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.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Wedding celebrations abroad – great idea or great headache?

Wedding celebrations abroad – great idea or great headache?
Research reveals many guests concerned with costs of overseas weddings

Guaranteed good weather and a stress-free wedding can make choosing to get married abroad a very tempting option for the happy couple, but spare a thought for your cash-conscious guests.  A new survey by TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel website, reveals that while many guests are happy to stump up for idyllic ‘I-dos’ abroad, others find the associated travel expenses extreme.

A survey of 1,650 British travellers revealed that over one-quarter (26%) of those who have travelled abroad for a wedding were actually unhappy about it.  The majority of guests displeased about travelling for weddings put this down to the cost:
·         49% of those unhappy about travelling abroad for a wedding said it was because it was too expensive
·         19% said it took up too much holiday time
·         15% didn’t like the destination
·         16% cited other reasons

Even if the wedding isn’t abroad, many couples now are choosing to have their hen or stag do abroad....and these attendees are even more likely to consider these too expensive.  Of respondents who have travelled abroad for hen or stag dos, one third (33%) were unhappy about doing so and cost again was the most significant reason for this:
·         41% of those unhappy about travelling abroad for a hen or stag do said it was because it was too expensive
·         12% said it took too much holiday time
·         27% didn’t like the destination
·         20% cited other reasons

The costs of attending a wedding can add up quickly, particularly when considering that 10% of respondents have attended two weddings abroad in the same year, while more than one-quarter (26%) of those who have attended a wedding abroad have attended a international hen or stag for that same wedding.

“Weddings abroad are fantastic for couples who want a more relaxed and intimate day. A wedding abroad is often an effective way of keeping the actual wedding costs down too, and many couples choose to incorporate their honeymoon into the same trip,” commented Emma O’Boyle, TripAdvisor spokesperson. 

“However, the bride and groom should carefully consider the costs incurred by their guests.  With airfares, hotel costs, wedding gifts and other expenses, the bills can add up quickly. Those getting married abroad may want to consider having their stag and hen dos closer to home as travelling for both really is a double financial blow for those involved.”

*Survey carried out on 1,650 travellers from 29th July to 15th August 2011

Monday, 22 August 2011

Devon offers best hotel value for August bank holiday

Edinburgh hotel prices 38% more expensive over bank holiday weekend**

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, today reveals where travellers can find the UK’s most affordable four-star hotel rooms over the popular August bank holiday weekend.

·         The research reveals Devon as the best value destination for the August bank holiday, with an average per-night four-star hotel room price of £72 over 26th, 27th and 28th August. 
·         This is followed by Belfast at £85 per night and Stratford-upon-Avon at £101 per night. 
·         Edinburgh’s average hotel price of £229 per night – more than triple Devon’s cost – makes it the UK’s most expensive, ahead even of London at £183 per night. 
·         Edinburgh’s hotel prices also see the biggest bank holiday spike, with the average room costing 38% more than the weekend immediately after, which can likely be attributed the city’s famous Fringe Festival overlapping with the holiday.

“For those planning their August bank holiday weekend getaway Devon is the clear winner when it comes to hotel value for money,” commented Emma O’Boyle, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “With great beaches and beautiful scenery, savvy travellers should take advantage of Devon’s comparatively cheaper hotels that weekend.”

“The August bank holiday weekend can be a very expensive travelling period, especially for families. This data reveals what a considerable saving you can make on your hotel if you opt for the likes of Devon and Belfast over the larger, more obvious city break locations of London, Bath and Edinburgh.”

Average per night hotel room costs (four-star) over the August Bank Holiday weekend*:

Lake District

Bank Holiday premiums: some do, some don’t
Many people avoid bank holiday travel for fear of inflated hotel prices and, according to the TripAdvisor research, this is the reality in certain destinations, while the opposite is the case in others:**

·         Edinburgh, Jersey and the Cotswolds are 38%, 12% and 9% respectively more expensive on the August bank holiday weekend (26,27,28 August) compared to the following weekend (2,3,4 September)
·         London, Bath and the Lake District are 19%, 10% and 5% respectively more expensive on the weekend following the August Bank Holiday
·         Devon, Belfast, Stratford-upon-Avon and Cornwall showed broadly similar costs for both weekends

“This research disproves the theory that all hotels increase their rates specifically for the bank holiday weekend. In some cases, such as Edinburgh, Jersey and the Cotswolds, it holds true that hotel prices are more expensive. However, some UK destinations, such as Bath, London and the Lake District, actually allow you to make savings during that weekend. As with any holiday, research and flexibility can go a long a way in seeking out for most cost-effective option.”

