Travelodge December Promotional Discount Code Misfires

Travelodge Discount Code Not Recognised

Travelodge Discount Code Not Recognised Within the Due Time.

The Travelodge December Promotional Discount Code

On Monday evening my wife and I agreed to visit relatives in Cornwall at the end of December. As we will be drinking the nearest hotel is best. The nearest hotel with availability on the relevant date is the St.Austell Travelodge. I’ve paid £36.90 for a £41 room and feel cheated. The reason is that on 7th November Travelodge sent me the above email offering a £15 discount for December bookings. The discount voucher clearly states that the offer ends at midnight on 10th November. I tried several times yesterday evening to apply the discount code on the booking system of the Travelodge website. Each time I received a “discount code not recognised”. In the end I found a 10% off code from and used that instead. This saved me £4.10 rather than the £15 I was expecting to save. The difference of £10.90 is not much but equals the approximate cost 3 pints of locally produced Cornish beer that I could have enjoyed.

Seeking a Solution to Regaining My Discount

Perhaps the frustration with the failed code was compounded by the fact that the Travelodge website has no contact facility that addresses such matters. Only a premium rate phone line costing 13p per minute plus your own phone company charges. The high telephone charge is obviously there to deter customers from bothering.  I have tried emailing the address used in the December promotion, only to receive an email back to say I had contacted an unmonitored email address. I therefore Tweeted to @TravelodgeUK, made a post on the Travelodge Facebook page and also posted a negative 1 star review on Trustpilot. From looking at the Facebook page I can see other people appear to have had a similar problem.

Travelodge’s Twitter Response

This morning, as I was writing this blog post, I have received a reply tweet from Karen at Travelodge. See below.

Travelodge Discount Code Reply Tweet

Travelodge Discount Code Reply Tweet

The Travelodge reply Tweet states that the promotion had reached its limit. I do not recall seeing that there was any mention of a [volume] limit in the promotional email.

The Travelodge Promotional Small Print

Having received the reply Tweet from Travelodge, I have examined the small print of the promotional code email. This is shown below.

Travelodge Promotional Code Small Print

Travelodge Promotional Code Small Print

I have also followed the full terms and conditions link shown as What the Travelodge promotional small print points out is that the offer is subject to availability at the time of booking. Hmmm. What does “subject to availability” mean in this context? There was obviously availability at the hotel that I booked. Otherwise I would not have been able to book a room. What I suspect it means in legalese and technical jargon is that the promoter reserves the right to apply its yield management algorithm and withdraw the offer if certain interest or booking thresholds are triggered. Having heard similar horror stories about booking problems with Travelodge, I may explore the yield management issue further in a future post.

Holidays a Money Saving Priority – If Interest Rates Rise

A reader survey on, the online version of the Financial Times, indicates that the holiday industry may have a tough time if, and when, interest rates start to rise. Simply, if interest rates start to rise, holidays are number 1 on the hit list for likely household cost savings.

Money Saving Priorities - Survey

Money Saving Priorities – Survey

As the chart above shows more than a fifth of respondents see holidays as their first port of call when it comes to money saving measures. Interestingly, the wider travel and leisure industry takes a further hit as the next most popular cost saving area is socialising. Combined the travel and leisure area accounts for 37.7% of target savings. So tour operators, travel agents and the hotel, restaurant and pub trade should be keeping an eye on the Bank of England’s interest rate agenda.

After 7 years of recession, low economic growth and fairly static incomes it is obvious that family budgets are highly sensitive to changes in their outgoings. A small rise in mortgage costs, rather than being absorbed by family reserves, is likely to lead to outright spending cuts elsewhere.

The reader survey has been sitting on the website this week alongside an article about the implications of likely interest rate rises in the US and UK.

FT Money Saving Survey Results

FT Survey Results to 11/9/15

At the time of writing the reader survey had almost 2,600 responses. So in terms of sample size it is fairly robust.

My version of the results uses abbreviated versions of the exact question asked. Subscriptions refers largely to satellite TV.

Savings appears in two guises. The first as “Saving less money” and the second as “Slash existing savings”.

Obviously we have to consider the nature of the sample. This is after all the online newspaper likely to have amongst the highest average incomes. On the one hand they may a high exposure to interest sensitive mortgages but on the other they may also have reserves of wealth that may well tide them over.

Secondly the respondents are likely to be more male. Who actually makes the decision about family cutbacks may well not be the male of the household.

