Norwegian Holidays relaunches package holiday experience with TripX

Norwegian Holidays has said that it has relaunched with a new package holiday experience with new partner TripX, offering holidaymakers a choice of more than 100 destinations.

TripX is a package travel company and one of the fastest growing travel companies in the Nordic region. The new holiday platform allows customers to search and booking their holiday. The platform offers a dedicated destination finder and holidaymakers can search for their next holiday by themes such as adult only, all-inclusive or boutique.

Eivind W. Christiansen, SVP Digital Innovation & Norwegian Holidays, said ‘Whether you want to go to a big city or enjoy a classic beach holiday destination Norwegian Holidays offers the best package choice at the lowest prices. Since 2012, Norwegian Holidays has helped hundreds of thousands of travellers to enjoy great value holidays to a range of destinations and now it is time to offer a more modern and user-friendly solution to adapt to increasing demand. We believe that the intuitive new design, combined with quality products in terms of both aircraft and hotels, will ensure that consumers continue to choose a package deal with Norwegian Holidays when they travel.’

Norwegian carries nearly six million UK passengers each year from London Gatwick, Edinburgh and Manchester Airports to 30 destinations worldwide. The airline has one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the world, including next-generation Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 737 MAX and Boeing 737-800s. Norwegian is also the only airline to offer free inflight WiFi on UK flights to more than 30 European destinations.

Holidaymakers who book a Norwegian Holidays package and are members of the free to join Norwegian loyalty scheme, Norwegian Reward, will earn two percent CashPoints on all trips. Tickets for the package holidays are available to book at www.norwegianholidays.com/uk/, it said.

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.

 

Ryanair introduces 60-day check-in for purchased seats

Irish airlines Ryanair has said that customers who purchase an allocated seat for their flight can now check-in up to 60 days in advance, the latest customer service improvement offered under its ‘Always Getting Better’ (AGB) programme.

Accordingly, all Ryanair customers can select and purchase their preferred seat online, both on the Ryanair.com website and mobile app, from the time of booking up to two hours before their scheduled departure, and in turn can check-in online and on the app from between 60 days and two hours before their flight.

Customers who do not prefer to purchase an allocated seat can check-in between four days and two hours before their flight and will be randomly allocated a seat free of charge, the airline said.

Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said: ‘We are pleased to introduce 60 day check-in for customers who purchase an allocated seat, the latest customer initiative as part of our ‘AGB’ programme, doubling the check-in window and providing more choice to consumers.

While we continue to innovate, the one thing that won’t change is our low fares, and our customers will still enjoy the biggest and best choice of destinations, with the most on-time flights and a fantastic onboard experience, as we continue to grow our fleet, traffic and routes.’

Ryanair’s new 60 day check-in window follows other recent AGB initiatives including: the introduction of connecting flights at Rome Fiumicino; a new partnership with the Erasmus Student Network offering student discounts; an enhanced Ryanair Rooms website offering a wide choice of accommodation options and the introduction of Ryanair Holidays to Italy and Spain.

In addition, Ryanair has recently announced a new flight partnership with Air Europa, which will allow its 130 million customers to book Air Europa long haul flights on the Ryanair.com website. Customers can now book Air Europa flights on 20 long haul routes from Madrid to 16 countries in North, Central and South America, including Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and the United States.

The second phase of this Air Europa partnership is expected to be launched later this year and will allow Ryanair customers to connect onto Air Europa long haul flights through Madrid, Ryanair said.

Flybe commences expanded 2016-17 winter schedule from Cardiff, Birmingham

Flybe, one of the leading European regional airlines, has commenced its 2016/17 winter schedule from Cardiff Airport, featuring 14 routes including the continuation of the popular London City service.

The winter schedule also includes the recently launched twice weekly flights to Berlin Tegel, the German capital’s main international airport. Other highlights of Flybe’s winter schedule from Cardiff include daily flights to Paris Charles de Gaulle, ideal for travellers to Disneyland Paris during the festive season; and ski routes to Chambery and Geneva starting in December.

Flybe’ expanded schedule at Cardiff offers a choice of up to 74 flights a week through to March 25, 2017, with one way fares from £24.99 including taxes and charges available for booking at www.flybe.com.

Debra Barber, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Cardiff Airport commented: ‘The Flybe base is now marking its second winter of operation at Cardiff, and it’s very pleasing to reflect on all of the exciting developments that have been announced over the year so far, including the recent extension of the daily London City service which continues due to popular demand. We look forward to a busy winter of welcoming Flybe passengers and to continue our great working relationship with the airline, so that the base can keep going from strength to strength.’

Flybe has also started operating its 2016-17 winter schedule from Birmingham, with a choice of up to 375 flights a week across 23 routes including brand new daily flights to Toulouse and a weekly Saturday ski service to Geneva. Flights to Geneva will start on December 17, offering onward connections to many popular ski resorts in Switzerland, France and Italy.

