Welcome to our official TripAdvisor UK blog. This is where we aim to share our thoughts, quirky updates, new research and anything else we hope you will find useful and interesting.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Happy Fourth of July! – TripAdvisor reveals new popular USA destinations

Minneapolis emerges as hotspot for British tourists as searches more than double

As America prepares for its Independence Day festivities, TripAdvisor marks the occasion by revealing five of the fastest growing, up-and-coming hotspots, based on TripAdvisor.co.uk site data monitoring traffic uplift over the past year.

Brits may love New York, L.A and Florida but if you’re looking for the hot new US destination Minneapolis is leading the way. In the last 12 months, several American cities have seen interest from travellers across the pond more than double*.

The following comprise the US destinations which have seen their popularity rise the most in the last year with British travellers:

1.    Minneapolis, Minnesota – searches by British travellers up 162% in the last year.  As the British Pound continues its climb against the US Dollar, Minneapolis’s behemoth Mall of America, the biggest mall in the country, continues to be a huge draw for British travellers.  In addition, Sun Country’s London to Minneapolis route launch in 2010 made travel to Minnesota’s capital city even easier for British travellers 

2.    Arlington, Virginia – searches by British travellers up 149% in the last year.  Arlington has long been a favourite destination for culture vultures.  With a unique history of its own, visitors to Arlington can also access Washington DC within minutes thanks to a number of metro stations connecting it to the American capital.  In 2010, the city also saw the much-lauded opening of Artisphere, a new cultural centre featuring four performance venues and three art galleries

3.    Kansas City, Kansas – searches by British travellers up 137% in the last year.
The city is currently undergoing a massive nine billion dollar improvement program which may be drawing in the British travellers.  The downtown core has seen a substantial overhaul including a new performing arts centre and a new entertainment district, while Kansas City’s usual tourist draws – fountains, jazz music and barbeque food – continue to woo travellers. 

4.    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – searches by British travellers up 86% in the last year.  Called one of the world’s most beautiful cities by The Huffington Post and regularly praised for the quality of life its provides, Pittsburgh is on the up with British travellers.  The past two years have seen substantial growth with the opening of Rivers Casino and the Stage AE amphitheatre, while a new cycle trail – allowing visitors to Pittsburgh cycle access to Washington DC – set for completion in 2012 has piqued traveller interest. 

5.    St Louis, Missouri – searches by British travellers up 76% in the last year.  This affordable and family-friendly destination is currently undergoing massive improvements to its claim to fame, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, an area which includes a 91 acre riverside park and the mammoth Gateway Arch.  The project, already well underway, will help make the picturesque Missouri River a focal point in St. Louis, while visitors will continue to enjoy what the city is famous for – beautiful architecture, great food and friendly locals.

“America has long been popular with British travellers,” commented Emma O’Boyle, TripAdvisor spokesperson.  “Historically Brits have tended to stick with the old favourites, but now we’re seeing new destinations emerge for a variety of reasons.  The USA is an enormous country with a so much diversity, so it’s great to see Brits cast their nets further and experience even more of what the US has to offer.”

*Data obtained by comparing page views on TripAdvisor.co.uk over two periods: June 2009-May 2010 vs June 2010-May 2011.  Data identifies the increase in share of page views on TripAdvisor.co.uk

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

TripAdvisor reveals the best of London’s gay-friendly hotels

Pride London will begin its descent on the capital this Friday, culminating with the famed annual parade on 2nd July.

In honour of the festival, TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, is revealing ten of London’s best hotels for gay and lesbian travellers.  These hotels are tried, tested and ten of the best, according to travellers themselves – in accordance with TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index.

Emma O’Boyle, TripAdvisor spokesperson, commented: “Pride is one of London's most vibrant and exciting festivals so why not book a hotel and make a weekend of it? With so many to choose from, TripAdvisor travellers have done the hard work for you and selected some of the best hotels the city has to offer.”

1.    Egerton House Hotel – as one TripAdvisor traveller said, “I must say this glamorous little hotel had the biggest personality and charm by far of any hotels I have stayed at!”

2.    Montague on the Gardens – as one traveller put it, “The Montague on the Gardens is a fab hotel.”

3.    Soho Hotel – one traveller said, “A wonderful location in a vibrant area, beautiful rooms and outstanding customer service. Worth every pence.”
4.    Apex City of London Hotel – as one TripAdvisor reviewer said, “We have just got back from our 8th visit to the hotel and as usual it’s second to none.”

