Greece on sale for the summer, new airport terminal in Las Vegas, U.S. hotels
Always dreamed of that holiday in Santorini or Mykonos? This looks like a good time to act.
Last week I read that tourism was down something like 15 per cent in Greece compared to last year, with German visits (no surprise) down as much as 50 per cent. Today, I see a report from travelmole.com that says at least one Greek tour operator is slashing prices, and not just for the shoulder seasons.
"One of the biggest tour operators to Greece has slashed 25% off package prices for the peak summer period," travelmole reported. "Olympic Holidays commercial director Photis Lambrianides admitted the decision to discount July and August holidays in early June was unusual, but he said the cuts had been prompted by a unique set of circumstances.
"Hoteliers and operators are working together to encourage the family market to commit to the Greek islands," he said.
As an example of the discounts available, Olympic has knocked almost $1,100 off a seven-night package to Rhodes for a family of four, which now costs $3,070. That's for a package out of England, so it might not apply to us. But it's still a sign of deals to come, I suspect.
NEW TERMINAL IN VEGAS
It will house 14 gates, including new technology that, if an airline opts to use it, would allow self-boarding capabilities at the gates (I admit I don't quite know what that means) and self-tagging for baggage at check-in. Another feature are jet bridges that will allow front and rear-boarding of wide body jets at the same time; thus reducing the amount of time we have to wait for people who can't seem to make their way up the aisle of an airplane and put their bags away in less than 42 minutes and who thne find out that they misread their boarding pass and are sitting in the wrong seats.
USA Today said T3 "will feature seven new restaurants and retail outlets, including a duty-free shop and express spa. Fliers with gadgets will appreciate free Wi-Fi and an abundance of power outlets throughout the terminal. And, yes, it will have a classic Las Vegas standby: Nearly 300 slot machines will provide distractions for fliers throughout the 1.9-million-square-foot terminal."
NORTH AMERICAN HOTEL DEALS - MAYBE NOT THIS SUMMER
The L.A. Times report that most U.S. hotel operators were wringing their hands a few years ago, worried about "plummeting room demand in the face of the worst recession in a generation."
Now, the paper says, a study by Nashville hotel research firm STR says times have changed. A lot.
U.S. hotels sold more than 1 billion room nights in 2011, surpassing the previous record set in 2007 by nearly 20 million room nights, according to STR. The average hotel rate last year was $101.71, still below the pre-recession peak of $107.38 reached in 2008, according to the study.
But the revenue collected per available room jumped to $61 in 2011, up 8.2% compared with the previous year. It was the biggest increase since 2005, when revenue rose 8.6%.
I wouldn't expect any great deals for American hotels this summer based on that data. But you can still find some pretty good bargains. My son went on hotwire.com last week and registered for a 5-star hotel in downtown Vancouver for something like $130. He ended up with a room at the luxurious Sutton Place, so that's a good deal.
Hotwire often has rooms at central Toronto hotels, such as the Sheraton (see photo), for less than $100. This morning the site was showing a four-star hotel in Montreal for July 7-9 for $132. A four-star downtown Vancouver property was listed at $137, and there were hotels in the Richmond/Vancouver Airport area for $88.