Nearly 90 per cent of customers like to use apps to organise hotel stays – survey

A hospitality trends survey has revealed that 88 per cent of people staying in hotels would like to reserve, check in and check out through a mobile app, an online report said.

The survey, named ‘Exploring The Future of Hospitality’ and commissioned by London-based international branding and interior design agency I-AM, reported that 77 per cent of people would like to request room service or other facilities through an app. The survey was conducted among 500 people aged 20 to 35 in the UK, Germany and France.

The survey also found that 80 per cent of people would like to take virtual tours of hotels before booking; 91 per cent of people would like the ability to choose their hotel room as they would choose a seat on an airplane and 85 per cent of respondents were of the opinion that hotels should provide them with the opportunity to link their streaming devices such as Spotify or Netflix.

Additionally, 95 per cent of the respondents believed that the hotel has a responsibility to introduce them to local culture and 94 per cent would like their hotel to provide them with an itinerary of places to visit depending on their interests.

Commenting on the report, I-AM Group Partner, Pete Champion, said: ‘People are travelling and moving around more than ever before, and this has allowed for a new breed of players to think about how to provide hospitable experiences on the move.

‘Transport providers are taking cues from hotels to provide novel and comfortable experiences. This, combined with the popularity of sharing economy services like Airbnb, may begin to take some of the hotel industry’s market share away. Hoteliers need to begin thinking about how they can weigh in and possibly collaborate on projects outside of their permanent sites.’

‘Consumers are requesting more control at all levels of their hotel experience. They want to build their own packages, receive transparency about costs, and cater their activities to their own interests and this is happening at many levels of the market, from budget to luxury,’ Mr Champion added.

Headquartered in Shoreditch, I-AM has overseas offices in Istanbul, Dubai and Mumbai, has a portfolio of clients in many sectors including food and drink, banking, fashion, retail estate, telecom and tech, showrooms, education, transport and destinations.

 

easyJet reveals Britains’ food, drink and boutique preferences on board

easyJet, the UK-based European low-fares airline, has published the food, drink and boutique preferences of British travellers onboard its flights.

According to the airline, the sale of paprika flavoured Pringles has increased by 30 per cent this July, as compared with July 2015, after a video of a key public figure devouring the snack went ‘viral’.

Charlotte Bunney, easyJet’s Head of Inflight Retail, said: ‘After hitting the headlines and having its five minutes of fame last summer, sales of paprika Pringles onboard our flights have gone through the sky. Our passengers seem to have jumped on the trend and want to tuck into a tube whilst flying to their destination.’

The airline also revealed the on board trends, following a thorough analysis of all sales onboard its flights from its Bistro and Boutique menu between October 2015 and June 2016.

As opposed to popular belief that bacon remains an Englishman’s favourite, passengers on flights out of the UK were more likely to eat easyJet’s cheese and ham croque monsieur than the classic bacon roll, it said.

As per the findings, Twinings English Breakfast tea is more popular in the UK than anywhere else in Europe, and more popular with passengers in the North of the UK than the South, with sales around nine per cent higher. Earl Grey recorded second place, closely followed by fruit, herbal and green teas, including peppermint tea, green tea and Lemon and Ginger tea. Last month the airline also introduced three new Twinings teas to its menu, viz. Redbush Caramel Velvet infusion, Citrus Ginger Twist infusion and Thoroughly Minted infusion.

The analysis also found a clear increase in sales of fruit, herbal and green teas following the rise of the healthy eating trend prevailing across the UK recently. Sales have increased year on year, with 14 percent more sales in July 2016 alone, compared to July 2015. Sales of illy coffee – a new brand on easyJet’s menu since 2015-end – were also highest amongst Brits than any other country, the airline said.

As for sweet treats, the Brits prefer the biscuit, with 11 percent more sales of confectionary in the UK than the rest of Europe. Snacks on offer include muffins, House of Edinburgh shortbread, KitKat, Twix, Maltesers and M&M’s.

For passengers looking for more continental stuff, easyJet offers its newly added Mediterranean mezze snack box, consisting of rosemary crackers, hummus, roasted red pepper and feta cheese dip, green olives and a piece of sticky baklava. A hot focaccia caprese, chicken with tomato sandwich and cheese salad roll are also available, easyJet said.