Notes to editor:
*Hotel prices are the average per-night cost of a four-star hotel in each destination for the nights of 26, 27 and 28 August.  The data was taken from many TripAdvisor partners, including online travel agencies and direct hotel suppliers.  Averages were pulled using rates from several hotels in each destination.  The list of destinations are popular bank holiday destinations and were selected by TripAdvisor editors.

**Percentages indicate difference in price when comparing bank holiday prices to the following weekend (2,3,4 September).  Prices for 2,3,4 September were taken according to the same methodology as August bank holiday weekend, outlined above

Monday, 15 August 2011

Off-limit Destinations Turning Into Holiday Hotspots

Rwanda sees phenomenal 656% increase in British traveller interest year on year

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, can exclusively reveal rapidly growing traveller interest in previously off-limit destinations.  In the last year, Rwanda has seen more growth in searches on TripAdvisor.co.uk than any other country, with an astounding 656% increase.

This growth doesn’t stop with Rwanda.  Many of the biggest search increases* on TripAdvisor in the last year belong to destinations which were previously considered off-limits. 

“As Brits look for their next great travel experience, it seems destinations that only a few years ago would never have been an option are now being considered,” commented Emma O’Boyle, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “We’re seeing rapidly growing interest in destinations like Rwanda and the Republic of Macedonia, showing that British travellers may be becoming more intrepid and looking for something different than the traditional beach holiday.”

“As with any travel plans, it’s important to check the FCO website for the latest travel advice so you can plan accordingly for the safest trip possible.”

Destinations with extensive growth in the last year:

Rwanda – 656% increase in searches from last year
The country’s tragic history kept it out of the tourism spotlight until very recently. In the last year, Rwanda has seen more growth than any other country on TripAdvisor as it plants itself firmly on the to-do list of adventurous British travellers.

Rwanda is particularly making a name for itself amongst outdoor travellers with its lush, rolling green hills and gorilla trekking and tours. The FCO still warns against travel to certain areas of Rwanda, but much of the country is now open to tourism. 

As one TripAdvisor traveller said, “Rwanda is amazing”.   For information on advice on travelling to Rwanda, visit http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Tourism-g293828-Rwanda-Vacations.html

Republic of Macedonia – 48% increase in searches from last year
The Republic of Macedonia’s recent history has seen conflicts, keeping it off the tourist trail for part of the last decade. 

Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the southwestern part of the country and on the eastern part of Lake Ohrid, is particularly popular with tourists. The FCO still warns against visiting certain parts of the country, but confirms most visits to the country are “trouble-free”. 

As one TripAdvisor traveller said, “Macedonia is wonderful”. For more information on travelling to the Republic of Macedonai, visit http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Tourism-g295109-Republic_of_Macedonia-Vacations.html

Bosnia and Herzegovina – 39% increase in searches from last year
Although Bosnia has been open to tourism for longer than other destinations in the list, it was off-limits for much of the nineties during the Bosnian War.  The country now has a solid tourism industry which sees continual growth.

Sarajevo, the capital city and home to the 1984 Olympics, is now popular with tourists and the country is becoming increasingly known for affordable ski holidays. Despite some recent deomstartions, the FCO says most visits to the country are “trouble-free”. 

As one TripAdvisor traveller said, “I can honestly say that Bosnia is now one of my favourite countries (having been to over 40) and would go back any time.”.  For information on travelling to Bosnia, visit http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Tourism-g294449-Bosnia_and_Herzegovina-Vacations.html

El Salvador – 28% increase in searches from last year
El Salvador’s civil war in the eighties and nineties, as well as its high crime rate, have kept the country off the beaten path for many tourists.  With the civil war well over and much of the crime considered isolated, more travellers are now showing interest in El Salvador.

