Tuesday, 24 July 2012

All Inclusive Holidays now being used to help depression

The all inclusive phenomenon is stretching its reach a little bit further and is now being used at a luxury clinic to assist people experiencing depression, anxiety, stress and alcohol use. The packages at Drever Associates have been created in order to encompass standard treatments with spa treatments and first class dining.

The facility, located 30 minutes from Heathrow Airport is the first of its kind in the UK. Dr Ian Drever of Drever Associates says that he hopes the treatment will be ‘aspirational’ and ‘the sense of community, safety, friendship and personal development which takes place here is amazing, and I wanted to connect with the huge numbers of people who know we exist, but who may never have previously considered a stay with us. Our packages are an alternative to a luxury holiday - although holidays are great, they don't change any of the underlying stresses in our lives. A stay with us will do that, in a welcoming and intimidating way.'

It is certainly an interesting concept and would clearly be a break from the daily grind for people who are feeling down or struggling with addiction. They would however need rather deep pockets as the nightly rate works out at around £700 per night for a 13 night stay. It might be better to try one of our resorts from £35 per night and if a holiday does not make you feel better, to give the guys at Drever Associates a call.

Monday, 23 July 2012

The Best Beaches of Menorca

The Balearic island of Menorca is the perfect destination for people who love to spend time at the beach as it has over 200 beaches along its coastline. The wide variety of beaches allows people to either experience the busier southern tip of the island or to explore the more unspoilt north.

I will start with the beaches at the southern tip of the island as that is where the majority of British tourists venture to when they visit Menorca. 

Macarella :
Despite being in the south of the island, Macarella is surrounded by cliffs which are topped with pine trees. The water is also calm and the water particularly clear. Macarella beach is located 8 miles from Ciutadella and is also an area of special natural interest due to its beauty. Macarella is easy to access by car and also has a free private car park. 

Cala Santa Galdana :
Towards the centre of the Menorcan coast sits Cala Santa Galdana, a cove that is superb for swimming, entertaining children due to it having a water park and children’s playground. It is also a cove which is well sheltered and features the opening to Menorca’s only river. Cala Santa Galdana also has white sand and is a must see for any visitor to Majorca.

Pregonda Beach :
Situated in the north of the island, and off the beaten track is Pregonda Beach. What is most striking about Pregonda Beach is its appearance with red golden sand with pink rocks. The water is also deadly calm and crystal clear. It is worth noting that Pregonda beach is not a bare foot walk away from the car park, it will take a round 30 minutes to walk along a track until you reach the beach – it is certainly worth it once you get there. It is also worth packing a snorkel to venture into the sea and cool off.Pregonda Beach is located six miles from the town of Es Mercadel.

Son Parc Beach :
Also situated on the north coast is Son Parc Beach. It is a great spot for families and is easily accessible from three different roads. It is also very safe in that it is patrolled by lifeguards, has sun beds for hire along with a beach side café. For those who are looking for something slightly more strenuous, there is also a golf club and driving range located near to the beach with excellent facilities and a course that is not too demanding. Son Parc can get windy later in the day and it is worth bringing some form of shelter when this happens.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Bulgaria the cheapest destination for holiday extra's

A survey by the Post Office which takes into consideration the cost of ten items often purchased on holiday has found that Bulgaria is the most affordable destination compared with other popular short haul holiday destinations.

The ‘Beach Barometer’ considers the cost of items such as sun cream, insect repellent, sun lounger hire, soft drinks, ice creams, days and meals out. The combined cost in Bulgaria came to around £110.17. The most expensive destination was Crete which had a combined expenditure of £189.15 with an average meal out being particularly expensive at a cost of £73.28 for a family of four. This cost was much cheaper in destinations such as Portugal where a three course meal for a family of four cost around £43.

The second cheapest destination in the survey was the Costa de Sol with an average expenditure of £121.11 for the ten items.

Two thirds of those survey said that ice creams was the biggest drain on holiday expenditure with 44% saying that they had been pestered for fizzy drinks whilst on holiday. Despite these extra costs they are not as severe as this time last year when the pound was weaker against the Euro. 

The extra holiday expenditure could be limited by shopping for necessity items such as sun cream before you travel and to also travel on an with Alihoco where meals, ice-cream and drinks are included in the price you pay when booking your holiday.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Is it time for a decision on aviation capacity? No, let’s take Parliamentary Recess

The government today announced that it is to delay a decision regarding airport capacity in the south east until the autumn. Instead of dealing fully with aviation policy, they are expected to publish a consultation paper on emissions and aviation noise with a debate over aviation policy not expected for several months.

It is thought that the reason for the delay on a decision is due to tensions within the coalition over whether to allow new runways in the south-east. A person, who declined to be identified, indicated that the paper has in fact been completed but was delayed by Downing Street as the details in the paper would cause frictions between the coalition.

If the above was true, it would appear that the Conservative led coalition would be open to increased capacity, something that would infuriate the Lib Dems after a founding agreement between the parties stated that ‘the government was opposed to new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted airports.’