On the boutique brands, sales of perfume and eau de toilette were highest for passengers departing Manchester airport, closely followed by Southend, Newcastle and then Liverpool. Customers can buy brand fragrances, including Marc Jacobs, YSL, Hugo Boss, Giorgio Armani and Paco Rabanne.

Ms. Bunney added: ‘We’re proud to be serving some of the best food, drink and boutique brands onboard our flights and, whilst we were surprised by some of the trends we found, we weren’t surprised by how popular our products are proving to be.

‘We listen closely to what our passengers tell us they want, which is why we’ve introduced a number of great new additions to our menu. With a range of award-winning artisan food products, high-quality drinks and world-class shopping brands, there really is something for everyone.’

[Editorial queries for this story should be sent to tbr@enpublishing.co.uk]

British Airways survey reveals leave and holiday-booking habits of British travellers

British Airways has announced the results of a survey, which looked at how British travellers planned their holidays and to see if Brits were ‘panic bookers’ or if they planned well in advance, the airline said.

The survey, conducted by Ginger Comms on behalf of British Airways in June 2016, found that British travellers do not enjoy spontaneity when it is about a big annual trip, with more than half – 57 per cent – saying they’ve panic booked a holiday, leaving them feeling stressed (36 percent), annoyed (19 percent) and panicked or worried (18 percent).

Most travellers book their holidays seven weeks in advance, although that changes by region with the Welsh and those from the South East looking for an eight-week gap, while the Northern Irish are happy with 5.4 weeks preparation time. Within that, 45-59 year-olds are the most organised booking at 7.7 weeks out, while 16-29 year olds are more laid back, waiting until 6.5 weeks out.

While 41 per cent of the 1,000 surveyed said that they do run out of leave quickly in the year, the figure varied significantly by age – with 57 per cent of 16-29 years olds concurring, whereas only 26 per cent of 45-59 year olds agreed.

Nearly half (48 per cent) of Brits find that their preferred leave period had been snapped up by colleagues, while everyone surveyed said they had missed out on at least one holiday in the last year, due to a lack of annual leave.

Claire Bentley, managing director of British Airways Holidays, said: ‘We don’t get much leave as a country and according to our survey there are quite a few hurdles to get over to organise a holiday, including co-ordinating leave with colleagues, giving ourselves enough time to organise it and leaving enough free for life admin.

‘At British Airways Holidays we work hard to make booking a trip as easy as possible, from our 24-hour customer hotline to offering a holiday deposit from just GBP150. And with our current sale, which only runs for another week, there are all sorts of trips to be snapped up suiting everyone from the most laid back, last-minute booker through to the most organised travellers who plan months ahead.’

The survey result come as Brits have taken only one-third of their average annual leave quote, of 21 days, so far. While 21-days is the average leave amount, Scots have an annual leave of 23.7 days, nearly four days more than the Northern Irish who get the least at just 19 days, the airline said in its release, adding that everyone will spend at least seven days of their allowance on ‘personal admin’.

Birmingham voted Britain’s ‘Best Connected Airport’

Birmingham Airport has been voted best in an overall satisfaction survey by consumer magazine Which?.

Voted the ‘Best Connected Airport’ by rail users, Britain’s centrally located airport beat its peers across the country. The survey questioned 1,510 people challenging airport express trains over value for money. Scores were based on overall satisfaction and whether customers would recommend to a friend.

Virgin Trains, which operate the service from New Street to the Airport, received the highest score in the poll – with 87% of customers expressing satisfaction for the low fare of £2.40 for a single journey. Customers also commended the service on luggage space, cleanliness and comfort of the trains.

Commenting on the honour, John Morris, Public Affairs Director at the airport, said: ‘Birmingham Airport has much to celebrate in this survey by Which? Coming out on top with the highest rating and beating our competitors in overall satisfaction ensures that passengers accessing Birmingham Airport by train really are getting value for money.

‘It can be increasingly frustrating when access on public transport to an airport is so expensive, thus adding to the cost of the holiday. Connectivity and ease of access is essential when passengers are looking to book their flights, so being crowned with this title is a major achievement.’

Additionally, passengers who participated in the survey expressed dissatisfaction for the rail services of London’s three major air hubs, especially about the high prices. Gatwick Express charges £19.90 for a one way ticket, Heathrow Express charges £21.00 for a single fare, and Stansted Express tops the list with £23.40 for a single ticket.

Birmingham Airport said earlier this month that it recorded a 10.6 per cent passenger increase in January compared to the same month last year – the first time the airport has experienced double digit growth since December 2005.

