Riu Hotels and Resorts Announces New Hotel Properties in Caribbean, Mexico and Morocco

RIU Hotels and Resorts, a Spain-based hotel chain, has reported opening of four new hotels in Mexico and Caribbean destinations.

The all-inclusive ClubHotel RIU Ocho Rios is located along the beach of Mammee Bay in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and offers 856 guestrooms. The newly refurbished hotel is offering private check-in, luxurious junior suites, as well as suites with hydro-massage tubs and Jacuzzis, and hotel amenities including complimentary Wi-Fi, concierge service for restaurant bookings; complimentary dining experiences; two swimming pools; and many leisure facilities.

The Hotel RIU Palace Bavaro is a new beachside hotel in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, which opened in December 2011. The hotel is offering 610 guestrooms; 10 restaurants and bars; two swimming pools; a Mini-club; a fitness centre and a spa; along with meeting spaces.

The new RIU Palace Tikida Agadir, offering 444 rooms, opened on March 26, 2012, located next to ClubHotel RIU Tikida Dunas, RIU Tikida Beach, and Riu Grand Palace Tikida Golf properties in Agadir, Morrocco.

The RIU Palace Peninsula beach front property opened in May 2012, in Cancun, Mexico. The hotel boasts 562 rooms, located in a main building and 48 villas; dining venues including six restaurants and seven bars; and a stunning view of the Caribbean waters.

Luis Riu, the company chief executive officer, said, ‘We hope the new Riu Palace Peninsula will give a new push to this destination which recently turned 40 years old. For us, this is another example of the importance that Mexico has in our development plans and the high quality that we seek to offer in this country.’

HostelBookers Offers Accommodation for Queens Jubilee Weekend

HostelBookers, a UK-based company offering accommodation on a budget, is aiming to offer inexpensive accommodation in London for the Queen’s Jubilee weekend.

The Diamond Jubilee of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II will include two bank holidays on June 4 and 5, 2012, and many people are intending to take a longer holiday during the period. Most hotels in the UK are already overbooked and hotel prices have peaked for the weekend. Hostel accommodation may not readily spring to mind with many would-be visitors, but it can provide a cost effective means of being at the heart of the festivities.

The company is offering accommodation at Palmers Lodge-Swiss Cottage, located in a restored Victorian Grade II listed building in London, for prices commencing at £24 per person per night. The hostel is offering complimentary Internet, Wi-Fi and daily breakfast. The accommodation also offers amenities including a bar and restaurant; a TV lounge; and a laundry room.

The company is also offering apartments in Kensington West, with Queen’s Jubilee weekend prices commencing at £52.50 per person, per night.

Accommodation at Surprise Backpackers includes clean dormitories with complimentary Wi-Fi, lockers and daily breakfast and is available for the Queen’s Jubilee weekend, for prices commencing at £36 per person, per night.

Hyde Park apartments, located close to Paddington, features trendy decor, contemporary kitchens and Wi-Fi access. Room rates here commence from GBP63 per person, per night.

In addition, Travel Joy Hostels, located close to Chelsea Bridge, is offering rooms with complimentary Wi-Fi and continental breakfast, for prices that commence from £32 per person, per night.

Advantage 2012 Conference Highlights Changes in Corporate Travel Policy

Social media may be driving corporate travel product suppliers to change their ways of marketing and connecting with their customers, and companies to control their travel expenses.

At the recent 2012 Advantage Conference that took place in Malta, a senior travel buyer has highlighted that companies’ travel policies are currently undergoing several transformations, and will change even faster in the next two years, influenced by the Internet, mobile applications and other social media.


Carel Aucamp, the global sourcing manager for procurement network organisation, Agrega, said, ‘There will be one billion smart phones in use by 2015, and the apps industry will be worth $55 billion by then. Controlling the use of apps by our travellers in 135 countries is impossible. But you still need duty of care.’

Companies’ new travel policies are set to offer incentives to travellers for compliance, by offering discounts, like the insurance industry; as well as by offering loyalty points and a level up, like the airline industry; to nudge them in the right direction. Social media will allow the companies to assess the travel preferences of the employees, and to formulate policies accordingly.

Aucamp said, ‘Awarding travellers points, in competition with each other, for using preferred suppliers and booking within policy, creates a different conversation around the water cooler. You can regularly publish the top 10 travellers, and small rewards – maybe they get five minutes with the CEO. You’re asking travellers to be intelligent, and they’re choosing to take responsibility and do the right thing.’

Wet April Boosts Overseas Holiday Bookings

Virgin Holidays, the UK-based holiday company, has reported a rise in holiday bookings following the persistent rain that drenched the UK for much of April.