5.    Chancery Court Hotel – one traveller, said “I could wax lyrical using every superlative known to Mankind, however you'd get bored with that, so put simply ... our stay this weekend at the Renaissance was absolutely superb”

6.    Park Plaza Riverbank London – as one traveller said, “Visited over gay pride and enjoyed the neighbourhood and the views.”

7.    The Trafalgar – one TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Loved the hotel. The location is perfect.”

8.    Mandeville – as one traveller said, “This hotel is awesome, great location, helpful staff and the hotel is just adorable and exquisitely decorated.”

9.    Sanderson – one TripAdvisor traveller said, “The Sanderson exceeded my expectations from the moment we arrived.”

10. Marriott Grosvenor Square – one TripAdvisor reviewer said, “I loved this hotel and the staff and service were exceptional.”

*Hotels were editorially selected and ranked according to TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index

Monday, 13 June 2011

Taste the best of London

TripAdvisor diners reveal London's Top 10 restaurants

Taste of London, the capital’s annual foodie festival, will descend on Regent’s Park form 16-19 June to celebrate the best of London’s food and dining experiences.   

In honour of the Taste of London festival, TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, is exclusively revealing London’s top ten restaurants according to diners themselves – in accordance with TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index.  These ten London restaurants offer diners a variety of different experiences and price options, but all are tried, tested and proven top-quality.”

“This list reveals London’s best restaurants according to those judges that really matter – diners themselves,” commented Emma O’Boyle, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “They’ve been rated and reviewed by real people and, through good service and excellent food, have earned their stripes as London’s best.”

London’s top ten restaurants:

1.    Restaurant Gordon Ramsay: Named after its famous chef, this restaurant is Ramsay’s first solo effort and is located in Chelsea. As one traveller said, “Just perfect” .

2.    Goodman: Known for its steaks, Goodman is located in Mayfair.  One TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Amazing steaks and service”
3.    Le Gavroche: Opened by Michele Roux of Masterchef fame, Le Gavroche is a French restaurant in Marble Arch.  One reviewer said, “Exceeds expectations and expectations were high”.

4.    Petrus: Another Gordon Ramsey restaurant, Petrus is in Mayfair serves up French cuisine.  One reviewer called it a “First-class restaurant”.

5.    Al Boccon di’vino: This acclaimed Italian restaurant is located in Richmond and the only restaurant in the list outside of central London.  As one TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Amazing, can’t wait to go again”.

6.    Laughing Gravy Bar & Restaurant : Serving seasonal dishes, the Laughing Gravy is in Waterloo.  One reviewer said, “If I could go there every day...I would.”

7.    The Ledbury: The Ledbury serves French and European food and is located in Notting Hill.  One TripAdvisor reviewer said “The finest meal I have ever had.”

8.    Whits: A dog-friendly French restaurant in Kensington.  As one TripAdvisor said, “Sophisticated, relaxed and amazing food”

9.    Murano: Acclaimed restaurant in Mayfair with Chef Patron Angela Hartnett.  One reviewer said, “Intimate atmosphere, great staff and fabulous food”.

10. Cote – Covent Garden: Serving classic dishes in Covent Garden.  One reviewer said, “Excellent food at great prices”.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Only Way Is NOT Essex

Newcastle, home of Geordie Shore beats TV rivals to be crowned best nightlife spot

The Only Way is Essex may have recently won a BAFTA, but when it comes to enjoying a night out Brits prefer the buzz of Newcastle, home to rival TV show Geordie Shore, over Brentwood in Essex, home to the cast of The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE).

A new TripAdvisor poll of over 5,000* Brits reveals half (52%) would choose a night on the ‘toon’ in Newcastle. Just 24% opted for Chelsea, home of the Made In Chelsea reality TV show, while TOWIE’s Brentwood received just 23% of the votes.

“Newcastle has long been known for its vibrant nightlight, and the antics of the Geordie Shore cast is sure to raise the city’s profile even further,” commented Emma O’Boyle, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “As rivalries heat up between these three British reality TV shows it’s only natural the locations themselves are also receiving more attention from the rest of the UK.”

*Survey had 5,427 respondents between 25th May and 1st June 2011