A potential and obvious flaw in the survey may be the questions themselves. The descriptors Reduce, Cut back, Slash and Cancel are placed in front of each of the expenditure areas. “Cut back” does not imply the same drastic action as “slash”. So the way the questions are framed  may have influenced the responses.

Lastly for me, are more obvious response is missing. If a mortgage is likely to be the most interest sensitive item of household expenditure, then why not include “Sell home” or “Downsize home” as options.

In order for households to insulate themselves from a rise in family expenditure is to ensure they are maximising the value of each pound they spend. One way of doing that would be to invest in discount cards such as Taste Card, which focuses on restaurants and targets the upper income scale, and Kids Pass, which focuses on savings for families and a range of kids day out activities.

According to the latest financial market thinking, and the pronouncements of the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, interest rates are likely to start rising in 2016. This suggests that for low cost mortgages the bottom of the market has been called and family budgets will need the benefits of any new savings they can find.

Travel Insurance in The Online Age

I have recently been through the process of buying travel insurance. Strange as it may sound, as a former member of the travel industry I gave the insurance category little of my attention. Ordinary members of the public I suspect buy their insurance at just the wrong moment. That is as they are booking their annual two week holiday. This is generally the wrong time and often they buy an over-priced single trip, single destination policy.

Travelling within the EU

Skiing Safely Downhill

Skiing Safely Downhill

At a personal level I was always able to secure free or deeply discounted insurance from a friendly trade supplier. Typically free, if I happened to be a trade customer and discounted if I wasn’t. Secondly, even after I had left employment in the industry I tended to have the confidence not to bother with insurance. If I went skiing I would certainly buy a carre neige or similar.  If I went to the US I would buy insurance – I didn’t want to face the risk of needing medical attention and paying US hospital charges.  But travelling within the EU and having an E111 meant I didn’t bother.

Winter Sports Cover

Recently, though, I have two closely packed  ski holidays and my wife had a separate week’s holiday in Sharm el Sheikh. So with the perceived risks of skiing and the issues of holiday to the Red Sea meant we needed an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy.

Sharm el Sheikh

The interesting thing about Sharm el Sheikh is the way it is seen by the travel industry. Although within Egypt and therefore geographically part of Africa, it is perceived to part of Europe, and treated as such by insurers, for travel insurance purposes.

The Benefits of Annual Multitrip Travel Insurance

As part of the online marketing industry it was obvious to me that the best place to buy was online. And indeed without too much searching we found several suppliers with easy to use quote engines. In the end we bought and cover from an online travel insurance specialist. Despite going on a five hour flight to Africa and having two ski holidays my wife and I have insured ourselves for less than £100. Only a few pounds more than had we bought a single fortnight’s cover. We now have the remainder of 42 weeks left before we need to buy another policy.

Harbin Ice Festival China

The Chinese city of Harbin is preparing for its annual ice festival. This year is the 30th anniversary.
Harbin, in north east China has built an ice city using 180,000 square metres of ice and 150,000 square metres of snow.
Watch the video below which is currently featured in the travel section of The Guardian.

You can visit the Harbin Ice Festival as part of a Winter Wonderland China tour organised by our clients Travel Local.

Travel Local Appoints Simply Clicks for SEO Campaign

IndoChina River Boat Travel Local

IndoChina River Boat Travel Local

Asian travel specialist Travel Local has appointed Simply Clicks to handle their organic search marketing activity. The deal was essentially sealed at this year’s World Travel Market in London.

Travel Local specialises in authentic private tours in Central Asia and the Silk Route, the Indian sub-continent, China, Taiwan and Mongolia and IndoChina and south east Asia. The full list of destinations includes the following destinations:

Central Asia, The Silk Route & The Caucasus

  • Georgia
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tajikistan

SE Asia & Indochina

  • Vietnam
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Laos
  • Cambodia

Indian Subcontinent

  • Sri Lanka
  • India

China & Mongolia

  • Mongolia
  • China
  • Taiwan

The key point of difference for Travel Local is that they utilise local travel companies to organise local transportation.  Organising travel components locally leads to a better, more authentic trip – as no-one knows a country like a travel company based there. UK consumer payments are protected by the Travel Trust Association.

Simply Clicks was appointed to handle Travel Local’s PPC management in September.

Morzine Catered Chalets Promotion

We are now into the middle third of September and already the talk amongst friend is of the upcoming ski season. I have already booked a catered chalet holiday with a group of 14 friends. A few cold early autumn days and it is obvious that winter and the dark evenings are on their way. Skiing makes the winter seem so much brighter. What more to brighten friendly discussion than talk of an additional ski holiday, especially one that involves a touch of luxury.

