24 March 2009

Kayak confuse British consumers with Kayak users

Oh, do me a favour!

Travel search engine, Kayak.co.uk, has published the results of its 2009 Travel Outlook Survey,which according to them, indicates...

  • that despite industry fears, the majority of Brits (85%) are still expecting to travel abroad this year.

  • that while high street travel agents have historically enjoyed being the first port of call for holidaymakers, this year cash-conscious Brits are swarming the Web in order to find the best possible deals. (Here is their headline result) Nearly every single respondent (92%) is planning to go online to find the best price for airfare, hotel and car rental, believing the best deals are found on the Web. Conversely, fewer than one percent of survey respondents (0.8%) will turn to high street travel agents for advice on stretching summer budgets.

NO! You think?

What kind of answers where they expecting from their sample of "over 1,000 kayak.co.uk users"? IE. 1,000 travel consumers already online and searching for prices!

Their survey wasn't all tosh though. Even with such a small niche sample there are a few semi-useful results...

  • Approximately three-quarters of Kayak users (73%) are planning to take two or less holidays this year. Staying in budget (32%) is a bigger concern than having fun (24%), getting their rocks off (2.2%) or protecting the environment (1.5%).

British Kayak users also say they are...

  • Choosing a destination in off-season to take advantage of lower prices (66%)

  • Swapping European strongholds like Spain for alternative destinations that provide more bang for the buck – such as South Africa, Iceland, Thailand and Malaysia (65%)

  • Staying with friends or relatives (46%)

  • Trading down the number of stars on the hotel (42%)

But they won't compromise on everything...

  • More than half (59.7%) of respondents would happily pay an additional £50 in order to catch a flight from their closest airport. 

19 March 2009

Are Les Francais taking the piss?

They must be!

I know that if you are in a seasonal industry you have to 'make hay while the sun shines' so, for the Alpine resorts that means fleecing every skier for what they can get... but £210 - £245 (thru Ski Holiday Extras , Alpline or Skihoppa) for pre-booked private return transfers from Moutiers train station to Meribel (18kms/25 mins) is having a laugh!

Of course, the sensible thing to do is catch an Altibus for €12.50 a head...

Mais non!

Altibus schedules run every 30 mins or so, up to 15 mins before the Snowtrain arrives on a Sat morning ("bringing beaucoup des stinking Anglais zat we can rip off") then stops for three hours!

"Zut alors! Make them pay for private taxis!"

Cynical? Moi?

10 March 2009

Funny Ferry

King of Scandinavia cruise ferry with giant red noseI've always found the whole Red Nose Day thing... admirable... but desperately unfunny.

So I surprised myself when I laughed out loud on opening this pic just now. 

Not sure what it is, but there is something ridiculous about it.

(in case you are interested it is DFDS's King of Scandinavia showing off what they believe to be the biggest red nose in the world, ever.)

...and here is BA's effort. See? It's not as funny, somehow.

Airlines have the edge over hotels in a recession

airliners taxiing in sunset
I'm struck by the contrasting way in which the hotel and aviation industries are coping with global recession.

Hotel executives are looking particularly gloomy right now.

Yesterday, the DLA Piper 2009 Europe Hospitality Outlook Report was published. Its survey of 143 UK hotel executives revealed that an astonishing 95% of them expected hotel chains to start going bankrupt in the next 12 months. A quarter of them expect the number of hotel chain failures to be over ten.

38% expect the industry to recover in 2010, but the majority (53%) don't anticipate recovery for the hotel industry till 2011.

By contrast, the aviation industry is also gloomy...but not downhearted.

Last week, Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez, president of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) predicted that air transport would bounce back in one or two years.

"I am very, very optimistic (about the recovery)," he told the Chinese news agency Xinhua.

The ICAO's traffic forecast for 2009 indicates zero growth, but the organisation anticipates +4.4% growth in 2010. Many airlines, Gonzalez said, are already responding to the recession by cutting costs through fleet reduction, routes cancellation and merger negotiations.

One of the key reasons for that tone of resilient optimism lies in that last point. 

When times get tough, airlines can downsize quickly and efficiently in a way that property owners simply can't - they can park their aircraft.

And they are (parking them).

Travel Weekly reports that Ascend, a London-based aviation consultant and data provider, has counted almost 2,300 jet airliners parked up right now - 11% of the world's fleet. Almost half of them (1,167) were grounded last year, which indicates how quickly the aviation industry was able to respond to the downturn in business. 

Hotels or airlines? I know which travel sector I'd prefer to be in right now!

05 March 2009

Not all airlines are shrinking

Lufthansa Italia aircraftThis piece of news stood out in a sea of airline network and frequency cutbacks.

Regional airline Lufthansa Italia began operations last month from Malpensa airport in Milan, flying to Paris and Barcelona. This week they have added services to Brussels, Madrid, Budapest & Bucharest, and when the summer schedules start at the end of the month they will launch their routes to Lisbon and London Heathrow.

Now they have announced that "advanced bookings for the coming months have developed so favourably, we are already in a position to expand our services" (Lufthansa Executive VP, Karl Ulrich Garnadt), so they are adding three Italian destinations: Rome, Naples and Bari.

The new services start on 1st April.

04 March 2009

Norwegian Epic - the world's ugliest cruise ship?

Norwegian Epic
I'm absolutely sure it'll be lovely to sail on, and, from the inside, it will look fine....but dear lord, what were they thinking!

I mean there have been some stinkers - just think of the Grand Princess class with the ridiculous night club/aerofoil at the back! It looks like a 1981 Ford Escort! (and Princess' Ruby class is no 'looker' either)... or the Costa Marina (looks like a car transporter)  - but this one really is the runt of the litter!

It looks like they've just plonked a 4-storey block of flats on the front....which of course, they have.

03 March 2009

Teamplay...Algarve style

This one makes me smile. A press release from the Algarve Promotion Bureau.

It starts...

Calling all Golfers! For the months of May and October 2009, the Algarve Promotion Bureau has teamed up with three popular airlines; Jet2.com, Monarch and Thomson Airways to offer free transportation of golf clubs for golfers when travelling to the Algarve.

But it ends with the small print...

Note: Free club carriage is subject to each individual airline’s terms and conditions for this promotion, details of which are available on the relevant airline website. Club carriage is subject to availability and it is not the responsibility of the Algarve Promotion Bureau.

So where's the 'teamwork'? You know, shared workload, shared responsibility? 

Glad that's not Arsenal's view of team play!