games begin this Wednesday, July 23, and in response to the expected influx of supporters for the event, Glasgow hotels have imposed sharp increases on their room rates, some by as much as 158 percent of their usual rates. This means that the average price of a hotel room in the city will be £344 per night, compared with an average of just £78 per night for the same period of July and early August a year ago. According to figures supplied by the Trivago Hotel Price Index, the current hike in room prices is even extreme compared with rates available just a week ago, when the average room price was only £133.

The increase is most pronounced for Sunday July 27, with an average cost of £448 per room, making it the most expensive night of the period for those seeking accommodation. This is due to the level of interest generated by the start of the athletics competition that day, which will take place in the Hampden Park stadium, recently the subject of a £14 million refit.

The exorbitant prices have failed to quell the interest in visiting the games though, with Trivago reporting that the number of on-line searches for Glasgow hotels increased by 104 percent in May and a further 13 percent in June. And those visitors able to afford the high cost of accommodation should be rewarded with performances from some of the world’s top athletes, including Mo Farah, who is likely to compete in the 5,000 metres.


Survey reveals Brits’ most popular holiday pastimes, pet peeves

British travellers are becoming increasingly reliant on smart-phones and tablets while on a holiday, and paying extra for Wi-Fi is now one of the top ‘holiday hates,’ according to a survey.

The poll by Thistle Hotels, a part of glh, an owner-operator hotel company in London with over 4,000 hotel rooms, questioned 2,000 people to understand their holiday habits and interests.

According to the survey, an average holidaymaker spends an hour online each day of their holiday, catching up with friends and current affairs. Nearly one in 20 admitted they would rather spend time online, than with their partners on holiday. Consequently, having to pay for Wi-Fi now ranks alongside traditional holiday annoyances, such as rude hotel staff and rooms not being ready on arrival.

The research, undertaken to launch Thistle’s new faster, free internet in all its UK hotels, revealed that the top five ‘holiday hates’ are, rude hotel staff (69 percent), rooms not being ready (45 percent), paying for Wi-Fi (38 percent), limited buffet/menu selection (37 percent), and not being as close to holiday attractions as advertised (32 percent).

The survey also found that while booking a holiday, fast, free and reliable Wi-Fi is more important (51 percent), than having a swimming pool (49 percent), or even having a TV in the room (37 percent).

Mike DeNoma, glh. CEO said; ‘It’s crazy to think that in 2014 hotel chains are still charging up to £20 a day for Wi-Fi. Our research shows that free, fast and reliable Wi-Fi is very important to holidaymakers, which is why we’ve partnered with BT Wi-fi to upgrade our existing free internet access. No registrations, no limitations and no fine print, customers can now simply click and connect without fuss or fee; and most importantly they do not have to sign up to memberships or earn loyalty points.’

Of the main hotel brands in the UK, the Hilton Hotel group charges between £14 and £20 a day for WiFi, Premiere Inn charges £3 a day, or £10 a week, but does offer an initial 30 minutes of free WiFi; IHG charges £14 a day across its leading brands. It also charges £3 a day or £13 a day at ‘Crown Plaza’.

Marriott offers free WiFi in its reception areas, but charge £15 a day for access in rooms across its major brands and £4.95 an hour, or £12.99 a day, at Marriott Courtyard. Marriott Gold and Platinum members receive free WiFi throughout premises and access is limited to six devices. Free internet is also included in Premium rooms and suites. Travelodge charges £5 an hour, £10 a day, £20 a week, or £30 a month for WiFi access.

UK’s Milestone Hotel receives top honour at the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards

The Milestone has been named the UK’s Best Hotel in the TripAdvisor 12th Annual Travellers’ Choice Awards.

The Milestone was also named the fourth best hotel in Europe and fifteenth in the world. The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, the group that owns Milestone, had a major representation, as 11 of its properties were recognised in the rankings across all of the award categories.

Of Red Carnation’s London properties, the five-star Hotel 41 was named 13th Best Small Hotel in the UK, 12th Best Luxury Hotel in the UK and 14th Best Hotel for Romance in the UK. The five star Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge was listed fourth Best Small Hotel in the UK, and 11th in Europe.

Among the four star hotels, The Chesterfield Mayfair was named 21st Best Small Hotel in the UK, and The Montague on the Gardens in Bloomsbury 23rd Best Small Hotel in the UK. The group’s Summer Lodge Country House Hotel in Dorset was named eighth Best Small Hotel in the UK, and in Guernsey The Old Government House Hotel was named 21st Best Luxury Hotel in the UK.

Jonathan Raggett, managing director of Red Carnation Hotels, said: ‘Everyone at The Milestone Hotel and Red Carnation Hotels overall is immensely proud at our significant presence in the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards.