Hot Tub at  the Chalet Les Lanchettes Morzine

Hot Tub at the Chalet Les Lanchettes Morzine

With that in mind, I notice that Adventure Base have a Morzine catered chalet promotion. The best deal involves taking a ski break soon after the New Year. 5th January to be exact. It may still be cold and dark in the Portes du Soleil at that time of year but the price on offer is just £560 per person for a full week’s accommodation at the Chalet Les Lanchettes. The price includes airport transfers from Geneva, in resort transfers and full catering.

Chalet Les Lanchettes is one of the most luxurious catered chalets in Morzine, including, amongst other things, a roof terrace hot tub. As the following description illustrates the chalet is extremely well equipped:

Chalet Les Lanchettes Overview

  • 3 double/twin rooms and 2 quad rooms
  • Sleeps 10-14 people
  • All rooms with en suite showers
  • UK TV and Wi-Fi
  • Hot tub
  • Ski locker with boot dryer
  • Ski back to chalet
  • Just 5 minutes from the Prodains ski lift to Avoriaz

Chalet Les Lanchettes Morzine Description

Chalet Basement

  • Boot room and ski locker

Ground floor

  • Spacious living and dining area to relax after a full days skiing
  • The kitchen is tucked away from the living room, allowing you to unwind while our chalet staff get dinner prepared
  • Terrace with hot tub
  • Bedrooms 1, 2 and 3 all with ensuite facilities

Top floor

  • Bedrooms 4 and 5. These large spacious bedrooms sleep up to 4 people.

Morzine is well placed in the Portes du Soleil ski domain, adjacent to Avoriaz and close to the Swiss border. It’s possible to take the Prodains gondala up to Avoriaz and ski over into Switzerland. The current price may not be around for long. So get your skis on!

Completely Croatia Gets Guardian Traffic Boost

Completely Croatia, the specialist Croatia holidays tour operator, received a welcome website traffic boost from The Guardian newspaper. The Guardian featured an article on 10th June covering the filming locations of TV show Game of Thrones. Although the article is largely focused on filming locations in Northern Ireland, the article also mentioned locations in Croatia, including Dubrovnik and Lokrum Island.

Dubrovnik is Croatia’s most popular holiday destination. Lokrum Island, although available for visits has no overnight tourist accommodation.

Dubrovnik Old Town and Banje Beach

Dubrovnik Old Town and Banje Beach

The web analytics show a large number of visitors have clicked on the website link on The analytics of the Completely Croatia site indicate that the average Guardian visitor looked at 4.26 pages. The Croatia tour operator also received one direct online enquiry from The Guardian link.

Penguin 2.0 Update Impacts Travel Websites in Big Way

Three weeks since the introduction of the Google Penguin 2.0 update and there have been major impacts observed on several leading travel industry websites including travel agents, tour operators and airlines. The data for both click volume changes and percentage change in total link volume comes from a report shown on eConsultancy that tracks the top 25 winners and losers of click volume since the launch of the Penguin 2.0 update. The surprising issue is the number of travel industry sites that feature. Five of the winners and six of the losers come from the travel industry.

Penguin 2.0 Biggest Travel Winners

  1. +68,228 +68%
  2. +26,621 +105%
  3. +22,808 +1,000%
  4. +11,246 +176%
  5. 9,192 +57%

Total travel industry winners = 138,095 clicks.

Penguin 2.0 Biggest Travel Losers

  1.,712  <-75%
  2. -22,230 <-75%
  3. -17,094 <-75%
  4. -12,900 <-75%
  5. -10,726 <-75%
  6. -7,385 -65%

Total travel industry losers = 176,047

The balance of lost traffic totals 37,952 clicks. This would imply that the lost search visitor traffic has been spread out amongst a wider range of winners than the small number identified here. On its own, the search visitor losses of account for more than three-quarters of the gains made by the top 5 winners. Interestingly one term, “Cheap holidays”, apparently accounts for a large proportion of this loss. ranked 1st for this term prior to the Penguin 2.0 update and a manual check shows it currently ranks 35 for the term.

I suspect that the biggest issue surrounding Penguin 2.0 is the devaluation of sitewide links. I have yet to carry out any analysis into the sites in the eConsultancy tables but suspect that devaluing certain classes of links is perhaps the source of much of the change.

A wider issue is the impact of the loss in site visitors. And the impact that this has on each individual travel business. Each of these travel businesses has lost between 65% and 75% of their organic search traffic. If I get time, I will return to further analyse the causes behind the changes.