Flybe’s expanded schedule at Birmingham includes increased flights to Edinburgh (up to seven a day) and to Amsterdam (up to six a day). An additional four routes will operate for the first time this winter – to Knock, Luxembourg, Nantes and Rotterdam. Flights operate through to March 25, 2017 with one way fares from £24.99 including taxes and charges available for booking at www.flybe.com, the airport said in a release.

William Pearson, Aviation Director at Birmingham Airport, said: ‘It is excellent news that Flybe will be increasing its selection of routes this winter for our passengers. Toulouse is one of France’s great cultural and commercial centres with a strong medieval heritage. Geneva is a commercial hub as well as being a fantastic gateway to many world class ski resorts.

‘We are sure both of these routes will prove popular with our passengers looking for city breaks and fantastic Christmas markets, ski and snowboard holidays or for business trips.

easyJet launches over 23.5 million seats for spring 2017

easyJet, a leading European low-fares airline based in the UK, has announced the sale of flights for spring 2017 with a record number of flights and routes available for booking now, and travel in spring.

As per the new schedule, easyJet will operate more than 138,780 additional flights across its network between March 26 and June 25, 2017, providing seats for more than 23.5 million passengers. Of these, more than 16.1 million additional seats are now on sale to and from the UK alone on about 94,870 flights.

Seats are available for booking at www.easyjet.com, with routes including: Bristol to Vienna from £27.49, Belfast to Paris Charles de Gaulle from £26.49, Edinburgh to Amsterdam from £32.49, Manchester to Hamburg from £26.49, London Gatwick to Belfast from £28.49 and London Luton to Barcelona from £32.49. Fares are per person, one way, based on two people travelling on the same booking.

Sophie Dekkers, easyJet’s UK Director, said: ‘We’re really pleased to be putting our flights for spring 2017 on sale today, where our passengers can look forward to more low fares to their favourite European destinations. For those looking to jet off on holiday, we have a number of exciting destinations to choose from – whether you’re looking for a beach break or an active adventure, we really do have something for everyone.

‘Passengers travelling for business can also take advantage of our regular and convenient flight times to major city airports across our network.

‘We’re always looking to make travel as easy as possible for our passengers and our mobile app is designed to do just that. Passengers can search and book flights in a matter of seconds, and when it comes to payment, using Apple Pay is the fastest way to checkout.

‘Our app also enables passengers to get live flight tracking and updates direct from our Operations Control Centre, download their boarding passes straight to their mobile phone – and for those travelling from Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, London Gatwick and Newcastle, you’ll be able to get real-time, personalised notifications that directly inform you when you need to go to the gate or which baggage reclaim belt to head for.’

easyJet Holidays is also available for booking for the period between March 26 and June 25, 2017, with early booking discounts of GBP45 off bookings of five nights or more. easyJet holidays offers flexible package holidays to destinations including city breaks, beach and ski holidays.

easyJet has bases across 11 UK airports and flies more than 830 routes on its network across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The airline carries over 70 million passengers annually.

Flybe and Skyscanner partner to launch search engine for linked bookings

Flybe, one of the leading UK-based European regional airlines, has announced a partnership with Skyscanner, a global travel search engine, to offer long- haul travellers options for linked bookings such as from Newquay to Dubai, Southampton to Kuala Lumpur, Inverness to Hong Kong and such.

With the partnership, Flybe’s ‘One Stop to the World’ bookings can be instantly made via a direct link from its website www.flybe.com powered by Skyscanner. The customised search tool – developed by Skyscanner for Business using its White Label product – calculates all options available for flying to selected long haul destinations from several of the key regional airports served by Flybe. It details all possible itineraries, timings and convenient connections.

Flybe’s Chief Commercial Officer, Paul Simmons, said: ‘Our new partnership with Skyscanner fully leverages a wealth of travel possibilities available by combining Flybe’s own extensive route network with those offered by our increasing number of codeshare partners. Today’s news represents a major strategic step forward for Flybe, as well as a significant milestone in globe-trotting travel options for our customers.’

Skyscanner’s Director of Business Development, Hugh Aitken, added: ‘Flybe has long been offering ‘One Stop to the World’ travel options for our passengers with seamless onward travel. Now that dream destination is even easier to find and plan.

‘This powerful new search tool reinforces our commitment to empowering our customers with as much information about the enormous choice of itineraries they now have – and all on their doorsteps from their own regional airport.’

On deciding a travel plan, customers can immediately click through and complete their flight purchase direct with the relevant codeshare carrier’s website. These currently include Aer Lingus, Air France, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Finnair and KLM.

Examples of the choice of long-haul destinations served by Flybe’s codeshare partners include Dubai with Emirates via Birmingham, Manchester and London Gatwick; and to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific via Manchester and Paris CDG, Flybe said.

 

Thomson opens holiday design store at Meadowhall, Sheffield

Thomson, a part of TUI UK & Ireland, has opened its new concept Holiday Design Store at the Meadowhall Shopping Centre, Sheffield.

The new 1,000 foot store was officially opened for business by representatives from Doncaster Sheffield Airport. The store features major technological improvements, including an 84′ touch screen interactive map designed to entertain and inspire customers.