April has officially entered the record books as the wettest in the UK in 100 years, causing British citizens to fear for what the coming summer might bring and book overseas holidays in the hope of guaranteeing better weather. The company has reported a 55 percent increase in April vacation bookings in 2012, compared to the same period in 2011.

April 29, 2012 was the wettest day of the month, and that was the day when the company recorded its maximum enquiry level for overseas vacations, mostly for destinations in the Caribbean and in Florida, US.

Happy with the surge in holiday bookings, the company is planning to launch a new ‘Downpour Discount’ for people booking holidays on the wettest days of the months ahead.

Amanda Wills, the managing director of Virgin Holidays, said, ‘This ongoing poor weather is no joke for those affected by flooding so we’re looking at various rainy day discounts initiatives to give them something to look forward to. It’s a simple equation – the more it rains here, the more money you could save on a holiday to get away from it. The increase in demand across all of our channels tells us that consumers are desperate to find some sun. There are some fantastic bargains to be had and the surging value of the pound means that their hard-earned cash goes further once they get there.

After the wettest April in a century, and numerous predictions for an overcrowded, washout summer, it’s hard to blame them for turning their back on the staycation.’

British Airways Increases Flights from London City Airport to Glasgow

British Airways has announced an expanded service to Scotland from London City Airport.

The frequency of London City Airport to Glasgow daily flights will be increased from five to six from May 28, 2012. The price for the one-way flight commences at GBP53 per person.

The service has been brought forward from its earlier schedule of commencing from September 24, 2012, to now commence from May 28, 2012.

The airline had previously announced another new service to the Scottish city of Aberdeen, which commences on September 24, 2012, from London City Airport, and is to be operated by BA Cityflyer, a subsidiary of the company.

The airline is also offering flights to Quimper And Angers, in France, from May 25, 2012. The airline had earlier also announced the launch of new flights to Venice In Northern Italy, from September, 2012.

In addition, the airline also intends to operate additional flights from London City to the destinations of Menorca, Majorca and Ibiza, in Spain, within the next few months. British Airways currently flies to 17 destinations from London City Airport, and intends to increase this to 22 destinations in the UK, Europe and the US by end of May, 2012.

Earlier, Luke Hayhoe, BA CityFlyer commercial manager, said, ‘Our direct flights from Edinburgh and Glasgow to London City are extremely popular with Scottish customers who want to want fly straight to the heart of the City, for both business or leisure.’

Flybe Announces New Routes Services from East Midlands Airport

Flybe, a UK-based airline company, has announced several new routes from East Midlands Airport in England.

Until this announcement the airline has only offered flights to Belfast, in Northern Ireland, from East Midlands Airport. The new services will include the destinations of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands; Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in France; Jersey; and Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland.

Andrew Strong, managing director of Flybe UK, said, ‘We are pleased to announce this major expansion at East Midlands Airport as a key part of our winter programme that goes on sale today.

We already serve 35 UK airports and are Europe’s biggest regional airline, so it makes sense for us to add these additional five key European and UK services at the start of our 2012-13 Winter schedule.’

The new routes commence from October 28, 2012, as part of the airline’s 2012-2013 Winter Schedule. The airline will be operating two aircraft for the new routes, and they will be based at the East Midlands Airport.

Ken O’Toole, chief commercial officer of Manchester Airports Group, which owns East Midlands Airport, said, ‘We welcome Flybe’s commitment to East Midlands Airport, and this major expansion underlines East Midlands’ position as a leading regional airport in the UK.

The new services will provide increased connectivity for both business and leisure passengers, will open up additional access to long-haul destinations via the major hubs at Paris and Amsterdam and is a reflection of the airline’s commitment to the region and the businesses that operate.’

Hong Kong Airlines Passengers Gain Gatwick Airport Lounge

Hong Kong Airlines, an airline based in Hong Kong, China, is offering its passengers at London Gatwick Airport access to the No.1 Traveller’s Lounge in the North Terminal of the airport.

The airline currently offers a daily service from London Gatwick Airport to Hong Kong International Airport, and passengers flying on the route will be able to access the No.1 Traveller’s Lounge’s complimentary services at Gatwick Airport, courtesy of a new partnership between the airline and No.1 Traveller Ltd, the UK-based company, which operates airport lounges at the Heathrow, London Gatwick and Stansted airports in the UK.