 

British Airways tops list of best brands

British Airways (BA), the UK’s leading international carrier and one of the world’s leading global premium airlines, has topped the latest Superbrands survey for the first time.

The first travel company to top the list, BA beat more than 1,500 companies to top the annual ranking of brand strength in the UK. Based at London Heathrow with a fleet of more than 270 aircraft, BA flies to more than 70 different countries. In 2012 the airline carried more than 37 million customers, the airline says on its website.

The airline impressed industry experts and consumers for its ‘consistently strong performance’ and the residual goodwill from its association with the 2012 Olympics, according to Superbrands council chairman Stephen Cheliotis.

Mr Cheliotis said: ‘British Airways has always performed well in the survey but over the last two years its reputation has climbed to new heights, partly through the cementing of its successful ‘To Fly, To Serve’ positioning and the residual goodwill from its effective 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games association.’

Previous leader Rolex moved to second place after two years at the top, while Apple dropped from second place last year to 14th place.

Of the other leading brands, Google dropped downward from sixth to seventh place, while Microsoft slipped from third to sixth. Facebook, which made 14th place last year, completely fell out of the top 20, but Sony moved up from 25th position last year to 17th place.

Amazon.co.uk made it the top 20 for the first time in 13th place.

Meanwhile food brands Heinz and Kellogg’s retained their place in the top 20 at fifth and ninth respectively – joined by Cadbury at 11th, while Coca-Cola moved up from fifth to third.

Running since 1995, The Consumer Superbrands ranking is based on a survey of 3,000 adults who are asked to consider a selection of brands by the Centre for Brand Analysis.

 

British air travellers admit to cheating to get an upgrade

One in six British travellers admitted that they have cheated to get an upgrade on a flight or at a hotel, according to a survey by travel website, TripAdvisor.

The survey, covering over 8,000 Britons, revealed that nearly 17 percent admitted lying to airline or hotel staff to win a better room or seat. A separate survey of over 12,000 holidaymakers showed that one in eight had also pretended to be sick for a holiday extension.

Responding to the findings a spokesperson for ABTA, a UK-based travel association, said, ‘Treats and upgrades can be a real perk of travel but there’s a danger that we’ll stop seeing them if this goodwill is abused.’

Earlier this year Telegraph Travel reviewed airline upgrades and several carriers reportedly said that the best way of being selected for an upgrade was to join the airline’s frequent flyer scheme. ‘It is sometimes necessary to upgrade customers,’ a British Airways spokesman said, adding, ‘This is rare and will normally apply to frequent flyers who are members of our loyalty programme first.’

A spokesman for Germany-based carrier, Lufthansa, said, ‘Passengers who paid more for their tickets are more likely to be upgraded than passengers who bought a discounted ticket. The frequent flier programme status is also taken into account.’

According to many airlines, upgrades are mostly offered for ‘operational reasons’, like when the economy class cabin is full or oversold, but the premium cabins are not. ‘It never hurts to ask’ for an upgrade at the check-in desk, they said, adding that a genuine reason, such as ‘being exceptionally tall, pregnant, or even celebrating a honeymoon, birthday, or anniversary, would certainly improve your chances.’

 

Frugal Brits economise on holidays

A survey has revealed that British holidaymakers are cost conscious when it comes to booking their annual getaway, spending an average of just £554.40 per person.

Carried out by holiday booking company, Teletext Holidays, the survey also discovered that many British tourists spent well below the average, with 45 percent of those that responded having spent less than £400 on their break, while only 17 percent spent more than £800 per person.

The survey also investigated the aspect of the holiday that respondents found most exciting. Just under 33 percent said that it was travelling to their holiday destination that they found most exciting, with around 20 percent being most excited by the booking process. 10 percent said that the most exciting aspect of the holiday was researching where to go.

Predictably, there were differences highlighted in the holiday booking habits of men and women. Men were less inclined to book well in advance, preferring to wait until late on in the hope of getting a bargain. Women, on the other hand, were far more likely to book their ideal holiday as much as a year in advance.

Amy Patel, from Teletext Holidays, told the Daily Mail that it is still possible to save money even when booking late. She said, ‘There are deals to be had right up until the last minute and we’d encourage those people who would typically book well in advance, to keep their eyes open for last minute offers too.’

