Monday, 3 December 2012

Alihoco Solves Budget Airlines Biggest Problem

Thank you once again to our faithful voters on the Alihoco Facebook page who have made another emphatic result against the way budget airlines operate. Following on from our survey which resulted in 88% of people feeling most annoyed by baggage charges imposed by budget airlines, we asked our fans whether they would prefer having hold bags included as standard with the option to remove them and therefore, reduce the price. As you can see from our results below, 77% of voters said that they would prefer to have bags included with the option of removing them if they decided to travel light.


More tellingly, only 4% of voters said that they prefer things as they currently are with hold bags available as an optional extra at an additional cost.

The remaining 18% of our voters felt that if the process were to change with bags included at the beginning of the process, it simply amounted to the same thing and that the price would remain the same no matter if it was something removed or added on.

It would be interesting to see if airlines could be brave enough to include bags as standard as the process of making something cheaper is surely more pleasurable than constantly adding charges when customers are booking. Budget airlines clearly make profit in charging for bags and it could also be advantageous for them to include bags as they could well sell more than they do currently with having hold luggage as an optional extra.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Baggage Charges Top Most Annoying List

Yesterday’s announcement by Ryanair of an introduction of a 2% ‘processing fee’ when paying by credit card, as well as a £6 admin charge per passenger per flight now being incorporated into all flight costs got us all thinking in the office here at Alihoco. We know that everyone enjoys going on holiday we can also all find the process annoying at some point. In order to settle a dispute between staff in the office we asked our loyal fans on Facebook which they found most annoying. 
The choices were: The charges imposed by airlines for additional baggage, the cost of airport parking, paying £1 to buy a plastic bag at security to hold your liquids and finally, the cost of food and drink in resort.

The results were overwhelming with 88% feeling most annoyed by the charges imposed by airlines who charge for all suitcases except hand luggage. The other choices were obviously dwarfed by the majority feeling annoyed by airlines charges for bags. Of the remaining selections, 6.5% were most annoyed by paying £1 for a plastic bag whilst going through airport security in order to hold your liquids, 5.5% were most annoyed by the cost of food and drink whilst in resort with the final 2% finding the cost of airport parking the biggest gripe when going or returning from holiday.

The issue of baggage charges by airlines is an interesting debate. Airlines clearly like to offer flights at the lowest possible price to entice customers who book, but at the end of the process it is common to feel as though the price has risen astronomically and that you have been ripped off. If hold baggage was included in the initial price with the option to remove it, we may all feel like we are getting a better deal if you were able to reduce the cost by £30 per person should you decide to travel light.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Where Are The Best All Inclusive Hotels in The World?

A report published by Travel Weekly has found that only one hotel in Europe ranks in the top ten all-inclusive hotels in the world. The report asked the opinion of travel industry professionals which found that they rated the Bahia Principe property in Tenerife 4th best with Baron Resort Sharm el Sheik 3rd best.  Three of the hotels in the top ten were found in Mexico with the El Dorado Seaside Suites voted 1st out of all properties in the world that offer an all-inclusive program. 

The full list is below -

  • 1.         Buccament Bay, St. Vincent
  • 2.           Spice Island, Grenada
  • 3.           Sandals Halcyon Beach, Saint Lucia
  • 4.           Galley Bay, Antigua
  • 5.           Secrets Marama Beach Riviera, Cancun
  • 6.           Heritage Awai Golf Resort & Spa, Mauritius
  • 7.           Bahia Principe, Costa Adeje, Tenerife
  • 8.           Baron Resort, Sharm el Sheikh
  • 9.           Sensatori Resort, Mexico
  • 10.           El Dorado Seaside Suites, Mexico

Despite all-inclusive bookings now accounting for around 50% of all holiday bookings, Europe appears to be lacking in its offering compared with long haul destinations such as Mauritius and the Caribbean. This could be due to several reasons – when it comes to luxury hotels it appears that the quality of all-inclusive hotels can be found where the clientele are often American who can be more demanding in terms of service and variety of food and drink. These hotels are also in destinations which are like paradise compared with destinations that are seen as a standard holiday to destinations such as Spain which are particularly popular for UK customers. It also appears that if you are going to spend 5* money, then people would be more likely to spend this in a destination such as Mauritius rather than a short haul flight away.

Should we give some sympathy to European hoteliers as they are up against competition from major exclusive hotel brands such as Sandals, Sensatori and Secrets? They ultimately offer a fantastic all inclusive programs often with several dining options rather than daily buffets and house drinks but it does come at a cost.  It will now be up to European hoteliers to either try and ‘up their game’ in order to catch up or to continue to base their all-inclusive offering at families who are looking to obtain value for money rather than that truly special holiday.

So, do you need to travel to a long-haul holiday destination to find a great all-inclusive hotel?  

Monday, 29 October 2012

The Best Beaches of Gran Canaria

The Canary Island of Gran Canaria is home to over 226km of coastline with 60km of that coastline being home to over 150 different beaches. Six of its most famous beaches have also been awarded prestigious Blue Flag status. There really is a great choice of beaches in GranCanaria for any type of holiday maker.

Puerto de Mogán
The beach at Puerto de Mogán although man-made, is a great spot for a day at the beach. It is well sheltered and in an area known as Little Venice due to being criss-crossed by canals. The beach is perfect for families as it is sheltered from the Atlantic by large cliffs and the entry to the water is gentle with golden sands. The current is also not too strong at Puerto de Mogán and there is a good provision of sunbeds and parasols. 

Playa de San Agustín

Located next to Playa del Inglés and Maspalomas beaches, Playa de San Agustin offers a quieter spot to spend the day than its more famous neighbours. It is very large at 670 metres long and allows for you to have plenty of space at the beach in a safe environment with a shallow slope into the water. It is worth noting that the sand at Playa de San Agustin is volcanic and a grey colour which can put some visitors off visiting. This beach may be a good choice during the months of July and August. 

Playa de Meloneras

Located in the south of Gran Canaria is the wonderful Playa de Meloneras which is as close to paradise as you are able to get on this island. Unlike at Playa de San Agustin, the sand here is golden and the water is also calm. Playa de Meloneras has a great vibe and attracts families as well as younger visitors. It is 500 metres in length and only gets very busy during the peak months. It is surrounded by several restaurants and bars and is  a great place to spend a lazy day. 

 Playa de las Alcaravaneras

If you are looking to be seen whilst at the beach and to be more active, then Playa de las Alcaravaneras could be the one for you. Popular with Las Palmas residents, it is the beach where you will see people playing volleyball and also popular with local joggers and roller bladers. The beach is located close to the city centre and is very easy to access from other parts of the island. Despite all of the activity going on at Playa de las Alcaravaneras, it remains a great beach with lovely sand and waters to take a dip in the sea.  

I couldn’t have written a beach guide to Gran Canaria without including the world famous Maspalomas. It is truly spectacular and worth visiting at least once during a trip to the island. Its golden sand dunes are part of a 400 hectare nature reserve which includes a large lagoon.  Maspalomas beach is divided into four sections, one that is for families another that is popular with the gay community and two that are designated for nudists. The fine golden sands, set against its blue waters are a spectacular sight and the beach is also well served with refreshments stands. It is worth noting that despite its size, the Maspalomas beach can get very busy and is worth visiting in the quieter months if you can.

Even if you are planning a trip to Gran Canaria on an all inclusive basis, it is worth venturing out from your hotels complex to take in the great beaches of Gran Canaria.