2013 round up
Dec 30th, 2013 by elisa

It’s nearing the end of 2013, so it’s time for our annual round up of travel news and features covered in this blog over the year.

January is normally the time when you start to examine your finances after the Christmas splurge, and this year was no different for the travel news. A Sunday Times report that found customers were seriously losing out on foreign currency exchange rates when purchasing their travel money at airports.  We also looked at the financial benefits of flying to an airport further from your destination and driving the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Spain was voted the best value destination for 2013, and Eve told us why she thought Spain was a great winter destination.

However, it was all about Greece in February! With its award-winning beaches and Thomas Cook trend survey that revealed a huge increase in bookings during the month. The month ended with a warning to check your travel insurance small print, as many travellers were reported to have fallen foul of clauses in their insurance, which meant they wouldn’t get a pay out on claims.

In March, a woman successfully smuggled a dog onto a plane; we looked at the biosphere reserve that is Menorca; and BA started selling tickets for flights on its ‘red carpet route’ to Los Angeles in its new super jumbo A380. Easyjet installed new, lighter, seats on its aircraft in an attempt to save on fuel and CO2 emissions. Bitter weather threatened to blight travellers’ Easter holidays, but this didn’t stop Peter Rabbit visiting children at Heathrow.

The bizarre law in Florida that all British Citizens must carry an International Driving Permit in the state was repealed in April. Samoa Air launched its controversial pay by weight flights and we looked at the facts about turbulence.

Easyjet began testing its volcanic ash cloud detection technology in May. We found that trillions of air miles are going to waste; and there was the slightly disturbing report of a flight being diverted because the pilot got locked out of the cockpit. There was good news for Harry Potter fans going on holiday in Florida, as the Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment announced the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley “environment”.

A US ban on using a laptop during take off on flights was lifted in June.

Tenerife enjoyed at 14% rise in arrivals from the UK in July. It was also discovered that many English families were flying from Scottish airports to save up to £500 on their holiday travel costs. It may have been one of the hottest summers we’ve had in years, but this didn’t stop large numbers of Brits leaving for even sunnier holiday destinations in the last weekend of July. We gave advice on how to avoid common pick pocketing scams as the Foreign Office issued a warning about pick pockets in Switzerland.

As August enjoyed more of the heatwave, Ryanair had a drop in flight bookings; it also took legal action against an unfavourable Dispatches programme “Ryanair: Secrets from the Cockpit”.

Etihad Airways launched its “flying nanny” service to look after passengers’ children in September. Helly Kitty planes took to the skies with Taiwan’s EVA Air, and a computer glitch in US Airways system sold $0 flights on its website. Spain enjoyed record visitor numbers over the summer, proving the predictions earlier in the year.

In October, Manchester was announced to be the UK’s first Airport City; and Ryanair announced that it would work on a better customer service.

It was all about the measure of happiness for travel in November, and BA introduced interactive billboards to remind people of the magic of flying.

The Northern Lights in Norway topped Brits’ “must see” list in December. Britain also endured wide-spread bad weather with winds of up to 140mph battering parts of the country, and flooding hitting others.

That’s the round up for 2013, make sure to follow this blog for more travel news and articles in 2014, and book your holiday villas at a wide range of destinations on Villaseek.

Ryanair sells advertising space on aircraft
Jul 23rd, 2013 by elisa

Big space to advertise. Photo by Flickr user Mark Harkin

Big space to advertise. Photo by Flickr user Mark Harkin

Ever fancied your company advertisement on the side of an aircraft? Well, now’s your chance! Ryanair is offering companies the chance to do just that in a bid to gain more income.

It claims that interest has already come from companies across Europe and beyond.

“Whilst we cannot reveal pending commercial agreements, we expect to announce our first confirmed partner company in the coming weeks,” said a spokesman.

Four locations are available for advertisers on any of the airline’s 303 Boeing 737-800 aircraft. These are the inner and outer winglets, front fuselage and rear fuselage, for a 12-month period. And that’s not all, Ryanair claims the space is available “for a fraction of the price of a newspaper advert”. Tempted?

How age affects 2013 holiday trends
Jan 30th, 2013 by elisa

Spain is still a firm favourite - this villa is in Moraira and only 10 minutes' walk from the sea!