Jill Carter, head of Sales at TUI UK & Ireland, said: ‘We are thrilled to open our Holiday Design Store in Meadowhall Shopping Centre. Our four Holiday Design Stores in Bluewater Shopping Centre, Liverpool, Bristol and Glasgow have proven to be a huge success and we’ve had excellent feedback from both customers and staff. It’s great to now be able to offer this unique service in Sheffield and help make booking customers’ holidays even more exciting.’

Equipped with advanced technology, the store is divided into specially designed zones allowing customers to browse for holidays on their own devices or using interactive screens. They can also visit the Advice Bar, which provides a dedicated computer to access reviews as well as destination, excursion and visa information or book their own holiday. Travel advisors are available to answer questions and help with booking needs.

High definition screens and projections featuring destination and hotel facilities are also presented. Customers will be able to view ‘top ten’ lists and live weather information, read reviews and view videos of destinations and hotels. Social media feeds are also streamed onto the screens.

The Design Store concept is being introduced to Meadowhall for the first time after its successful implementation in Thomson shops at Bluewater Shopping Centre, as well as Liverpool, Bristol and Glasgow City Centres last year.

 

Over a third of British travellers are safe bet bookers, Skyscanner

A third – over 38 percent – of British travellers considers themselves ‘safe bet bookers,’ according to a survey by leading travel search website Skyscanner.

In trying to understand the booking behaviour of travellers, Skyscanner had identified five distinct flight-booking types. The identification of the booker types also follows Skyscanner’s recent study, which found that the best time to book flights is, on average, five weeks before departure.

The Safe Bet Booker has been identified as one who book his flights as early as possible, reluctant to risk holding off in case flight prices should rise or flights sell out.

The Competitive Booker is one who books if the price looks reasonable, and once booked, he checks every day to see if the rates are still competitive.

The Efficient Booker will book immediately after deciding on the destination, regardless of whether he is getting a good deal and would seldom wait to check prices. Efficient bookers are generally cash rich but time poor.

The Gambler is the risk-taking booker who seeks to get the very best price even if that may mean waiting until the last minute.

The Spontaneous Booker is one who is generally laid back while both booking and on the place to go. He simply books a flight, if it looks good value.

While 38 percent nominated themselves as ‘safe bet bookers,’ only 11 percent of Brits will hold off booking until nearer the time of travelling, identifying themselves as Gamblers. Many more – nearly 29 percent – have identified themselves as competitive bookers, while 12 percent saw themselves as efficient bookers and a further 10 percent identified with the spontaneous booker type.

Skyscanner’s Mary Porter said: ‘This study shows that we all look at booking our flights in very different ways with some competitive types almost seeing it as a game or a challenge while others have a far more laid back approach.

Of course those who have to travel at a particular time are more likely to want to book in advance and we understand that – however our advice would be to track fares by signing up for price alerts, allowing them to see when lowest fares become available.’

 

Rail Companies Advise Book Christmas Train Journeys Now

Train companies are asking passengers to book their rail travel early for the upcoming festive season.

Rail passengers in the UK are being asked to book their Christmas tickets as early as possible by Virgin Trains, a UK-based train company, to benefit from the best prices and ensure reserved seating for the busiest travel period of the year.

Currently, the price for a single ticket for advance travel from London Euston to Birmingham is around GBP7.50; GBP12.00 from London Euston to Liverpool or Manchester; and GBP40.50 from London Euston to Glasgow.

Although there is still some political uncertainty over which rail company will ultimately be operating the West Coast franchise, as the current operators of the rail network, Virgin Trains are offering tickets for the Christmas season from December 9, 2012. The company has reported that tickets purchased before December 9, 2012, will be valid for travel on the journey dates.

While there will be no train services on December 25 and 26, all stations will remain open for the entire holiday period, with some alterations to train services due to routine maintenance work.

UK Transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has earlier announced the cancellation of the contract awarding the West Coast mainline rail franchise to First Group, a Scotland-based transport company. The government has scrapped the contract after an investigation by the UK Department for Transport discovered major flaws in the franchise process. Three civil servants were also suspended following public pressure to revisit the franchise contract.

Virgin Trains, the current operator, has commenced court proceedings against a decision by the UK’s Department of Transport to award the West Coast Main Line franchise to FirstGroup.

 

Increase in holidays bookings to beat January blues

Almost nine million Brits have already booked their main holiday for 2012.

A further 8.9 million have started looking at deals but haven’t booked yet.

Research by Direct Line travel insurance shows that the January sales aren’t just for clothing and home furnishings, with many people in the UK taking advantage of discounts on flights, hotels and package holidays to organise their main holiday early in the year.

Nearly 20 per cent of those who have made plans for their main holiday have already booked either short- or long-haul travel arrangements, while another one in five are still weighing up the deals on offer.

Regionally, people in some areas seem to be either more keen to get away or less keen to spend money on a holiday. Only one in five (20 per cent) Londoners said that they weren’t planning to take a main holiday this year, while nearly half of people in Wales (46 per cent) said they were planning to forgo a main holiday.