The government looks to have also cooled on plans for a Thames estuary airport due to costs involved and any existing plans would appear to centre on increasing Heathrow’s capacity rather than Gatwick or Stansted. Heathrow’s operator BAA have claimed that the UK risks missing out on trade of £14bn over the next decade as it falls behind services to the world’s emerging markets.

The delay to the consultation document will eventually be followed by a policy document which will now not be released until after the next general election.

One prominent objector to the plans is Baroness Jo Valentine who is chief executive of London First. She said: ‘Difficult decisions on the location of additional hub airport capacity cannot be avoided, It’s simply not good enough for government to keep kicking the issue into the long grass.

The actions by the government are a true case of party politics being put before the interests of commerce, UK citizens and the travel industry. The Conservatives are delaying a decision in an attempt to not upset the Liberal Democrats and to break the coalition whilst also protecting Justine Greening who has vested personal interests over Heathrow’s lack of expansion. They are also rather confident in their own popularity if they believe they will gain a majority at the next election.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Consumer Survey finds High Street Travel Agent to remain major player in holiday market

A report by Alihoco has found that 50% of its customers still use high street travel agents in some form when booking their holidays. Following a recent report by market research company Mintel, Alihoco created a poll to its 8,000 fans to see if its own followers were complete converts to online bookings or whether they still use high street travel agents when booking a holiday.

The report by Mintel was interesting in that it suggested that 70% of people who booked a holiday last year did so entirely online with 14% happy to book online with a company they had never heard of due to offering the lowest price.  At first glance, the Mintel report appears to indicate that people have never been so relaxed about booking online and the deciding factor is often the lowest price from a variety of different websites.

The poll by Alihoco, was run on two strands. The first two questions centred on if you do, or would you still book a holiday through a high street travel agent? The second strand asked if people use high street agents to pick up a brochure and then book online, whilst the fourth option asked if people research online and then go to a travel agent to make the booking.

The results from the poll found that 73% of people would still be open to booking a holiday on the high street compared with 27% of people choosing to do so entirely online. This indicates that people do not think that the high street is outdated and more expensive than booking online. The results could also be indicative of people taking pleasure in booking a holiday on the high street and that it is part of the overall experience of booking a holiday and the start of something to look forward to.

The results from third and fourth options also make for interesting reading. It has long been argued that high street travel agents are now simply a ‘brochure pick up point’ and that consumers use brochures to choose the holiday that they would like before finding a lower price online. The results found that 50% of people do in fact use high street travel agents to pick up brochures before using the web to book but 50% of people do things in the opposite manner by doing research online before going into the store to make a booking.

It is understandable for independent travel agents and chains to be annoyed by the practice of being a brochure news stand.  Yet it also could be argued that the web has allowed customers to use less of travel agents time because they now come to the shops with the holiday that they would like and are ready to book. The web is certainly here to stay as a tool for booking and researching holidays yet it also shows that the high street will still have travel agents for a long time to come.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Alihoco client review – Hotel HSM Spa President, Alcudia

At the end of June, Alihoco holidaymaker Phil Day along with his wife Rachael travelled to Majorca for a week’s holiday staying at The Hotel HSM Spa President, Alcudia. Phil kindly agreed to offer his feedback on the holiday once they both returned to rainy Cheshire!

Phil, thank you once again for agreeing to review your holiday booked with Alihoco. First of all, did you enjoy all aspects of your holiday?

On the whole, we had a fantastic holiday. There were some elements that I would change in hindsight, such as booking a private taxi to the hotel rather than a shared shuttle as we are not very good with buses. It was only a minor gripe and was the cheaper option – but maybe it does pay to spend a bit extra on things such as transfers after a few hours travelling.

How did you find the Hotel HSM Spa President Hotel?

The hotel really made the holiday for Rachael and me. We were both looking for a relaxing break and were very pleased to have booked sea view rooms at the property. We stayed on an all inclusive basis and were very impressed with the variety of the food along with the normal things, such as chips which were as good as any that I have eaten! The hotel also has three pools which meant that we were able to always get a bit of shade at most times if we wanted to. The staff were great and the hotel was also spotless throughout the week


We are pleased to hear about the chips! Did you venture into Alcudia during your holiday?

Yes we walked to Alcudia once which took around 30 minutes each way which was nice but we only did it once. The other time we took the courtesy bus from the hotel which operates a few times per day and this worked very well. We spent a night in Alcudia and were impressed with the town and a change of scenery. Alcudia felt quite British compared with the hotel and it was a good place to watch the football apart from the result against Italy!

Would you visit the Hotel HSM Spa President, Alcudia again?

We would definitely visit the hotel again. We often visit short haul destinations such as the Costa Blanca, Albufeira and Ibiza. The hotel is the best property that either of us have stayed at this price point and we were thoroughly impressed and recharged after our week in the sun.
Thanks again for your time, Phil