Saturday snippets: 3rd January 2015

By | Category: Travel rumblings

This is near Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands. But to Visit Britain maybe its Cumbria or the Brecon Beacons!

With a slightly malicious sense of the ridiculous, three of the features of the travel industry that I remember from 2014 are that someone thought that the website name,, could sell for £20 million, Visit Britain couldn’t tell the difference between Cumbria and the Brecon Beacons and that Ryanair claims to have saved its passengers over €9 billion in 2014.

Amidst much fanfare, an auction house thought it might get over £20 for the website name, Selling it at one of the biggest travel trade fairs would seem the right time to make a sale but the reserve price – whatever that was – wasn’t even reached. It is still up for sale but at a lowly $5 million, some £17 million less than was estimated! Greedy owners, greedy auctioneers or is that what’s really worth?

When launching a promotion to attract visitors to mid-Wales, Visit Britain managed to use an image of the Lake District. Citing a tagging error for the mistake it probably gave more publicity to the Brecon Beacons – and Cumbria – than the promotion would have done. I wonder whether they will count that in their annual value of publicity figures which they present in their annual report showing how well they are doing?

You may have seen in the New Year’s Honours List that the former head of Visit Britain got a CBE to add to her MBE and that the head of Visit Scotland got an OBE. Nice that all these well-paid people get honours for doing their job ( and some would say not very well at that) when so many volunteers that keep tourist offices open up and down our countries get nothing.

Ryanair Business Plus

I saved thousands by not travelling on Ryanair in 2014

Last March, those caring and kindly people at Ryanair in the guise of their marketing director, Kenny Jacobs, claimed that they have saved the travelling public over €9 billion during 2013 based on their average pricing. Personally I saved at least a billion by not buying a couple of Airbus 380’s but I also saved all Just about Travel readers money to. By not charging per issue as newspapers do, or even per article as some academic publishers do all our readers were better off in 2014 than in 2103. Why? Because we published more articles. Let’ say that we were to charge 1p for each story and last year there were about 900. Each of our average monthly readers  saved £9. All due to our largesse in providing Just about Travel free. As there were an average of over 200,000 readers each month last year that amounts to £1.8 million. So Just about Travel saved readers that sum last year. Why if I charged £1 a story I could have made £180 million. But I doubt whether there would be a reader left!  But look how generous I have been in giving all our readers £180 million. Aren’t Ryanomics wonderful?

There was also all the problems with over-running engineering works on our railways. I am not just thinking of Christmas time but throughout the whole year when the first service on a Monday morning seemed to be cancelled with regularity. After a while, I gave up even thinking of Monday travel to destinations to write stories for Just about Travel.

The rail issue has continued into 2015 and, as rail fares rise as regularly as night follows day, so do over running engineering works. Why does Network Rail think that people travel less at weekends? That is the biggest time for short-break holiday seekers. We have a seven day a week economy but no seven day a week rail mentality.

Unlike the rest of the travel industry where even Christmas Day is a work day for the industry. Monarch announced that mobile bookings made on Christmas day were up 32% year-on-year and 80% year-on-year for Boxing Day bookings. With tablets and smart phones becoming more popular, Monarch saw mobile traffic and use of its mobile app, which now has over 194,000 downloads, jump on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Overall on Christmas Day and Boxing Day traffic was up 40% from last year’s figures. They weren’t alone. Other airline sites, online travel agencies and tour operators had busy times and, wait for this, had humans at the end of telephones to help answer queries. So Network Rail and all rail companies, why don’t you join the 21st century and realise that life is seven days a week, 365 days of the year.

and I don't travel on East Coast on Mondays so I saved even more

and I don’t travel on East Coast on Mondays so I saved even more

Another industry that closes down for much of Christmas is the PR industry and the media. Yes, there are news bulletins but most of the time is a rehash of the news. Look at the BBC or any national newspaper and they will have stories still there from before Christmas. It just shows that the news we see and hear is dependent on what the media  does. When it goes quiet, so do news stories which isn’t the case. The world goes on, it’s just that the media can’t be bothered with as much involvement as they can in a “normal” week. Even the level of press releases sent to me drops like a stone. Instead of my normal 160 e-mails a day I am down to 10 or so. What it means for you, readers, is that I have less to tell you and you have to put up with waffle!

So I won’t waffle. I’ll just end it here and hope to have more news for you next week

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