Hotels still have rooms available throughout London Olympics

TravelClick, a company that claims to offer revenue-generating solutions for hoteliers, has reported an update on hotel occupancy for the Olympic Games, which commence in London today.

The company has reported that two days prior to the commencement of the 2012 games, hotels were reporting a committed occupancy average of 80.4 percent for the Games period. The hotels have reported that their busiest night is July 31, 2012, when the committed occupancy rises to 85.8 percent. The company is citing the men’s road cycling individual time trial final, which takes place the next day, as the reason for packed houses at most hotels on that preceding night.

However, hotel prices during the Games are currently showing an increase of 70 percent on average, compared to the same time last year. The highest rates are expected t be for August 5, 2012, when they will peak at GBP193 per night. On that day the country is expecting a record-breaking sprint from Usain Bolt in the men’s 100m final event.

Meanwhile, hotel price comparison website, Trivago, has reported that London hotel prices have actually decreased by around 17 percent since last week, as the 2012 Games commence. According to the company, there is still around 30 percent excess capacity for the duration of the Games at hotels in London, so last minute travellers are advised to shop around for a bargain deal.

The company has also reported that hotel prices will be falling by around 35 percent immediately after the Games end, to an average of GBP130 per room, per night, making this the best time to acquire accommodation for leisure and business travel to the city.

 

Thomas Cook Apologises for Undelivered Olympic tickets

Thomas Cook Group Plc, a UK-based travel company, has made a public apology to its customers who will have to collect their tickets for the 2012 Olympics Games in person.

The company, which had promised to dispatch the tickets to sports fans through the post, has been unable to do so, and has requested that they personally collect the tickets hours before the event.

Since June 2012, the company has been offering ticket packages for the London 2012 Games, with stays at some of London’s best value hotels.

The London City breaks, celebrating the Games, were put on offer with the intention of capturing those last minute buyers that were interested in claiming tickets to both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Although customers paid a GBP5 delivery fee, around 200 of them were requested to pick up their tickets in person, as the company struggled due to delivery issues.

A statement on the company’s website, said, ‘Our priority is to ensure our customers take their seat at London 2012. Unfortunately, a very small proportion of our customers experienced a delay in receiving their tickets this week and after contacting them we’ve arranged collection from a choice of locations in London. We’d like to reiterate our apology to our customers and naturally we’re refunding any delivery charges.

If you’ve tried to contact us, please be assured that you’re query will be dealt with – we are prioritising those customers due to travel to London for the first week of the London 2012 Olympic Games.’

 

Ryanair Offers Golden Tickets for Every British Gold Medal Win

Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, has announced an Olympic games inspired special offer to support TeamGB and to benefit fans.

The airline is offering five hundred GBP12 Golden tickets for every gold medal that is won by athletes from Great Britain, during the 2012 Olympics Games. The airline tickets will be valid for travel during the months of September and October of this year.

The company head of communications, Stephen McNamara, said, ‘Ryanair is calling on the British Olympic team to win as many Olympic gold medals as possible with 500 Golden GBP12 fares up for grabs for every gold they win. These Olympic special fares are for travel in September and October and will be available for booking the day after every British gold medal is won. These Golden tickets are sure to be snapped up fast so we urge passengers to book them on www.ryanair.com before they sell out.’

The airline is also offering 100,000 seats at sale fares commencing from GBP12, for travel on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in September and October. These fares are available on 1,000 of the airline’s European routes and may be booked online at www.ryanair.com by July 30, 2012.

The seats include all taxes and charges, and allow for travel with carry-on luggage only, but do not include priority-boarding services.

McNamara added, ‘Only Ryanair sells Europe’s lowest fares with a no fuel surcharge guarantee. In addition to our lowest fares we also deliver Europe’s No 1 on-time performance across over 1,500 routes.’

 

Easyjet Reports Low Traffic during Olympics 2012

Easyjet  is reporting a slowdown in demand during the 2012 Olympics for its flights to airports in and around London.

The airline has reported a slowdown, not only of its corporate traffic during the 2012 Olympics Games period, but also for leisure customers. However, the airline’s bookings are reported to look much healthier after the Games end on August 12, 2012. The decrease in business travel is likely to be due to a perception that London will be too busy a place to comfortably do business while the Games are on.

