Arriva offers affordable rail travel to passengers to and from Manchester Airport

Arriva Group train operators, CrossCountry and Northern, have announced plans to expand their range of mobile tickets (m-Tickets) and travel options to passengers travelling to and from Manchester Airport.

Effective from September 3, a full range of connectional Advance Tickets will be available direct to Manchester Airport, with connections at Manchester Piccadilly using Northern services. The new fares offer customers a cheaper way to plan their journeys to and from the airport, using m-Tickets bought on their phone. With the new -ticket facility, customers will also not have to queue for tickets at the station.

Liam Sumpter, Regional Director at Northern, said: ‘The new m-Tickets are a fantastic way for customers to save time and money on their journeys to and from Manchester Airport. As well as providing cheap advance fares, they will help customers plan their journeys better, with the added benefit of having tickets on customers’ mobile phones. We are delighted to be working with CrossCountry on this initiative to help make travelling and buying tickets easier for customers.’

Ben Simkin, Commercial Director at CrossCountry, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to provide customers travelling to and from Manchester Airport with easier and cheaper travel. The new m-Tickets mean customers will no longer need to queue at ticket machines and will also offer a new range of Advance fares that are available to and from the airport to a wide range of destinations along our route.’

Britain’s most geographical-extensive passenger rail franchise, CrossCountry’s network stretches from Aberdeen to Penzance and from Stansted to Cardiff, and calls at over 100 stations. Arriva Rail North Limited operates the Northern franchise and will run regional and commuter services across the region until March 2025.

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.


easyJet to enhance passenger experience with mobile technology advances

easyJet, one of the UK’s leading airlines, is looking to enhance its customer experience with the launch of push notifications for users of the airline’s free app on iPhone.

Starting April 22, 2014, customers who opt to receive notifications will receive real time updates with information such as the time when online check-in for their flight is open and when travel documentation needs to be added to a booking, as well as alerts which will keep them posted on the status of their flight.

Peter Duffy, easyJet’s Group Commercial Director, Customer, Product and Marketing said: ‘The use of push notifications will transform the way that we communicate with our passengers. It’s yet another way in which easyJet is using technology to keep our passengers informed.

‘We’ll be providing them with targeted messages and helpful reminders at various steps of their easyJet journey to make things even easier for them when they’re on the move. It’s all part of our plan to make travelling with easyJet as easy as it is affordable.’

The notifications will also ensure that more customers are aware of easyJet’s Flight Tracker and provide direct access to the tool, which is available via and the easyJet mobile apps.

Launched in 2013, easyJet’s Flight Tracker provides users with up to the minute information on all flights in the easyJet network. It will now also be possible to receive push notifications, which will direct users straight to the Flight Tracker when their flight is delayed by more than 15 minutes or a live update direct from easyJet’s control centre is posted.

easyJet carries more than 61 million passengers annually, of which 11 million are travelling on business. The airline flies over 200 aircraft on more than 600 routes between over 130 airports and over 30 countries.


Mobile Devices Becoming More Popular For Booking Holidays

Many more people are using their mobile devices to book holidays online, according to a new study conducted by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), a UK-based travel agency association.

When travellers were asked to comment on how they booked their holidays, around one in four, or 24 percent, reported using a mobile phone or tablet device, such as an iPad, and around 89 percent reported using a computer, rather than a travel agent or a tour operator.

Around 14 percent used their mobile phone to book a foreign holiday on-line, while 10 percent claimed to have used a tablet device. For domestic bookings online, 8 percent used a tablet device and 12 percent used their mobile phone. These results appear to indicate the importance to travel agents and tour operators of offering mobile apps compatible with such devices.

Victoria Bacon, the head of communications at ABTA, said, ‘When it comes to booking a holiday it’s clear that consumers want choice. Whether it’s booking face-to-face on the high street or booking on the go on a mobile phone. Travel agents and tour operators need to ensure that they have the right tools and technologies to market their products and offer consumers the option to book and browse, through a range of different methods.’

Around 47 percent of the younger generation, aged from 15 to 24 years, used mobile devices to book a holiday online in the last 12 months. By comparison, only 11 percent of travellers in the age group of 45 years and above used their mobile devices to book online.

The report also suggests that men are more likely to book using mobile devices, with 30 percent of them having done so in the last 12 months, compared to 17 percent of women.

Guoman and Thistle Hotels Offer New Mobile Websites

The Guoman and Thistle hotel brands have launched new websites for mobile phones.

The mobile-optimised sites for the brands will allow travellers to search and book hotel rooms from their mobile or smart phones. The mobile sites are created by using a technology platform Usablenet, a US-based company offering mobile commerce technology in UK and Europe.

The two mobile sites feature capabilities such as search options for the hotel accommodations; options to book a hotel rooms; view current offers from both the brands; and options to view and cancel existing reservations.

Mithu Sengupta, the eCommerce director from Guoman and Thistle Hotels, said, ‘The mobile channel has become an important travel planning and booking channel worldwide, especially for local and last minute searches. It was very important for us to have a mobile site that reflects our brand and provides the best experience for our customers with rich-media content and videos. We partnered with Usablenet to create a mobile site that caters to the traveller’s needs and understands what their user journey would be when accessing our websites via mobile phones. We are very happy with the response we had from our customers who have been on our mobile site and who have stated that we have provided them a seamless transition between mobile, tablets and desktops to effectively assist them in their travel plans.’

Nick Taylor, the chief executive officer of Usablenet, said, ‘Thistle and Guoman were very committed to providing the best user experience for their customers. Whether you’re a business traveller or a leisure traveller, customers can easily view and book rooms, and manage their hotel reservations easily via the mobile site.’