Spain is still a firm favourite – this villa is in Moraira and only 10 minutes’ walk from the sea!

According to new research, budgets for holidays differ by up to £280 per person depending on their age.

The TravelSupermarket survey of 5,000 British holidaymakers revealed their holiday habits for 2013 as well as the average amount they are willing to pay for their main holiday in each age bracket.

Over 50s spend the most on comfortable travel and accommodation, with the 50-59 age range willing to be the most experimental with their holiday plans, picking less typical destinations.

The longest and most expensive holidays tend to be taken by those in the 60-69 age group at £794 per person, plus £454 on spending money (£1,248 total). These are also most likely to take more than one main holiday each year. Those over 70 are most likely to stay close to the UK with Spain and France as firm favourites.

The most adventurous age group are the youngest, 18-29. These are most likely to go on activity holidays such as skiing or mountain biking, but like to do so on a shoestring, paying the least out of all those surveyed (£540 on accommodation and £428 spending money). They are also most likely to be influenced by a place’s culture when making decisions; Asia is very popular for this age group.

30-39 are the family focused bunch, least influenced by the weather and always considering family facilities. The beach (37%) and villa holidays (18%) are most preferable – Villaseek and UK specialist can help with both! The Algarve is one of the most popular destinations, and on average they spend £585 on travel and accommodation, plus £452 in spending money per person.

40-49 year-olds are still family focused and tend to head away during the school summer holidays in August. Most popular are beach holidays (39%) in Spain (12%) staying in self-catered accommodation (23%). They are also most likely to take more shorter breaks away in addition to a main holiday with £580 on travel and accommodation and £449 on spending money per person.

“At this age, a lot of holidaymakers will still be heading abroad with their families. Typical family breaks, such as beach holidays in Spain will be fun for everyone, but for those looking to go on shorter breaks too France and Italy are also worth a visit.” said Bob Atkinson, TravelSupermarket’s travel expert.

Advertise on an aircraft
Aug 28th, 2012 by elisa

In an attempt to gain more revenue and resolve its debt issues, Air India, is planning on carrying advertisements on the outside of its aircraft.

The airline has 111 aircraft in its fleet, and a source in the national carrier was quoted in a report in Business Today as saying: “Ads can be placed on the tail or the hull of the aircraft”.

Additional plans are to advertise inside the cabin, and also on the 22 million boarding passes issued each year in an attempt to recoup the losses and loans of USD12billon (£7.6bn).

“The passenger may or may not see the advertisement on the aircraft body. But the passenger will definitely see advertisements on panels, bins, screens, pillows and seat covers,” the source said.

Holiday Villas and Cottages magazine warn of an online phone scam
Feb 3rd, 2012 by Tom Kerswill

Warning – credit card losses from impersonation

We’ve received the following email from the editors of Holiday Villas and Cottages magazine, which is relevant to all people who advertise their property on and any other web site or magazine:

Please be aware that a number of advertisers in our publication Holiday Villas & Cottages have recently received calls from sales people improperly claiming to work for, or on behalf of, the magazine.

In a number of cases individuals have been persuaded to hand over credit card details after being offered renewal of their advertisement booking at a low price, subject to immediate acceptance of the offer and payment by credit card. Their card is then debited in that amount, often several times.

No written or email confirmation is supplied until after payment has been taken.

Any advertising supplied as a result appears to be in a freesheet style publication, not in a bona fide magazine.
These calls are not in any way connected with Holiday Villas & Cottages, Merricks Publishing Ltd,

Calls to our advertisers are almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg. Anyone advertising in any publication or on any website could be called by these people.

If you receive an advertising sales call seeking a repeat booking in any publication/website and you have any doubts at all as to whether it is genuine, ask the caller for his/her name and the name of the company and publication, then call that publication (making sure you call the genuine number, not one that you are given on the pretext that ‘the switchboard is always busy.’) In our case, the number to call is 01458 274447.

Allegations of improper sales activity of this sort have been covered by the BBC and discussed online, for example:
here and here.

If this has already happened to you, call me, Hamish Watson-Grey, or e-mail and we will advise what steps you can take to recover your funds.

With kind regards

Hamish Watson-Grey
Managing Director
Merricks Publishing Ltd

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