A report on the company website has stated, ‘The London Olympic games will present operational challenges to our London bases. Consequently, easyJet has taken steps to protect its operational performance during the course of the games e.g. crew and operational control centre (OCC) staffing levels have been strengthened and daily Olympics meetings have been introduced.

easyJet has seen a fall in demand for flights touching London during the Olympic period, both from inbound business travellers and outbound leisure travellers, but forward bookings show a recovery once the games have concluded.’

The company chief executive officer, Carolyn McCall, said in a statement, ‘Forward booking falls in line with last year. The Olympics will have, or has had an effect in July/early August. We will be roughly flat across the network. We will be slightly down in London. We are confident we will recover that in late August and September; September is already looking stronger than it would have normally done as a result of people shifting things round. This is a London effect, nothing else.’

BAA Claims Readiness for 2012 London Olympics

BAA Ltd, owner and operator of six British airports including London Heathrow, has announced that the airports under company management are all ready to receive the influx of international visitors for the 2012 London Olympic Games, which commence tomorrow.

Colin Matthews, the chief executive of BAA, said, ‘We are pleased that Olympic arrivals have gone smoothly so far but there is lots more to do. London 2012 is Britain’s biggest peacetime transport challenge and we are spending more than GBP20 million to ensure Heathrow is ready for its busiest ever period, including building a temporary Games Terminal; preparing to host remote check-in at the Olympic Village; and training more than 1,000 volunteers who are giving a warm welcome to athletes on behalf of London.’

The company has recently released its results for first six months, ending June 30, 2012, and has reported revenues of GBP1.2 billion, an 8.4 percent increase on the same time last year. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation have increased by 8.8 percent to GBP555.2 million, in the first six months of 2012, compared to those in the first six months of 2011.

Commenting on the results, Matthews said, ‘BAA is reporting a strong operational and financial performance for the first half of 2012. Higher passenger numbers and increased yields are driving revenue growth which is being invested in new facilities for passengers. Passengers tell us they are noticing the improvements with Heathrow receiving its highest ever passenger satisfaction scores in the two most recent quarterly Airport Service Quality surveys.’

 

World Mobi Launches Mobile City Guide Apps for London ahead of 2012 Games

With the eyes of travel industry trained on London this summer for the 2012 Olympics Games, a mobile web development company, World Mobi, is offering its mobile guide to the city.

London.Mobi city guide is offering visitors to the city all of the information required to plan their trips, including visits to popular attractions and sites, available tours, restaurants, accommodation and transportation. The mobile app is available to download for free across all mobile platforms for visitors to London.

Kelly Footit, head of development at World Group, said, ‘As the world’s attention shifts to London as it hosts its third Olympic Games, this free mobile travel guide means visitors are just a few clicks away from top things to do in the destination.

In recent weeks, London has emerged as the largest free wireless zone in Europe with an increasing number of free Wi-Fi hotspots available, which means users can download this innovative guide quickly and without hassle.’

With the city expecting an influx of around 450,000 tourists and sports fans every day, Oxford Economics estimates that 450,000 will be staying in the city and there will be 5.5 million day visitors, during the Games, so the city is likely to be bursting at the seams during the period.

Traffic around the Games venues is expected to be particularly slow, and there may be serious bottlenecks at key points in the city due to the increased traffic. The availability of various navigational tools such as route planners and city guides should prove useful to visitors.

 

Chiltern Railways Announces Modified Time Table to Accommodate 2012 Games Traffic

Chiltern Railways, a UK-based train company operating on the London Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill route, has unveiled its new timetable for the upcoming 20102 Olympic and Paralympic Games, to be held in London from July 27, 2012.

The railways is offering around 120,000 seats during the Games period, by introducing measures that include an increase in the number of carriages during off peak services, and running late night trains out of London every day. The company is also offering early morning and late night trains on Sundays for passengers travelling to and from London during the Games.

The other additional services include a modified evening peak timetable on August 1, 6 and 7, 2012, for football events to be held at Wembley Stadium, and Games events taking place in London, which are open to all.

Chad Collins, the general manager south at Chiltern Railways, said, ‘We are providing approximately 100,000 seats over the Games to make sure our passengers have as comfortable journey as possible. There will be 4,000 extra seats every day and an additional 6,000 seats solely when there are Wembley Stadium events. We are also increasing the number of carriages to off peak services and running a special Sunday service for passengers travelling to the Games.

