As Travel Weekly prepares to open nominations for the 2010 Globe Travel Awards, Karl Cushing takes a look at the key trends and major players in our award categories.
Make your nominations online from September 4 2009.
Long-haul operators certainly haven’t had it easy of late. No sooner had the price of fuel come down, than they faced having to deal with the impact of rising Air Passenger Duty, as well as the global economic downturn.
This fuelled much talk of budget-conscious Brits getting set to ditch their long-haul holidays for ‘staycations’, and bargain breaks closer to home.
However, against these tough market conditions, operators in the sector have continued to develop and improve the levels of service they offer, launching products, brochures and promotions, and improving the agent experience.
At the 2009 Globe Travel Awards the long-haul sector was all about Kuoni, which has set itself a tough task to follow. Agents nominated the company for every one of the five categories at last year’s event and it snared three awards, including the Globe for Best Long-Haul Operator for an astonishing 27th time.
Will the 2010 awards prove as rewarding for Kuoni? And have Somak and Virgin Holidays done enough to maintain their grip on the Globe Awards for Africa and the US?
Last year’s winners
- Best Operator – Middle East: Kuoni
- Best Operator – US, Canada or the Caribbean: Virgin Holidays
- Best Operator – Far East, Pacific, Australia or New Zealand: Kuoni
- Best Operator – Africa: Somak
- Best Long Haul Operator: Kuoni
There is a lot to cheer about in the Flying sector, and some airlines – such as Qantas, which posted a £91m profit for the year to June – have continued to post impressive trading figures despite the climate.
There are six awards up for contention, recognising the scheduled airlines who link the UK to five different geographical markets – the US and Canada; Africa; the Middle East or Asia; the Pacific, New Zealand or Australia; and Europe. There is also a separate award for the Best Charter Airline.
The 2009 awards ceremony was a particularly good one for Emirates, which scooped two Globes for Best Scheduled Airline. Can it go one better and make it a hat-trick this time? Or will the 2010 awards see different companies receiving the honours?
Following tough trading this year, British Airways will be hoping to retain the award for Best Scheduled Airline to Europe, or scoop one of the others.
Last year’s winners
- Best Scheduled Airline to the US/Canada: Virgin Atlantic
- Best Scheduled Airline to the Pacific, New Zealand or Australia: Emirates
- Best Scheduled Airline to the Middle East or Asia: Emirates
- Best Scheduled Airline to Europe: British Airways
- Best Scheduled Airline to Africa: Emirates
- Best Charter Airline: Monarch Airlines
The Going Away sector, sponsored by P&O Ferries, recognises the companies that gett clients from A to B, as well as the tourism boards.
There are five Globe Travel Awards up for grabs: Best Rail Operator, Best Tourist Board (UK Office), Best Coach Operator, Best Car Rental Company, and Best Regional UK Airport.
The award for Best Regional UK Airport looks set to be particularly competitive. This year has seen a stack of innovations and investments, not to mention an impressive number of new routes.
Manchester has been in the press following Ryanair’s decision to drop many of its services from the airport. But it remains by far the biggest airport outside London.
Maybe the prize will go to Oxford airport, which has just changed its name – rather cheekily, given its position more than 50 miles from the capital – to Oxford London airport in an attempt to boost passenger numbers.
Best Car Rental Company is also hard to call. Holiday Autos scooped the prize last time, but with so much competition, the result could be hard to call.
- Best Coach Operator: Shearings Holidays
- Best Rail Operator: Eurostar
- Best Tourist Board (UK Office): Australia
- Best Car Rental Company: Holiday Autos
- Best Regional UK Airport: Gatwick
On the Water
The five awards in the On the Water sector celebrate the cruise and ferry industries.
The cruise sector has had a memorable year so far, with some 13 ships set to launch. And, as the vessels continue to get bigger and bolder, cruise operators have had to become increasingly innovative in the way they work with agents to fill them.
Not to be outdone, the ferry sector has also seen innovation and activity, from new ships to improved on-board facilities, not to mention some interesting new routes and keenly priced packages.
- Best Ferry Company: P&O Ferries
- Best Cruise Company – three-star plus: Fred Olsen Cruise Line
- Best Cruise Company – four-star plus: Royal Caribbean International
- Best Specialist Cruise Company: Hurtigruten
- Best Cruise Company – luxury: Silversea Cruises
Serving the Industry
This sector, sponsored by MSC Cruises, is designed to recognise the suppliers that play such a crucial role in making the travel industry what it is today.
Competition looks set to be fierce, with so many companies in this sector making enormous strides in refining their online presence and improving the ways they communicate with agents and consumers. Last year’s winner, Superbreak, will face some stiff competition in the Best Travel Trade Website category.
With so many great products on the market, it’s anyone’s guess whether last year’s winner, Amadeus, will emerge victorious again in the Best Technology Provider category.
- Best Travel Trade Website: superbreak.com
- Best Insurance Provider: Holiday Extras
- Best Add-ons Provider: Attraction World
- Best Technology Provider: Amadeus
- Best Scheduled Consolidator: Gold Medal Travel
There has been no shortage of stories coming out of the Short Haul sector this year. Cash-strapped British holidaymakers have purportedly been put off their traditional European bolt-holes by the weak pound, with the domestic tourism market and non-eurozone countries such as Turkey reaping the benefits.
There have also been reports of the city breaks market suffering as Britons rein in their expenditure. Some commentators fear the ski and snow market could be similarly hit.
However, suppliers in all four categories in the Short Haul sector continue to up their game, with improvements to their offering to enhance the booking experience for agents and customers.
Has Superbreak done enough to retain the two awards it won last year? And will Crystal Holidays once again be your pick of the piste, or will the 2007 winner Neilson Holidays regain its prize?
- Best Operator – Ski/Activity: Crystal Holidays
- Best Operator – Short Breaks: Superbreak
- Best Operator – UK Holidays: Superbreak
- Best Operator – Europe: Replaces Best Operator – Western Med and Best Operator – Eastern Med
Quality of accommodation can make or break a client’s trip. With so much competition in the market, and new product opening all the time, maintaining market share and keeping occupancy rates high is tough. One way to do this is to work closely with the trade and make the booking experience seamless.
The Staying sector features three awards focused on the accommodation sector – Best Accommodation-Only Provider, Best All-Inclusive Resort, and Best Hotel Chain – designed to recognise the companies you feel go the extra mile with their service and products.
The Staying sector also features the Best Theme Park award.
- Best Accommodation-Only Provider: hotels4u.com
- Best All-Inclusive Resort: Sandals
- Best Theme Park: Walt Disney World Resort Florida
- Best Hotel Chain: Replaces Best Business Hotel Chain (Hilton) and Best Leisure Hotel Chain (RIU)