‘The Milestone has consistently featured highly in the TripAdvisor Popularity Index for the last five years, and offers the unique atmosphere of a luxury country house bolt hole in the heart of Kensington. TripAdvisor is doubtless a key driver of business for us.

‘Above all, we attribute our considerable guest loyalty and our continued success on TripAdvisor to our personalised approach to guest service. Our philosophy is ‘no request too large, no detail too small’ which guarantees an individual approach for each and every person that stays with us.

‘Furthermore, these awards are also a testament to our inspirational president and founder, Mrs. Beatrice Tollman. She has an innate sense of what it takes to make the guest experience truly exceptional, and has an exceptional eye for detail and design.’

Red Carnations’ properties in Ireland, Switzerland and South Africa were also honoured at the awards.

Hotel brands must offer ‘3D’ experience to win guests, says report

Hotels must deliver a ‘3D’ – global, local and personalised – experience to win guest loyalty in the future, according to a report by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)

The new report – ‘Creating Moments of Trust – the key to building successful brand relationships in the Kinship Economy’, says that personalised brand experiences reflecting local culture are particularly important for international travellers from emerging markets.

The report says that travellers believe global hotel brands offer better services than local hotel brands in several aspects, including safety consistency and innovation. They now expect global brands to be relevant in terms of local tastes, customs and cultures.

Commenting on the report, Richard Solomons, IHG chief executive, said: ‘This report marks a step-change in the thinking that has dominated the travel and hospitality industry over the last two decades. Hotel brands have traditionally concentrated on being 2D – how to be both global and local. But our research shows that the rise of personalisation means brands must be 3D in order to build both trust and lasting relationships with guests and to win in a highly competitive global market.’

Based on the research, IHG has identified six ‘trust-building’ actions that will help its hotel brands around the world to deliver the 3D experience that guests increasingly expect. These actions include consistency, authentic local customisation, tailored consumption, support technology enhanced service, personal relevance and using service to surprise and delight.

IHG says that it is already addressing the growing consumer demand for 3D brands. The development of the two newest hotel brands, HUALUXE Hotels & Resorts, the first international hotel brand designed specifically for Chinese travellers; and EVEN Hotels, the first mainstream holistic wellness hotel brand, are examples, it added.

The report, which surveyed over 7,000 international travellers, found that over the last 12 months, emerging market travellers have been travelling more frequently than their developed market counterparts.

Thomson and First Choice set to offer free Wi-Fi in all concept hotels

UK-based holiday company, Thomson and First Choice, will offer free Wi-Fi in all concept hotels, Travel Weekly has reported.

Starting May 1, Wi-Fi will be provided free of charge across 135 hotels in 42 destinations, with access available throughout the hotels, benefiting nearly one million holidaymakers. This includes Thomson Sensatori, Couples, Family Resorts, Scene and Gold hotels, as well as First Choice Holiday Village, SplashWorld, Club Magic Life and SuneoClub resorts.

The move comes after research involving Thomson and First Choice customers found that they valued free Wi-Fi over traditional hotel amenities like room service. Guests in family resorts rated Wi-Fi access to be almost as significant as having a quiet time and relaxing by the swimming pool.

The reesearch revealed that 60 percent of guests valued Wi-Fi and rated it as important to their overall holiday experience.

Product director, Mark Hall, said: ‘We know how highly people value Wi-Fi in hotels as a service and as such we will be offering free Wi-Fi throughout our exclusive hotel concepts at no extra cost to our guests.

‘Through research we’ve seen that Wi-Fi is an integral part of our customers’ holiday experience and that they want to access social media sites, keep in contact with loved ones at home and research the area they are staying in whilst away.’

According to a separate report by the BBC, travel company Tui, which owns Thomson and First Choice, said that the outlook for 2014 remained promising despite one-off costs and weak French demand in 2013.

The holiday operator added that trading for winter was on track, with 60 percent of its programme already sold, adding that it was ‘pleased’ with summer 2014 trading. Tui has now terminated unprofitable routes and reduced its long-haul programme.

Jurys Inn ties up with Hilton, rebrands three London hotels

Jurys Inn Hotel Group and Hilton Worldwide have signed a franchise agreement, under which three Jurys Inn properties in London will join the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of hotels.

According to the terms of the agreement, Jurys Inn’s Chelsea and Islington hotels will be rebranded as DoubleTree by Hilton during spring and summer 2014 respectively, while the Heathrow property will become Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow in December 2014.

Jurys Inn will invest approximately £20 million in the planned rebranding, and the three hotels will continue to be owned and operated by Jurys Inn.

The hotel improvement programme will include the addition of 143 guest rooms at the DoubleTree by Hilton – London Islington. Guests at the Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow will see a full renovation including the addition of a Pavilion Pantry, as well as benefiting from other amenities, including an on-site fitness centre and guest laundry.