Services are likely to be busier than usual. Where possible, passengers should consider travelling off peak and make sure that they check train times on our website and allow extra time for their journeys. We’re looking forward to welcoming passengers to our service and being part of this truly unique event.’

 

Car Hire Upturn As Olympic Games Draw Near

The demand for car hire has taken an upswing in London for the Olympic games period, even as UK-based government agency, Transport for London (TfL), has advised UK residents in the city to make best use of public transport, bicycles, and walking to reach their destinations while the games are taking place.

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games commence from July 27, 2012, and end on September 9, 2012. Around 150,000 international visitors are expected to be in the city for the world’s largest sporting event.

A UK based car hire company, Carrentals.co.uk, has reported that around 40 percent of its UK bookings have been made for a London pick-up. Around half of all of the company’s bookings that are due for pick-up between July 20 and August 8 have been made by UK residents, which is indicative of the level of interest that the event is generating at home.

The company managing director, Gareth Robinson, said, ‘People are tempted to head to the Eurozone this summer due to the current exchange rates, but Brits are known for their patriotism and being the hosting nation for the Olympics is something people are proud of and want to be a part of. This has been reflected in the booking patterns we’re seeing – the convenience and cost-effectiveness of hiring a car is outweighing the reports of extra congestion in London.

In order to avoid any disappointment, especially for those travelling to London to enjoy the games, it is important to take note of the advice out there and give yourself extra time to reach your destination. We would also suggest checking the opening hours of the car hire desk to ensure you have enough time to drop off your vehicle before your onward journey.’

 

TomTom Urges Drivers to Use Navigational Devices to Avoid Congestion during Olympics

TomTom, a Netherlands-based manufacturer of navigation solutions and digital maps, has reported thatJuly 28, 2012, is expected to be the most congested day for road traffic in the UK’s capital city, due to the congestion caused by visitors in London for the opening days of the 2012 Olympics Games.

Earlier, Transport for London (TfL), a UK-based government agency responsible for the transport system in the Greater London area, announced a travel advisory for London residents, asking them to plan their travel in and around the city carefully, using tools offered by the agency, in order that they might avoid the most congested areas and travel hotspots.

TomTomis offering its updated Map Share service to help drivers in and around London to avoid travel disturbance. The service will evaluate changes in traffic flow and any additional road restrictions in the UK capital during the 2012 Games period, to help international visitors as well as UK residents to move freely around the city.

TomBrown, the UK country manager forTomTom, said, ‘We released our latest map update in May which included structural road changes in London and surrounding areas and points of interest relevant to the summer.

Now we are going one step further. We want to ensure that our customers drive with the most up to date map available, taking into account the dynamic road changes resulting from upcoming events in the capital. Our aim is to do all we can to give London drivers the best navigation experience possible.’

 

UK Border Agency Employees Plan Strike before Olympics Games Commences

The UK Border Agency (UKBA), the UK government’s border control authority and a part of the Home Office, has reported industrial action by staff, which may lead to further delays at immigration counters before the Olympic games commence.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union, which are employed by the Home Office, have announced a strike on July 26, 2012, due to a long-running disagreement over issues that include job cuts, reimbursement and privatisation.

The industrial action will affect London Heathrow Airport in particular, as the airport is the entry point for around 90 percent of international visitors flying into the city for the 2012 Olympic Games. Around 105,000 passengers are expected to arrive at the airport on July 23, 2012, while July 26, 2012, a day before the commencement of the Olympics Games, is the day that most arrivals are expected.

In a statement, BAA Ltd, owner and operator of six British airports including Heathrow, said, ‘We want all our passengers to have a smooth, secure and enjoyable experience at Heathrow, and so far the Olympic roster introduced by the Home Office is having the desired effect, with immigration waiting times well within their targets. We hope this will continue through the strike action.’

PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka, said, ‘The lives of staff have been made intolerable by these cuts and they’re at breaking point.

Ministers have known about these issues for a very long time and need to act now to sort out the chaos they have caused.

They’re acting recklessly in cutting so many jobs and privatising services, and are provocatively refusing to talk to us with a genuine desire to reach an agreement.’