November 2008 Archives

New feature! Here's the drill: I throw you a quote or an opinion from one of the week's travel stories, you tell me whether it's on the money or complete balderdash.

081128-questionmarks.jpgHere goes...

[TUI boss Peter] Long said the group was confident consumers would choose trusted and long-standing brands to go on holiday with in 2009

(From 'Fuel price is a bigger worry than demand, says Long')

Short, low-commitment replies are the name of the game, but explain your Y/N if you feel the need.

Following the Mumbai bomb attacks on Twitter

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Wired points to the real-time coverage of the Mumbai bomb attacks on Twitter.

Twitter posts on the Mumbai hotel bombingsThe coverage won't surprise die-hard social networkers, because it happens on all micro-blogging services when big news breaks.

But it may be news to more traditional Travel Weekly readers, and those affected by incidents like this - Cox and Kings or Somak, for instance, who are busy retooling India itineraries as we speak - might find some benefit in Twitter's short and fast updates.

How to do it: Go to, put in a keyword, and you can easily monitor what users worldwide are saying and flagging up.

Anecdotally, the service seems to finding a bit of traction in our market. Both TW and our rival TTG used Twitter feeds in our World Travel Market coverage (ours; theirs). 

Travolution then had bigger success with the same idea over at PhocusWright, which is a more Twitter-friendly event than WTM.

Here's hoping we encourage wider adoption of what can - with a bit of intelligent filtering - be a very useful service.

Update: The Twitter coverage has inspired future-of-journalism bod Jeff Jarvis to work on a post about 'witnesses taking over the news'.

Apparently the Danish Association of Newspaper Publishers has taken issue with deep linking, insisting instead that bloggers and news aggregators link to homepages. 

081124-contraband.jpgThey're also - are you sitting down? - concerned that Google News wants to list content without paying royalties.

And there we were worrying that the UK travel industry is only now groping its way towards social media (as per bits of the PR discussion at Darren's Travel BlogCamp, mentioned in reviews by Kev at Travolution, Caitlin at Roaming Tales and others).

Seeing a market fail to understand the benefits and mechanism of search some 10 years after Google got going kind of puts it in perspective, no?

34 is best age for holidays

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Well, according to Kuoni, it is. The tour operator has just quizzed 1,000 British travellers and found that 34 is the age at which we are most likely to have our most memorable holiday.

Mine was in my 34th year (ie I was 33) and the location was India. Travelling around Kerala to be exact.

Martin Couzins, managing editor

The things Brits abroad want advice on

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Travel Buddy, which provides location based information to holiday makers and travel companies, has compiled its first top 10 list. Here are the quirkiest requests from customers whilst on holiday.

  1. How do you tell the sex of a palm tree?
  2. Is there a club in Barcelona that is sympathetic to cross dressers?
  3. I'm in Blackpool - is it going to flood within the next week?
  4. We've met an Egyptian boy who's invited us to his wedding. Is it safe to go, we've only known him a day?
  5. Are there any swingers' parties over the next three days, close to where I am staying?
  6. Should you have fried egg or pineapple with gammon?
  7. I met a girl in a club last night, is tomorrow too early to sleep with her?
  8. What's the word for 'Ciao' in Italian?
  9. Do you know where my girlfriend is?
  10. I think I have had too many drinks tonight - what is the limit?

Martin Couzins, managing editor




The Israelis served up the world's largest plate of houmous on their stand yesterday at World Travel Market to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Tel Aviv. Weighing in at 450kg in a dish that measured 4.26 metres in diameter, the huge dish beat the current Guinness World Record by 50kgs.

But who ate it all?

Carry on watching TW's coverage of WTM.

Martin Couzins, managing editor

Video: Transport chaos outside World Travel Market

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At the risk of turning this into a video blog, here's another bit of World Travel Market footage - a quick one of the transport chaos outside ExCeL as day one came to a close.

My justification is that - as Kev at Travolution tweeted - everyone is going to be talking about it. London's Docklands Light Railway was out of action, leaving delegates to cram themselves onto double decker shuttle services.

Even those who made it to Canning Town were faced with congestion in the entrance hall and platforms, as well as on the trains.

Earlier in the day we did a video piece about the rain and travel horrors (in which first-time presenter Jo Booth does a great job) and found most delegates unfazed - it seems unlikely this was still the case come dinnertime.

I'll save the inevitable moans about our transport infrastructure (London 2012 here we come!) for Travel BlogCamp tomorrow...

Video: Driving rain at World Travel Market 2008

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The weather took a bit of a turn mid-morning - here's some footage from outside our WTM 2008 press room (South Gallery 27; come see us if you want to look at stressed people in front of computers).

It seems to have calmed down now, but it's still dreary as all hell.

The show is open, and I'm up in Travel Weekly's WTM press room juggling various website  bits and bobs.

We had a bit of bother with our professional camera this morning, which left me hotfooting it down to the entrance to film this shaky alternative - which in the end we didn't need.

The proper version is over on the WTM coverage page...

Ok. Head over to our World Travel Market 2008 page and you'll find a feed of all tweets tagged #wtm08.

WTM 08 Twitter feedSo if you're going and you do the T-thing, make sure you get that into all your statuses.

Unfortunately Twitter's search feeds don't include usernames, but each entry links to the related status page.

Thanks to Twitter user Jonathan Deamer for dropping me an idea on how to do this.

(And the WTM page will be carrying news, features, pics, video and all that stuff too. But you knew that.)

I love this. Our chief reporter Juliet recently interviewed an 89-year-old travel agent - almost certainly Britain's oldest - and got some photos of material from his archive.

Vintage travel agency ad

Is this the mother of all misleading hotel photos?

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x5ljciodc5o8yhf9zin7.jpgHit the thumbnail photo on the right to see what is allegedly the same small Polish hotel from two different angles.

I was ready to call a Photoshop job on this when Gadling first posted it, but if you take a look at the hotel (the Alicja in Lodz, Poland) on Google Maps it really does seem to be right by a power plant.

So... is this picture for real? Convinced?

If so, it's surely one of the most extreme cases of brochure/reality slippage out there. Anyone know the Polish for Watchdog?

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British Airways staff attack passengers in Facebook group

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The Telegraph flags up misbehaviour in a Facebook group for London Gatwick Ground Staff, whose members allegedly:

  • Described passengers as 'smelly and annoying'
  • Ridiculed 'silly American accents'
  • Complained about passengers who put boarding passes in their mouths (What?!? I hope none of my readers do that.)


London Gatwich British Airways Ground StaffWe all know that customer-facing staff are more human than their job allows them to let on, but this is mean-spirited stuff - particularly the comments about accents. BA will want to investigate.

What chance do the employees have? Roughly none. They were posting in a closed group, but it's naive to think that gives you real privacy, let alone a legal defence - 'I'm not even sure there is a private place on the internet web,' as travel tech blogger Alex Bainbridge says in his post on the subject.

So it's a case of bringing the company into disrepute, and the last time that happened to an airline - in the recent and virtually identical Virgin/Facebook/'Chavs' case - 13 staff lost their jobs.

Update: More on this from TW columnist Simon Calder, who argues in the Independent that the employees' gripes were justified. 

I think some probably were - like me, he's appalled by the idea of handing staff a 'saliva-sodden boarding pass' - but that doesn't mean it's a good idea to make them on Facebook.

PS: In the time it has taken me to write this post, all members and admins of the group have left it.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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