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 Guardian.co.uk. 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. TeletextHolidays.co.uk +68,228 +68%
  2. HolidayHypermarket.co.uk +26,621 +105%
  3. AlphaRooms.com +22,808 +1,000%
  4. TravelRepublic.co.uk +11,246 +176%
  5. Monarch.co.uk 9,192 +57%

Total travel industry winners = 138,095 clicks.

Penguin 2.0 Biggest Travel Losers

  1. IceLolly.com-105,712  <-75%
  2. SunMaster.co.uk -22,230 <-75%
  3. Cheapoair.co.uk -17,094 <-75%
  4. GlobalLateDEals.com -12,900 <-75%
  5. BestforTravel.co.uk -10,726 <-75%
  6. DirectLineHolidays.co.uk -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 IceLolly.com 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. IceLolly.com 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.

April Ski Deals from Adventure Base

Adventure Base, the Chamonix and Morzine chalet specialist, has some fantastic deals for late April skiing. The April ski deals involve both catered and self-catered chalets as well as two luxury apartments that feature a hot tub.

MORZINE – PORTES DU SOLEIL

14th April

Chalet Lanchettes Morzine now available self catered – Whole Chalet £2,000.

Chalet La Cordee Morzine now available self catered – Whole Chalet £2,300

Apartment La Galerie Morzine 50% off! – Whole apartment now £1,000 Self catered.

Apartment Le Petit Balcon Morzine 50% off! – Whole apartment now £800 Self catered.

CHAMONIX – MONT BLANC

14th April

Melee Apartment Argentiere 6 person 20% OFF – Whole apartment now £1,440 Self
catered.

Melee Apartment Argentiere 8 person 20% OFF – Whole apartment now £1,760 Self
catered.

Chalet Viper Chamonix
20% OFF – Whole Chalet now £1,232 Self catered, £2,808 Fully catered.

Chalet Iceman Chamonix
20% OFF – Whole Chalet now £780 Self catered, £1,900 Fully catered.

Chalet Maverick Chamonix
Catered 20% OFF – Whole Chalet now £2,785 Fully catered.
Now available self catered – Whole Chalet £1,500.

21st April

Melee Apartment Argentiere 6 person 20% OFF – Whole apartment now £1,440 Self
catered.

Melee Apartment Argentiere 8 person 20% OFF – Whole apartment now £1,760 Self
catered.

Chalet Viper Chamonix
Up to 50% OFF – Whole Chalet now £1,000 Self catered.

Chalet Slider Chamonix
Up to 50% OFF – Whole Chalet now £750 Self catered.

Chalet Iceman Chamonix
Up to 50% OFF – Whole Chalet now £620 Self catered.

Chalet Maverick Chamonix
Now available SELF CATERED!!! – Whole Chalet £1,100 Self catered.

Croatia Holidays Featured by The Independent

The Independent 6th April 2013 - Croatia Holidays Challenge

The Independent Croatia Holidays Challenge

Croatia holidays were back in the national news last weekend. The Independent national newspaper featured a Croatia holidays break in their weekly Travel Challenge on 6th April. See image to the left. The weekly challenge is where The Independent invites three holiday companies to offer their best break for a specific destination.

The timing of the Croatia coastal break was for a 7 day holiday that included the May Bank holiday weekend and had to include flights from Gatwick and transfers to the accommodation. Our client, Completely Croatia took part in the challenge along with two rival tour operators.

Completely Croatia offered the most upmarket of the three holidays. Featuring a stay at the 5 star Hotel More Dubrovnik, as well as a tour of the old city of Dubrovnik. The price of the Completely Croatia holiday totalled £829 per person. The flights were with Easyjet. Their competitors offered less luxurious accommodation and lower prices.

PM’s Indian Trip Leads to Criticism

Hot on the heels of all the other controversy surrounding David Cameron’s trip to India, we now have the Chief Executive of UK Inbound adding to the criticism of the Prime Minister. Mary Rance, the executive of the UK’s inbound tourism agency, has stated that she believes it is the current high levels of Air Passenger Duty (APD) that is really the problem holding back trade and tourism between the two countries. She claims that the UK’s high level of flight taxes is deterring Indian families from travelling to the UK.

A recent Visit Britain press release stated Indian tourist numbers to the UK have dropped from 371,000 in 2010 to 348,000 in 2012.

 Mary Rance, chief executive of UKinbound, said: “Visitors from India spend on average £900 per stay in the UK, about 60% more than the average visitor, a considerable contribution to the country’s finances.

“The combination of APD and the cumbersome, expensive visa process are a disincentive for anyone planning to visit the UK and certainly do not help the Prime Minister to convey the message that Britain welcomes businesses and tourists.”

India has a strong visiting friends and relatives relationship with the UK. But with flight taxes rising at the UK end and Indian Visa prices rising at the instigation of the Indian Government, it seems both governments are squeezing as much as possible from both business and leisure travel between the two countries.

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