Located between Guatamala and Honduras in central America, El Salvador’s Pacific coastline offers beautiful beaches and good surf spots.  The FCO warns against high crime rates in El Salvador, but says most visits to the country are “trouble-free”

As one TripAdvisor traveller said, “El Salvador is beautiful”.  For more information on travelling to El Salvador, visit http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Tourism-g294475-El_Salvador-Vacations.html

All FCO information included above is based on information available on 5th August 2011 and may change at any time

*Figures identify year-on-year increase in search figures (comparing 1 August 2009-31 July 2010 against 1 August 2010-31 July 2011)

Friday, 5 August 2011

Make the most of Notting Hill Carnival

London’s top hotels according to TripAdvisor travellers

Notting Hill Carnival, the capital’s annual street festival which brings in over a million revellers, will descend on West London on Sunday 28th August. 

If you’re visiting the capital to enjoy the festivities heed the advice of your fellow travellers and stay at one of London’s top ten hotels.  These properties are tried, tested and London’s best according to travellers themselves.

“Notting Hill Carnival, the largest festival celebration of its kind in Europe, is the perfect opportunity to visit London,” commented Emma O’Boyle, TripAdvisor spokesperson.  “Many of London’s top hotels are within easy reach of Notting Hill, so take full advantage and enjoy not only the carnival, but also some of the best accommodation London has to offer.

Notting Hill Carnival takes place from Sunday 28th – Monday 29th August and celebrates London’s Caribbean connections. With colourful floats, vibrant costumes, steel drum bands, sound systems and dancing, plus hundreds of food stalls, Notting Hill Carnival is one of London’s most exciting events. 

“Many users on the TripAdvisor forum recommend visiting the carnival on Sunday if you’re visiting with children or looking for a more relaxed experience, while Monday tends to busier and more lively,”, concludes TripAdvisor’s Emma O’Boyle.

London’s top ten hotels:

1.    Hotel 41 – as one traveller said, “a truly wonderful experience”.
*Distance to Notting Hill – 2.9 miles
          Rooms from £397 per night

2.    The Milestone Hotel – as one traveller said, “Really lovely – charming hotel with great service”
Distance to Notting Hill – 0.9 miles
          Rooms from £293 per night

3.    The Levin – as one traveller said, “Highly recommended to friends and will return”
Distance from Notting Hill – 2 miles
          Rooms from £225 per night

4.    Egerton House Hotel – as one traveller said, “Just dreamy”
Distance to Notting Hill – 2 miles
          Rooms from £300 per night

5.    Sofitel St James London – as one traveller said, “Brilliant service, great location”
Distance to Notting Hill – 3.3 miles
          Rooms from £287 per night

6.    Haymarket Hotel – as one traveller said, “This hotel gets a ten out of ten”
Distance from Notting Hill – 3.1 miles
          Rooms from £200 per night

7.    The Montague on the Gardens – as one traveller said, “Gem of a hotel”
Distance from Notting Hill – 3.4 miles
          Rooms from £186 per night

8.    Plaza on the River – Club and Residence – as one traveller said, “superb – again”
Distance from Hitting Hill – 4.3 miles
Rooms from £213 per night

9.    The Arch London – as one traveller said, “Could not fault it”
Distance from Notting Hill – 1.8 miles
Rooms from £230 per night

10. Covent Garden Hotel – as one traveller said, “Hotel heaven”
Distance from Notting Hill – 3.2 miles
Rooms from £300 per night

For more information on London hotels, visit www.TripAdvisor.co.uk

*Indicates walking distance from hotel to Notting Hill Gate tube station

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Brits are Europe’s most courteous drivers...but aren’t so courteous to each other

British travellers take out holiday driving stress on their partners

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, has polled* European travellers on the perils and pleasures of driving on holiday and found that Brits are Europe’s most courteous – and most argumentative – drivers on the road.

The survey of over 3,000 European travellers tagged Brits as Europe’s most courteous drivers. The situation inside the car, however, is entirely different: a whopping 42% of Brits have argued with their partner as a direct result of driving on holiday, compared to just 15% of passive Spanish drivers.

“Although Brits may appear courteous to other drivers, it seems we don’t continue this politeness to our partners,” commented Emma O’Boyle, TripAdvisor spokesperson.  “Driving on holiday, particularly abroad, can be a stressful experience so mitigate against the most obvious argument triggers by planning your route in advance and making regular stops to avoid getting over-tired and irritable.”

Italians were voted Europe’s worst drivers, while Greek roads were voted the most unsafe and Germany’s voted the safest.

*Survey carried out on 3,339 European travellers in July 2011