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Globes 2010: Did consumers and travel agents agree?

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I've been waist-deep in Globe Travel Awards 2010 content since 6.30 on Tuesday evening - winners lists, videos, photo galleries, the whole nine e-yards.

As I did last year, I'm rounding off with a quick look at the points where our supplier awards and the Associated Newspapers-sponsored Consumer Awards overlap...

 

Favourite Cruise Company

  • Consumers: P&O Cruises
  • Agents: Fred Olsen, Royal Caribbean, Silversea and Hurtigruten

 

Favourite Airline

  • Consumers: Virgin Atlantic
  • Agents: Voted Virgin Atlantic best scheduled airline to US/Canada

Emirates, BA and Monarch took the other categories.

 

Best Rail Operator

  • Consumers: Virgin Trains
  • Agents: Eurostar

 

Favourite Hotel Chain

  • Consumers: Holiday Inn
  • Agents: RIU Hotels

 

European short break provider

  • Consumers: Eurostar
  • Agents: Thomas Cook

 

Long-Haul Operator

  • Consumers: Kuoni
  • Agents: Kuoni

WTM Steps: A pedometer contest for the Twitterati

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There'll be loads of online travel types at World Travel Market, and everyone ends up walking a ridiculous distance. So I'm suggesting an informal contest.

 

091104--trainers-water.jpgGet yourself a pedometer - there may still be time to nab one of the Just A Drop charity ones - and keep track of how far you've walked.

Then tweet it with the hashtag #wtmsteps.

  • Post daily stats if you want - some folks are only there for one day
  • Post a final total on Friday

I'm fully expecting to lose, since I'll be in Travel Weekly's goldfish-bowl press room (UKI2155) most of the time...

Oh - the winner gets the admiration of their peers and stronger calf muscles.

Kevin May at ITT 2009, DubaiMore blogging from our man at the ITT Conference in Dubai...

Shock horror! The ABTA chairman election appears, albeit briefly, to have dropped off the lips of executives here in Dubai.

This might surprise some people back in the UK given the near frenzy of activity in the media a few weeks ago when campaigning between the candidates began.

There are a few possible reasons for this:

  1. No-one cares.
  2. The Thomas Cooksaga is THE topic of conversation.
  3. One of the candidates is considered a shoo-in.
  4. Feeling that the new 'role' will not make a huge difference.

One suspects it is a combination of 2) and 4).

But given the result is being announced here by none other than ABTA boss Mark Tanzer tomorrow night (at around 8pm UAE, 5pm BST), there is perhaps not the buzz people would have expected.

In fact, the only mention of ABTA came during the final session this morning, when The Co-Operative Travel's Mike Greenacre called on the travel industry to back the organisation if it wants policy makers to treat it seriously.

I hope for Tanzer's sake the enthusiasm builds ahead of the result being made public tomorrow.

Kevin May at ITT 2009, DubaiMore from Kevin May at the ITT Conference in Dubai

There's nothing like a last-minute pull-out of a high profile speaker to get the tongues wagging (in between gasps for the conditioned air of the hotel lobby).

Manny Fontenla-Novoa's sudden disappearance from the programme coincided with news today that the possible demise of shareholder Arcandor had prompted the Thomas Cook Group boss to fly to the less oven-like climes of Germany.

Cue the inevitable rumour-mill sweeping through the restaurants of the InterContinental Festival City Dubai today.

Most delegates are speculating that despite Thomas Cook Group being safe from an operational point of view, Fontenla-Novoa will be looking to shore up the ownership of the company pretty darn fast given how quickly the markets can turn against a PLC.

At the time of writing Thomas Cook Group shares stand at 209.25 - down from 214 first thing today.

One suspects the speculation will to continue throughout the week - although another rumour that the great man himself would still try and get here for his session are apparently wide of the mark.

On Tuesday Travel Weekly fielded a team at the annual Tourism Ireland travel media pub quiz.

A great time was had by all, but it took a tweet from Alex Bainbridge the following day to point out that 'all' were exclusively Old Media - us, our competitor TTG (see Matt Parsons' pics), the nationals, the glossies, some freelancers and a team of photographers.

Tourism Ireland media pub quiz 2099So why no non-industry bloggers? The simple answer is habit - it's an fun and informal affair, but it has been running for a while, and has inherited a dated sense of what media is and who wields influence.

The obvious thing was to contact BGB (Tourism Ireland's PR company, who organise the event) and ask whether inviting bloggers is a possibility. And it is:

This is a great idea. I'll put it forward as a suggestion for the Tourism Ireland pub quiz next year

Hopefully something will come of this - and should we be beaten by bloggers next year, I'll take it as manfully as I did losing to TTG this year.

So bring some man-size tissues.

UK Advantage Conference is not a u-turn on overseas events

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We report today that Advantage Travel Centres is to hold its 2009 conference in the UK - at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow, to be specific.


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Travel Ranter Darren Cronian has questioned the wisdom of holding travel industry conferences overseas before, and it turned into a very lively discussion.

There is nothing in Advantage's decision to move the environmental argument on, though - it is explicitly based on the economy.

In boss John McEwan's words, "there will be a strong imperative for [travel agents] to stay close to their businesses".

He goes on to say that Advantage will go abroad in 2010. 

ABTA and ITT are certainly doing so this year, heading for Barcelona and Dubai respectively, though Liverpool was among ABTA's early suggestions and met with some approval in a TW homepage poll.

And that is perhaps the most interesting thing here. The reasoning for staying in the UK is sound, and Radisson hotels are very nice; but why Heathrow over a location like Liverpool, where the views are better and the attractions closer?

Sure we'll hear more as the week progresses. I'll update you.

Travel Weekly held its annual supplier awards last night.

Agents vote for most of them, but eight are decided by consumers. Where awards overlap, consumers and agents sometimes come to different conclusions.

When reading these, bear in mind that agents and consumers inevitably have different angles - consumers may be basing their decision on a single holiday, agents on an ongoing record of support and complaint resolution.

So on the understanding that this isn't about one party being right and the other wrong, take a look and comment away...

Rail operator

  • Agents chose: Eurostar
  • Consumers chose: Virgin Trains

Long haul operator

  • Agents chose: Kuoni
  • Consumers chose: Virgin Holidays

(Though agents did name V-Hols best US, Canada and Caribbean operator.)

Cruise company

  • Agents chose: Fred Olsen, Royal Caribbean International, Hurtigruten and Silversea
  • Consumers chose: P&O Cruises

Hotel chain

  • Agents chose: RIU (leisure), Hilton (business)
  • Consumers chose: Hilton

European short breaks

  • Agents chose: Superbreak
  • Consumers chose: Thomas Cook Signature

...and if you haven't seen them yet, here are the full list of winners and our videos and photos from the night.

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...

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