Luxury travel news this week


Here’s a round-up of luxury travel stories that have caught the eye this week. To make sure you receive these new weekly alerts in your web browser, please click on the red bell icon in the bottom right hand corner of the page and click ‘subscribe’ (works on desktop only – for other ways to subscribe, please click here). This will also alert you to any other posts on the blog. Should you wish, you can unsubscribe at any time, by clicking on the icon again and selecting ‘unsubscribe’.

Booking.com still duping customers, says watchdog

Booking.com is continuing to mislead its customers despite a crackdown by regulators, claims a new report. The Competition and Markets Authority ruled this year that booking sites must review the way they rank and display rooms, over pressure-selling concerns. An investigation by Which? says Booking.com is still giving false accounts of the popularity of rooms. However, the site told the BBC it has “worked hard to implement the commitments” agreed with the CMA… [read more]

AQUA: The 112m hydrogen-powered superyacht by Sinot

Sinot Yacht Design & Architecture is once again previewing their Monaco Yacht Show presence with a radical new superyacht concept in the form of the 112-metre hydrogen superyacht Aqua. Aqua is developed for the forward-thinking owner with a futuristic design that is matched by a fully-operational liquid hydrogen and fuel cell technology power system, putting it on the cutting edge of what is possible at sea today… [read more]

Airbnb to go public in 2020

Airbnb has made it official: the San Francisco-based travel giant will be taking the company public in 2020. Airbnb released a statement on its plan today, but did not provide any details about how or when it intends to launch the company on the public markets. The home-rentals giant has been widely expected to pursue a direct listing. It has been laying the groundwork for an initial public offering for nearly two years… [read more]

Is Porsche developing the world’s most powerful supercar?

Porsche may be working on a brand-new supercar intended to surpass all competitors, according to Australian website Motoring, which relayed the words of Stefan Weckbach, head of the brand’s electric vehicle development program, from a roundtable session at the Frankfurt Motor Show… [read more]

Brazil tries to refresh its image after Amazon fires

After a month of controversy over its handling of fires that have ravaged the Amazon rainforest, Brazil’s rightwing government is trying to give its international image a reboot ahead of next week’s UN General Assembly. The campaign, “Brazil by Brazil”, by the Calia Y2 Propaganda e Marketing agency, launched on Friday as the UN General Assembly got under way in New York… [read more]

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Comments (14)

  1. Fiona says:

    There are also some consumers who take advantage of Booking.com’s flexibility and cancellation policy. I have a friend who knew that she wanted to spend a week in France but wasn’t quite sure where. She went and booked two separate weeks of accommodation knowing full well that she would cancel one of them.

    I have some sympathy for the owners, particularly when they are small B & Bs, who may not be able to fill the rooms at short notice. There’s a lot of rewriting of the rules that could be done to make hotel booking fairer for all.

  2. Ed says:

    Aqua or should it be Aero? In the first picture that super yacht looks more like a plane.

  3. Stephen says:

    Air bnb’s growth has been phenomenal and an inspiration for every wannabe internet billionaire out there. However, they have grown rapidly without always having the correct architecture for their organisation in place. Going public in 2020 should prompt them to put their house in order. I know that both hosts and guests are dissatisfied with the generous cancellation policy. Guests can easily cancel leaving the hosts with empty beds and unnecessary costs. There are some disgruntled guests around where hosts have cancelled at relatively short-notice as well. Hopefully, the new look organisation can address these drawbacks.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      For all its success, Airbnb has also had plenty of bad press, from guests wrecking homes to even hosts spying on guests. It’s an industry that I feel needs a lot more regulation and hopefully that might come with having to be more accountable.

  4. Valerie says:

    I’m not sure that the big booking machines like Booking.com will dominate the future as we might fear. The hotels are fighting back, not always on price, but sometimes with add ons and freebies if you book direct through their websites. Recently, I stayed at a hotel where if you had booked direct you didn’t have to check-out by 11.00 am and could have an extra couple of hours. That’s clever thinking. They can’t service all the rooms at that time, so it’s not costing them anything with that gesture of good will. Obviously, it all depends on a large number of people continuing to use the big online booking agencies.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      I think the big OTAs are there to stay, but hopefully they won’t be overly dominant. As you say, that’s an interesting idea on the part of the hotel example you mention. Very clever!

  5. Janet Gordon says:

    On the last story, about the “Brazil by Brazil” campaign I clicked through to read the rest of it only to come across a page where to read on I would have had to subscribe to the Financial Times for £4. It was an interesting story but not that interesting!

    • Paul Johnson says:

      Hmm… that’s interesting. It let me just read it before. Now I am persented with a trial that costs £1.00 for 4 weeks among other options. I’ll try to make sure I’m only sharing stories from free-to-read publications.

  6. Sam Matthews says:

    I’m not sure what to think over the Booking thing. It’s a sales tactic, and when I read things like how popular a room is, how many rooms at a hotel have sold in an hour and how many people are currently looking at it, I take it with a pinch of salt. I don’t feel pressured to buy because I need to be one of those people and I’m scared I’m going to miss out if I don’t. Regulation is good but maybe people need to be made more aware of marketing and sales tactics and to not take everything at face value.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      I’m with you on that, Sam. The ones that really irritate me on the Booking.com website are when it says “you just missed out” when you perform a search. I don’t want to know about the properties I could have stayed at, only the ones I can stay at! Granted, there is then an optional filter to strip out these cases from the results, but that should be the default option in my opinion. Who wants to know about the places that aren’t available for your chosen dates?!

  7. Claire Marston says:

    It’s interesting to see how much Airbnb have grown over the years, and in quite short time I think. I imagined it being more of a fad at first and there have been a lot of problems with the model as seen by ample negative reviews from both those renting out their space and those renting properties. I’m not sure what will happen as a result of the company going public though. Watch this space I guess!

    I think this article was a day or two early so I wonder if next week Thomas Cook will be featured. It’s still hard to think how they got into so much debt and how things went so incredibly wrong. It’s scary that another huge, long standing British brand has gone pop. Just another in the list of high street casualties.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      Hi Claire

      There are certainly some trust issues with airbnb, no doubt about that. On the UK version of Trustpilot, the current review breakdown is as follows:

      Excellent 12%
      Great 4%
      Average 2%
      Poor 6%
      Bad 76%

      …and they get 1.5 stars out of 5. I think that speaks volumes!

      I think there growth is a clear sign that there is a demand for the service, but these reviews suggest that there’s still a long way to go when it comes to execution.

      As for Thomas Cook, I did consider it and perhaps should have included it… there’s so much news going on at the moment!

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