Saturday snippets: 5th December 2015

By | Category: Travel news
British Airways  i360 © Jim Stephenson

British Airways i360 © Jim Stephenson

Brighton will have the world’s tallest moving observation tower when it opens. When that happens it has been announced that it will be called the British Airways i360. Older readers might remember that the London Eye also carried the British Airways name when it first opened as well. This time the airline might have become involved because you should be able to see the 162 metre high i360 when you fly into Gatwick which is almost thirty miles away.

Feefo, a company that hosts online reviews estimates £3.6 billion is being spent by UK travel consumers having read fake reviews and is working with the Competitions and Markets Authority on an investigation into fake reviews in the UK. The Authority says that £23 billion is spent annually by UK consumers following the reading of reviews and, of that, the travel sector accounts for £14.4 billion of this pot and 25% of reviews in the industry are considered to be fake.

What do you look at to help you to decide where to book accommodation? The story about Feefo might suggest review sites but another booking management company, eviivo, says that just 0.75% of bookings made for independent hotels and B&Bs originate from social media – compared to 74% of bookings emanating from travel websites such as Expedia, Hotels.com, Laterooms, booking.com and others. The company analysed bookings data for some of the 5,600 B&Bs and small hotels it works with, which has revealed social media is responsible for a meagre 3.3% of the web traffic to hotels’ websites. eviivo then quizzed holidaymakers on who they turn to for recommendations on where to stay and found that social media isn’t top of their list; with only 8% having ever booked a stay in a B&B because it had a social media profile. Is social media just a fad then and we are taking little notice of it?

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

For those taking a holiday that includes Angkor Wat in Cambodia, you might have heard during the week that the taking of photographs there was banned for anyone who might be planning to use those photographs for commercial gain. This could affect ordinary visitors as, under certain interpretations, it could include uploading them to Facebook, Instagram or other social media sites. (This is because that many social media websites claim uploading gives them commercial rights.) According to the Cambodia Daily, Long Kosal from the Apsara Authority which is responsible for Angkor Wat has clarified matters by pointing out this was untrue. Take all the snaps you want without any problem whatsoever.

Spending Christmas and the new year in Lisbon will give you a few things to do other than enjoying the food and charm of Portugal’s capital city. To take off some of the pounds put on from an extensive Portuguese Christmas meal, you could enter the Boxing Day run. The São Silvestre de Lisboa is the city’s most popular race, which will see around 12,000 runners saying goodbye to 2015 by competing in a 10k race across Lisbon. Starting and ending in famous Avenida da Liberdade, the race aims to promote the benefits of doing sports. Anyone can participate and there are different races for children. Then on New Year’s Eve, you can go and enjoy the fireworks, street entertainment and music in Praça do Comércio. Visitors should not forget to eat 12 raisins, one for each month of the year, as the clock strikes midnight… a Portuguese tradition which I shall not join in with as I loathe raisins so there will be more for the rest of you!

From one of the travel trade’s websites, TravelMole comes a story revealing that getting a dispute resolved takes persistence. A couple from Reading used hotels.com to book a stay in October at the Royal Sun Resort, paying £570. They received an email confirming the booking but over a month later, on September 23, received another email from hotels.com saying the hotel was unable to accept their reservation and to phone about alternative accommodation. The couple phoned the Royal Sun Resort who told them that the room had been booked but never paid for by hotels.com, so had been re-booked to another client. They phoned hotels.com, which offered her ‘unacceptable three-star alternative accommodation’. Finally the couple were finally offered, verbally, a week at the Hotel Be Live Experience Playa La Arena. They were also told they would be able to get a sea view, balcony and stay on an all-inclusive basis by way of an apology. Guess what? When they arrived they were told that the hotel hadn’t been paid so pay up or go elsewhere. They paid planning to argue the toss when their holiday was over. No joy on their return and after letters, phone calls and time wasted over two months later they tracked down a senior employee via LinkedIn. Shortly afterwards all of the money they spent was refunded. The moral? Don’t waste time with customer service departments after the first approach has got nowhere. Go to the top person if you can.

"Dress" of the Year 2015

“Dress” of the Year 2015

In Bath is located The Fashion Museum, an interesting place to see fashions from days gone by. But each year they also have a Dress of the Year award. This year it has been won by menswear designer Craig Green and the “dress” comes from his from his Spring/Summer 2015 show. This is the first time in the history of Dress of the Year that menswear has been exclusively selected and the outfit will become part of the Fashion Museum’s collection. Green accessorised his models with kite-like wooden structures draped with muslin sails blowing in the breeze. The donation to the Fashion Museum includes one of these wearable wooden sculptures, and this too will be on display at the museum. The Dress of the Year 2015 will be on display from 3 December 2015 to 3 January 2016. It will then be showcased in a new exhibition at the Fashion Museum from spring 2016.

Finally, in answer to a question in the House of Commons from Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham, the government has revealed that the cost of producing those ads you see from Visit Britain promoting Britain is GREAT, cost – on average – £48,000 to produce and to date 18 have been produced. Then there is the price of booking the TV slot, poster slot or advert. Still, on Visit Britain’s figures, it is helping to bring more visitors to the UK which benefits us all

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