In an ominous verdict on the travellers’ perception of the holiday industry, almost a third of respondents to the survey said that they felt that they were being ripped off when booking a holiday.

 

Last quarter foreign holiday bookings up by eight percent in UK

A survey has shown that overseas holiday bookings between March 1 and May 31 are up by 8 percent compared with the same period last year.

Multicom, a travel software company, has announced the results of its study, which also revealed an increase in holiday costs of 2 percent and a 16 percent increase in turnover.

Whether the upturn is due to improved confidence in the economy, as cited by Multicom, or whether it is more down to consumers finally reacting to years of financial constraints despite the economy, is difficult to say. However, the impact on British consumers of the poor spring weather – which Multicom also cited – will certainly have driven many to book an overseas getaway.

John Howell, Multicom’s managing director, said, ‘These figures show a clear trend that bookings are up this year as people feel more confident about their financial security while also wanting to escape the poor British weather. The increase in spend per booking underlines the renew confidence holidaymakers have it would appear, while the increase in the cost per booking reflects the small rise in prices.

‘The poor weather has also left many in need of a break from the uncertain summer ahead, choosing instead to make plans for a decent holiday where they can be assured of some sun and less rain.’

One company that has benefited from the upward trend is Global Travel Group, a travel agency based in Chester, UK. It has reported an increase in sales of 11 percent across its 400 independent travel agents. The company stated that Spain and the Indian Ocean were proving particularly popular with British travellers, while its cruise sales were up by 25 percent.

 

Survey reveals worldwide price anomalies for hotel peripherals

A survey has reported large anomalies in the charges that hotels around the world levy for peripheral services.

The survey, which was carried out by Tripadvisor, a website that assists customers in gathering travel information, has revealed that hotels in certain locations around the world will charge considerably more for items such as mini bar purchases, than hotels in other destinations.

One of the largest disparities was between hotels in Moscow, Russia, and those in Cape Town, South Africa, with the former charging as much as four times more than the latter for a packet of mini bar peanuts; GBP7.96 compared to GBP1.20.

In addition to mini bar sundries, the survey also looked at items including room service orders and dry cleaning services, and massive price variations were discovered there too. A club sandwich that costs GBP4.11 in Cape Town was GBP13.95 in Moscow, but hotels in Zurich Switzerland charge even more, at GBP18.67.

Along with Cape Town, Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt and Mumbai in India offered the best value for money, with their prices for a selection of items that included a bottle of water, a can of coke, a mini bottle of vodka and dry cleaning coming in at GBP12.61, GBP15.27 and GBP16.27 respectively. At the other end of the scale, hotels in Moscow, Paris – France, and Stockholm – Sweden were the most expensive for the same items, charging GBP53.05, GBP44.17 and GBP43.97 respectively.

At GBP19.36 for the same list of items, four-star hotels in London were the eleventh most expensive to be surveyed.

Emma Shaw of TripAdvisor was quoted in the Daily Mail, saying, ‘For those willing to shell out a bit more on flights, it seems there is money to be saved in south east Asia or Africa.

‘For Brits looking to stay a little closer to home in Europe, there is a price to pay and that price is on average more than four times as expensive.’

 

Brits prioritise travel over life-changing events

According to a recent survey, the British prioritise travel over more life-changing events, including buying a house, getting married or having a baby.

Today is the first ever International Happiness Day, as declared by the United Nations General Assembly, and to mark the event, G Adventures, a Canada-based adventure travel company, has carried out its 2013 Happiness Survey, questioning respondents from the UK and worldwide on the importance of travel to their happiness.

Of the Britons surveyed, 88 percent stated that travel was very important, putting the nation’s onus on travel ahead of the worldwide average of 83 percent. When asked what was most important to their happiness, marriage at 8 percent, buying a house at 7 percent and having a baby at 6 percent, all paled into insignificance when compared to travelling, which earned a massive 74 percent vote from respondents.

However, travelling is not always seen as a social pastime for insular Brits, with 30 percent of them happy to travel alone, compared to a 25 percent average from the rest of the world. Even partners could be excluded from travel plans, with 8 percent of respondents that were in a relationship still preferring to travel alone, while family members only polled 3 percent when compared to other, more favoured travelling companions.

The survey also revealed that travelling is more important to women than men, and that women are also more inclined to ditch their partner and travel with friends. A large majority also opined that more time off from work would make them happier in their occupation than would a pay increase or improved status.