Commenting on the announcement, John Brennan, CEO of Jurys Inn Hotel Group, said, ‘This initiative will see three of our London hotels leverage their prime locations, a significant investment programme and Hilton’s upscale brands to further optimise future revenues and deliver exceptional service to our guests.

‘The excellence of our leadership team and employees within these hotels, working in conjunction with our new partners in Hilton Worldwide, will ensure a smooth and seamless transition for our guests to DoubleTree by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn.’

Commenting on behalf of Hilton Worldwide, Jim Holthouser, executive vice president of global brands, said, ‘Both DoubleTree by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn have seen dramatic growth in the UK and are earning increased loyalty and preference both amongst UK guests and international visitors. We are delighted to be taking this next step with a partner such as Jurys Inn.’

Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, development – Europe & Africa, Hilton Worldwide, said, ‘This is an incredible testament to the strength of our brands in London and the wider UK market. In the five years since we introduced DoubleTree by Hilton into the UK, it has grown rapidly, and with this signing we will have 10 hotels in the capital, 2,767 quality rooms, and yet more to come.

‘We are delighted to be working with Jurys Inn’s visionary leadership team who will continue to be instrumental as we launch these superbly placed properties within our London portfolio, which includes 36 hotels trading or under development.’

A mid-market hospitality group, Jurys Inn has 32 hotels spread across the UK, Ireland and the Czech Republic. Hilton Worldwide is a global hospitality company that manages and operates 10 hotel brands, comprising more than 650,000 rooms in 90 countries and territories.

Which? Travel’s survey reveals Britain’s ‘worst’ hotel chains

Consumer magazine, Which? Travel, has revealed the results of its survey of Britain’s worst hotel chains, according to a report by the Telegraph.

Britannia Hotels was named the worst hotel chain in Britain by the readers of Which? Travel. Britannia, which has 44 hotels in the UK, scored only 36 percent in an online satisfaction survey. Travelodge, which has 500 properties in the UK, was considered the second worst hotel chain.

Britannia Hotels claims to provide ‘affordable accommodation,’ however respondents described the chain’s hotel rooms as ‘shabby’ and ‘run-down.’

The chain was rated across six categories and scored one star out of five, the lowest mark, for cleanliness, room fixtures and value for money. Britannia guests also found it astonishing that a room with a window was GBP10 extra.

Travelodge received an overall customer score of 50 percent, but only two stars for cleanliness, room fixtures and comfort, while breakfast was awarded just one star out of five. Telegraph Travel, which reviewed five Travelodge hotels in recent years, said that the properties received a rating of five or six out of ten.

A total of 8,267 Which? readers, who were also members of the magazine’s online community, took part in the survey.

The other names in UK’s worst hotel chains were Ramada (excluding Encore), Principal Hayley (PH) Hotels, De Vere Village, Shearings Hotels, Copthorne, Park Inn by Radisson, Jurys Inn and Old English Inns.

The best-rated hotel chain was Q Hotels, which has 21 properties, with 2,900 bedrooms, in the UK. Q Hotels, which offers ‘four star luxury’, scored 78 percent overall. It received five stars out of five for cleanliness and room fixtures, but an average of three stars for value for money.

Radisson Blu Edwardian, which has more than 400 bedrooms across 14 hotels, was the second highest rated hotel in the UK, and achieved an overall score of 77 percent.

Premier Inn, with more than 650 hotels in the UK and 52,000 bedrooms, was the largest chain to feature and scored 76 percent overall.

Rosewood Hotels opens in London

Luxury hotel, Rosewood, has opened in London, marking the launch of the Rosewood Hotels & Resorts brand in Europe.

With its owners claiming that its design makes it one of the most exciting places to drink and dine in London, Rosewood London is located in Holborn, one of the most historic backdrops and where the City meets the West End. The hotel is housed in the 1914 Edwardian Belle Epoque building, which has undergone an extensive renovation. An expert team of craftsmen were employed to ensure that the original architectural features were restored sensitively.

Matthias Roeke, managing director of Rosewood London, explained: ‘Rosewood London encompasses an element of surprise in its design which gives this landmark building, steeped in and surrounded by history, the lease of life it deserves. We are honoured to be the stewards of an exciting new chapter in its legacy.’

The guiding philosophy of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, an ultra-luxury hotel group, is ‘A Sense of Place’, in which each property reflects its location’s history, culture and sensibilities.

The company says that Rosewood London serves as perfect example of the philosophy, with the 262 guestrooms and 44 suites conveying the feel of stylish London residences, while the public areas are filled with artwork and books. Restaurants offer both classic and contemporary British dishes, while the event spaces reflect the building’s past function as the headquarters of Pearl Assurance Company. The grand carriageway and the distinctive courtyard are said to be more typical of a private manor house than a hotel.

Tony Chi and Associates have designed the accommodation, event venues and public areas.

