Price key factor in hotel choice
HOTEL brands don't matter. That's according to holiday company LMT, whose 2013 Global Travel Trends Report found that only 4pc of people cited a hotel's brand as their main deciding factor when booking. Despite the millions spent every year by hotels on brand marketing, price (39pc), promotions (18pc) and location (18pc) were the three decision factors that mattered most to customers. Price was consistently cited as top by all age groups.
This goes some way to explaining the popularity of opaque hotel booking sites, like promotions by daily deals sites advertising "a three star hotel in Eyre Square" rather than selling based on the hotel's name.
The survey also cast some interesting light on booking preferences. No one likes to feel unprepared when it comes to taking a trip, but it seems the notion that people usually book flights and hotels far in advance is a misconception.
Even though 69pc of survey respondents said they booked more than one month in advance, booking data showed half of travellers actually booked their flights seven days or less before their flight.
KEEP IN TOUCH WITH NEW APPS
DUBLIN Airport has launched a redesigned app, available to Apple customers through iTunes and for Android devices through the Google Play store. One of the free app's best features is a real-time queue estimator, which gives passengers live security queue times for Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.
It also provides live flight status updates and notifications, a full list of shops and their location, a car park booking facility, integrated maps and current weather reports from both Dublin Airport and destination airports.
RYANAIR COSTING ON-BOARD WI-FI
RYANAIR'S new customer-friendly image may extend to on-board wi-fi in the near future. "We're evaluating this at the moment", the carriers' director of customer services Caroline Green told travel blog 'Runway Girl Network'.
"The price is not yet competitive but [in-flight wi-fi] is very high up our list to implement" she said, adding unsurprisingly that "it would be a service we charged for".
When pressed on the issue of timing, Green said: "It depends how quickly the technology advances and the prices come down, but we will deploy it as soon as we can."
TRAVEL TIPS FROM THE TOP
"I leave a suitcase containing a toiletries bag, a change of business clothes, and a set of workout gear at a hotel in each destination I travel to frequently. I arrange it with the concierge, who knows me. Keeping what I need at my destination saves me hours of standing around luggage carousels, as well as trying to cram everything into a carry-on."
"A night of tossing and turning can ruin a trip, which is why I bring clothespins or clips so I can secure the hotel curtains and keep unwanted light out. And of course, I research hotels in advance to ensure they have good reviews on beds."
"It pays to sign up for frequent-flyer programmes on international airlines that you may fly only once, as they often automatically increase your weight allowance. I also pack a portable luggage scale, as flights in other countries have different luggage requirements.
On my recent trip to India, with little notice, Air India lowered the checked baggage weight by 5kg at a significant charge.
Having a portable scale proved a lifesaver -- I organised my carry-on with heavier items and got my checked bag under the limit."
"I use an iPhone app called CheckList. It's exactly what it implies: a simple checklist of everything I need to do, pack, or arrange before I go off travelling.
The checklist now has 98 items on it, ranging from "mascara" to "speech notes" to "change outgoing voice mail," and I'm not allowed to leave the house till every single item is checked off.
I honestly don't know how I used to prepare without it. Oh, wait, I do know: I just used to forget stuff and then panic at the airport."