The lounge, in the North Terminal of the airport, offers around 10,000 square feet of space, which includes a Travel Spa, and a business centre, as well as complimentary food from an a-la-carte menu, a range of complimentary magazines and newspapers; a set of shower cubicles; comfortable seating areas; a bar, a games room, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

The airline’s passengers may also enjoy premium services, like champagne, cocktails and a choice of spa treatments as complimentary offers.

The lounge services are otherwise available to all passengers at the airport for a charge.


Howard Ebison, head of commercial at No.1 Traveller, said, ‘Both business and leisure travellers will find that the premium lounge compliments the all-club class ambience of the Hong Kong flight perfectly.

The lounge opened in May last year and is available to all passengers using the North Terminal for a fee of £22.50 for adults and £10 for children, if booked in advance.’

New Luxurious Jumeirah Resort Opens in Port Soller, Spain

The new Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa is now open in Spain.

Located on the Bay of Soller in Mallorca, this seaside luxury resort is the first European resort from the Jumeirah Group, a UAE-based luxury hospitality company.

The new hotel and spa has been constructed from local and sustainable materials, and is sited close to Orange Valley, in the Sierra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The hotel aims to acquire a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC), for its sustainable practices.

The resort is offering 120 rooms and suites to its guests, with open balconies offering views of the bay. It also has two restaurants and four bars, two swimming pools, and the Talise Spa for relaxation.

The resort comprises 11 low-rise buildings, blending with the landscape and surrounding natural environment. The two new restaurants, Es Fanals and Cap Roig, are open and offering dishes that are based on the area’s cuisine and using local ingredients. Children will be able to spend their leisure time at the Barbaroja Kids Club, with guided tours, cooking classes and yoga sessions on offer.

The Port de Soller is a beachside fishermen’s village, and a part of the town of Soller, a natural port.

The island has 26 golf courses, as well as opportunities for adventure sports such as diving, snorkelling and fishing with experienced instructors.

Jumeirah Group owns six hotels in Europe, including the Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel in London, in UK, in addition to its numerous hotels in the Middle East.

UK Residents Yet To Be Stirred By London 2012 Olympics

In Britain, people are yet to be caught up in the excitement of the Olympics 2012 bandwagon, with the event competing with the upcoming UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Champions League final to be played on May 19, 2012, between England-based Chelsea, and Germany’s Bayern Munich, followed by the UEFA European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.

The findings of a new study show that excitement around the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic games is rising, but is yet to catch up with the other sporting events that are in the offing. The Keller Fay’s TalkTrack Britain study is the only ongoing research project that tracks online and offline conversations, and its findings show that only 20 percent of the UK consumers have discussed the 2012 Games during April 2012, which is a slight rise over the March 2012 figure of 18 percent.

This is in comparison with 25 to 30 percent of UK consumers who have reported discussing football league matches in April 2012.

The attention of sports fans in the UK is expected to shift to the 2012 Olympics once the football and rugby seasons close, said the research.

Steve Thomson, the managing director of Keller Fay UK, said, ‘It’s clear that excitement about London 2012 is building, but at the moment traditional sports – football especially – are hard to dislodge from getting the main attention around the nation’s kitchen and pub tables. In England, this week has started with the focus on Roy Hodgson, and it seems that until the summer itself the Olympics aren’t yet top of the agenda.’

Experience Golf Holidays at Fairmont St Andrews Hotel in Scotland

For anyone that loves golf, the Fairmont St Andrews Hotel in St Andrews, Scotland, is offering what it claims to be the ultimate vacation for golfers.

The golf resort is located on a 520-acre estate with a coastal setting, and offers luxurious accommodation, an opulent spa, several dining venues, and two golf courses.

The Torrance Course at the resort is hosting the Scottish Senior Open golf tournament from August 17 to 19, 2012, where former Ryder Cup player, Barry Lane, will be defending his two-time title-winning streak. The Kittock Course is another 18-hole course that is attached to the property.

The hotel has won the European Golf Resort of the Year 2012 from IAGTO; and the Golf Resort of the Year 2011 from Golf Tourism Scotland; and is ranked 18 in Conde Nast’s Top 100 Golf Resorts in the World.

The resort has recently re-launched its popular ‘Golf, Golf and More Golf Package’ on both of the golf courses. The holiday package includes two nights of accommodation in a guestroom; a Scottish breakfast every day; limitless golf on the Torrance Course and the Kittocks Course; with complimentary use of buggies on The Kittocks Course. The golfing holiday rates commence at £349.00 per room, per night.

The other vacation packages from the hotel include a discount up to 30 percent on stays of three or four successive nights; and an overnight stay for a couple, with a Scottish breakfast and a round of golf included, for rates commencing at £209.00 per room, per night.