The suites offer some of London’s finest accommodation and include the Grand Manor House Wing. Accessed via a private elevator, it is the only hotel suite in the world to have its own postcode. It has over 6,318 sq. ft. of living space and features six bedrooms, a dressing chamber, a library, a dining room and several sitting rooms.

All guests residing in suites receive access to the hotel’s Manor Club. A private retreat, the Manor Club has a personal butler and concierge service as well as a menu of cocktails and light dishes.

The hotel’s Lobby Lounge offers all-day dining and afternoon tea, while the Garden House features a garden terrace overlooking the London skyline.

The hotel’s bar, designed by Martin Brudnizki, offers an extensive cocktail list accompanied by a menu of curries and casseroles, featuring spicy Indian dishes and European-style stews. The Holborn Dining Room, also designed by Martin Brudnizki, will be open by February 2014 and will be operated by Des McDonald.

IHG launches new campaign to support Holiday Inn Express brand

UK’s InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is set to launch a new brand campaign as part of efforts to support its growing Holiday Inn Express brand.

The new brand campaign, which will be launched in the UK and Germany, targets travellers looking for a decent hotel stay, for business or holiday, at an affordable rate. Created by JWT London, the advertising campaign focuses on the brand’s pledge to give guests an unfussy accommodation – ‘Simple. Smart. Spot On.’

The campaign will be transmitted across TV, radio, digital, PR, in-hotel and B2B channels in the UK and across PR channels in Germany.

Matt Luscombe, chief commercial officer, IHG, Europe explained: ‘Our 2013 Trends Report identified the emerging categories of traveller set to shape the next ten years of travel so we can listen and respond to their needs.

‘The ‘Simple. Smart. Spot On.’ guest experience at Holiday Inn Express is designed to appeal to the type of smart traveller who is looking for independent, fuss-free travel: a simple, great night’s rest which helps them to be productive on the go.’

The campaign comes at a time when UK visitors are increasingly contributing to strong growth in German tourism. According to the latest figures from the German Federal Bureau of Statistics, between January and June 2013, over 30.9 million overnight stays were registered in accommodation establishments of ten beds or more. This represents an increase of 3.2 per cent compared to the previous year.

‘These positive first-half numbers are continuing, and after three record years in a row, the signs are also pointing to growth for 2013 as a whole – this is a great success for Destination Germany,’ said Ernst Burgbacher, representative of the Federal Government for business and tourism.

The UK market also remains a highly important target sector for Germany, with an increase of 7.5 per cent in overnight stays compared to the same period last year.

One of the largest and fastest growing brands in the hotel industry, Holiday Inn Express has over 2,200 hotels in 31 countries around the world.

British holidaymakers pay more as hotel prices rise

Holidays have become costlier for British travellers as hotel prices in the majority of tourist cities increased in the first half of 2013, The Telegraph has reported, citing research by

Research by the booking website examined the average price paid by British travellers in 111 cities and found that prices in 61 of them had increased, while it remained the same in 11, and in 39 cities prices had declined.

The biggest increases were reportedly registered in Cancun, Sharm El Sheikh and Marrakech. Average room rates in the Mexican resort increased to £147 a night, 32 per cent higher than a year earlier, while in the Red Sea’s biggest resort prices rose by 30 per cent to £104 a night, and in Marrakech hotel prices increased by 24 per cent to £90 a night. Vilnius, Cairo, Reykjavik, Sydney and Benidorm also registered a major rise.

In the US, prices in 12 of the 15 featured destinations increased, with a major rise recorded in Key West and Miami.

According to, average rates in London increased by only four per cent to £116. However, in comparison a survey by TripAdvisor last month said that the the price of city breaks in some of the UK’s biggest cities has increased by nearly 30 per cent in the past year.

David Roche, President, said: ‘There is no doubt that European hotel prices have been some of the most badly affected since the economic fallout in 2008/2009. The fact that the Eurozone recorded growth for the first two quarters of 2013 is evidence that the economic crisis is easing, although not yet completely over. Many of the destinations worst hit by the downturn have seen hotel prices stabilize, with some experiencing healthy rises.’

The survey found that Polish capital of Warsaw recorded the biggest fall in average rates. A typical one-night stay cost £65 between January and June this year, 20 per cent less than the same period in 2012, when the city was one of the hosts for the European Football Championships.

The cheapest destination in the study was Phnom Penh, where a single night’s lodging will cost British travellers around £35 on average. Hanoi was second (£41), followed by Chiang Mai (£44), Siem Reap (£45), Pattaya (£49), Ho Chi Minh City (£60).

The most expensive of the cities as per the study was Monte Carlo, where a typical hotel room costs £189 a night. Muscat in Oman was a close second, at £188, followed by Rio de Janeiro (£180), Key West (£179), New York (£178) and Moscow (£164).