Ryanair introduces city travel section

Irish low-fares airline Ryanair has introduced a new city travel section on the Ryanair.com website, offering customers a complete guide to each of Ryanair’s 186 destinations.

The new Ryanair guides include hotel, accommodation and dining listings; recommended things to see and do; nightlife and shopping guides; maps and general city information; flight, fares and airport information; car hire, parking and transfer services; and downloadable PDF guides to each destination.

Ryanair’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs said: ‘Ryanair.com attracts 4m visitors every day making it Europe’s favourite travel website, and we are continuing to improve its usability and content. We are pleased to introduce these city guides, offering our customers information on the 186 exciting places we fly to in Europe and North Africa, which include hotel, dining and sightseeing information, making Ryanair.com the number one destination for travellers. This is part of our ongoing commitment to keep improving the digital experience and we see destination content as an exciting part of how the Ryanair.com platform will develop.’

The travel guides come after Ryanair recently revamped its website to include features such as ‘Fare Finder’, where customers can find and book the lowest fares by price point, route and travel period; the ‘Share the Fare’ feature, which enables customers to share the airfares with friends and family on social media; as well as interactive timetables, listing the available flights by departure time in a month on a selected route, making it easier for travellers to plan journeys.

Customers can also use the new route map, listing every Ryanair destination by departure airport, and the lowest available fares and routes.

Ryanair said that over two million Ryanair customers have already signed up to the ‘My Ryanair’ registration facility, which allows customers to create their own personal profile and store their details for faster bookings and check-ins.

According to the latest World Airline Transport Statistics by IATA (International Air Transport Association), Ryanair carried more international passengers than any other airline, carrying nearly 81.3m international passengers last year. While the latest ONS (Office of National Statistics) figures showed that air fares in the UK increased by 20 percent last month, Ryanair claimed that its average fare declined by four percent last year.


Manchester airport trials escort service

Manchester airport is conducting the trial of an escort service that it describes as ‘friendly guides’.

The service has been introduced so that ‘friendly guides’ can help arriving and departing passengers through the airport. Departing passengers will be met at check-in and have the service of their guide until they board their aircraft. The £50 cost includes up to four departing passengers in a party, while the cost for a party of four arriving passengers is £40. There is a £5 per person charge for additional members of a group, up to a total group size of six.

The concept of using knowledgeable members of staff to guide passengers is one that has been adopted by a number of other major airports.

Tricia Williams, Manchester airport’s customer service director, said, ‘The purpose of this service is to take the stress out of travelling. The ‘Friendly Guide’ will be your dedicated guide to meet you at your point of arrival, whether that be at a car park, bus stop, taxi drop off or the train station and take you to your check-in desk before fast-tracking you through security.

‘We recognised from feedback that some passengers who drop off relatives are not familiar with the airport and that this small gesture would be greatly appreciated. With this service, people can relax safe in the knowledge that their relatives have been looked after from the moment they’ve arrived at Manchester airport and be told the moment their family member is on the correct flight.’

Initially the service will only be available for the trial period in Manchester airport’s Terminal 2, but the intention is to make it available to all terminals in time for the big summer getaway.


London Deploys Its Army of Street Sweepers As Tourist Guides

The city of London is preparing its army of bin men and street sweepers to offer information to tourists that get lost in the city or are unable to locate a place of interest during the upcoming 2012 London Olympic Games.

An estimated one million international visitors are expected to land in London during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the city has been gearing up to offer an incident-free holiday to them all. Around 1,000 road sweepers and refuse collectors have been trained to offer directions and other tourist information to foreign visitors, in addition to their regular job responsibility of keeping the city clean.

Counsellor, Ed Argar, the UK cabinet member for city management and transport, said in an interview, ‘Our street sweepers and bin men are some of the friendliest faces in town. So much so, that as well as keeping the city clean, they often become the unofficial tour guides for London. This initiative will increase that engagement and make the millions of people expected this summer feel even more welcome.’

The street sweepers are currently being trained to improve their customer service skills, and will be asked to keep small maps to help out tourists that are in difficulties.

Jeremy Brinkworth, the head of business development at VisitEngland, said, ‘This is a great example of how England is pulling together to ensure all our visitors during this amazing year are given an outstanding welcome. We are sure that London’s road sweepers will help to form a great first impression for visitors from throughout the UK and overseas.’


TripAdvisor Announces City Guides For 50 Travel Destinations

TripAdvisor City Guides are now available for 50 travel destinations worldwide.

TripAdvisor, a company that provides an online travel community for collating user-generated travel information, has doubled its existing mobile apps offering information on destinations around the world. The company is adding 30 new cities to its mobile application portfolio.

The apps will also be including new features for the Android platform. These will allow travellers to view local transit stations, generate customisable maps, and see itinerary proposals from travel experts. The apps also include user-generated reviews and opinions taken from the TripAdvisor community.

Adam Medros, the company vice president of global product, said, ‘Users have already raved about the ease of use and helpfulness of TripAdvisor City Guides, with more than a million app downloads to date. We are excited to bring more cities and enhanced functionality to travellers, and ultimately help them enjoy their trips even more.’

The 30 New City Guides that are now available in English include Athens, Austin, Bangkok, Madrid, Manchester, Marrakech, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Miami, Milan, Montreal, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Dublin, Edinburgh, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, New Orleans, Taipei, Philadelphia, Toronto, Prague, Vancouver, Rio de Janeiro, and Vienna.

The apps are available free of charge, both from Google’s Android Market or Apple’s App Store, for use in smart phones and similar devices.

Earlier, the company acquired US-based EveryTrail to provide mobile applications. EveryTrail offers a GPS-enabled publishing platform to construct outdoor tours and city guide applications for mobile devices.