Welcome to the lastminute.com social media press office. Here you'll find all of the latest news and deals alongside some cool photography, videos and a widget or two as well. Stick around, have a play and let us know what you think.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Here’s to 2009 - a glimpse at 2009 from the experts at lastminute.com

Despite the challenging times lying ahead for the travel industry, online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com is predicting 2009 to be a year for new destinations and new experiences. The new year will bring a host of opportunities and some great bargains to be had for savvy shoppers.

The online retailer is expecting to see interesting changes in consumers’ travel habits throughout 2009. Holidays are predicted to be the last luxury to go when things get tough and Britons will look at ways to cut corners and make their pounds go further.

Throughout 2008 lastminute.com has seen a strong 21% year on year increase in demand for all-inclusive holidays and in 2009, the retailer has increased its product to match customers’ expectations.

For short and mid-haul holidays, the online travel agent is expecting the non-euro zone destinations to continue their successful ascent. In 2008, Tunisia’s bookings increased by 71%, Istanbul’s hotels rocketed up by 53%, whilst Egypt and the Czech Republic were all amongst the top 10 best selling destinations. In 2009, whilst the UK is expected to do very well, non-euro zone places are all expected to be very popular with holidaymakers too.

Destinations where the pound is still strong, such as budget friendly Bulgaria and South Africa, will also benefit from the economic downturn.

The average length of a holiday will also be reduced to limit costs. lastminute.com is seeing a shift from fourteen day holidays to ten days. The seven night packages are the ones most likely to sell out. During 2008, the retailer has already witnessed customers reducing their holidays by an average of two days.

Hotels have also seen some changes in habits with a shift from five-star to three-star hotels in luxury destinations like Dubai. In 2009, big hotel groups such as the Hilton are opening their budget chains in Europe as four-star hotels are battling head to head with three star properties in prices. Consumers are increasingly price driven but do not want to cut down too much on the quality of a hotel. Sales of Top Secret Hotels at lastminute.com have increased a staggering 150% in 2008 and these are expected to perform even better next year as the number of destinations and properties increases.

UK hotels was the success story of 2008 with Liverpool bookings up 100% year on year, Scottish hotels up an average of 42% and Northern Ireland up 48% between 2008 and 2009.

lastminute.com Travel Sales Director Andy Washington commented: “ We are seeing some interesting changes in consumer habits as the economic downturn hits the UK. Our customers are determined to keep on holidaying but they will watch their pennies and make sure they do not break the bank when away. Destinations where the pound is still strong, all-inclusive holidays, the UK are all great cost saving options.”

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

lastminute.com massive clearance sale

Leading online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com is ending the year with a bang as it unveils its biggest sale ever. The retailer will offer up to 75% off most of its products from 27 December until 5 January ensuring everyone can lay their hands on some great deals for 2009.

lastminute.com customers can take advantage of the great offers from as early as 24 December with fantastic prices on flights, up to 50% off holidays and 45% off Top Secret Hotels. Prices for worldwide flights start from just £259 to new York.

From 27 December even more offers will be available at lastminute.com with a wide range of UK products available at up to 75% off.

- Detox is still very much affordable this January with two for one spa experiences from just £25.

- No need to stay indoors in January with theatre tickets from £8.75 with Maria Friedman and West End best sellers such as The Sound of Music from £22.50. Club nights will be from just £2 at Shake Rattle and Bowl.

- If you're not watching the waistline then eating out won't be a problem either with top restaurants such as Gilgamesh and Mews of Mayfair offering up to 50% off total food bills. Many restaurants will also offer 75% off desserts when ordering a main course and a starter.

All offers are available whilst stock lasts and until 5 January 2009 from www.lastminute.com

Friday, December 19, 2008

lastminute.com launches new beta mobile application nru

The lastminute.com labs team continues to develop new and innovative products.

The latest beta mobile application nru (near you) for the new T-Mobile G1 phone uses the phone’s built in compass and GPS to allow users to search for near by entertainment.

The labs team are looking for people with the T-Mobile G1 phone to help them test nru.

For more information visit http://labs.lastminute.com/2008/12/16/nru/


For a video explaining nru please see below:

nru is the latest phone application by the labs team following on from the award winning fonefood application  http://lastminutelabs.wordpress.com/2008/08/22/fonefood-now-location-aware-thanks-to-new-google-gears-plugin/

Thursday, December 18, 2008

lastminute.com shortlisted in the Innovation Award - Globe Travel Awards 2009

lastminute.com has been twice shortlisted in the Innovation Award - Globe Travel Awards 2009 for its revolutionary fonefood application and its nifty one-box search pronto.

fonefood allows mobile users to search for and book restaurants from their phones free of charge. fonefood covers more than 6,000 restaurants in 12 countries.

pronto is one simple box where you enter what you need. e.g. you can enter things like Paris on Friday, Id like a 5 star hotel on 10 November in Gran Canaria for 3 nights.

Last week, fonefood scooped Innovation in Multi-Channel Marketing Award in the inaugural e-consultancy Awards and is shortlisted in the Retail Business Show Awards 2009.

The Globe Travel Awards 2009, run by leading travel trade title Travel Weekly, take place on January 27th.

For further information on
fonefood visit:


For further information on pronto visit:


To find out more about the Globe Travel Awards 2009 visit:


For the full list of e-consultancy awards winners visit:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas sorted right up to the very last minute! lastminute.com’s gifts, vouchers and certificates to the rescue

Still struggling with what to buy loved ones for Christmas? Not had the time or the courage to hit the shops this year?

Leading online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com offers up to the final moment solutions for Christmas headaches with instant gift certificates, gift vouchers and next day delivery on a variety of items.

lastminute.com gift vouchers can be bought up to 24 hours in advance and  are the perfect gift for anybody who enjoys life to the full. The gift vouchers can be used on a wide range of the retailer’s products. Travellers can use the vouchers on flights, city breaks and hotels whilst at home they can be redeemed against theatre or gig tickets, attractions and experiences as well as spa treatments. lastminute.com gift vouchers are available in multiples of £10, £15, £20, £25 and £50. 

More than 100 gifts are also available to purchase until midday on 23 December with guaranteed next day delivery, just in time to put under the tree. Whether it be 30 year old bottles of single malt whiskies, pole dancing kits, Kama Sutra weekend sets, digital photo frame fridge magnets or adopting a pair of seal pups, there is still plenty of time for purchase the perfect gift.

For people with little time on their hands, certificates can be printed up to the very last minute when purchasing gifts on the site, whether for experiences, beauty products, spa treatments or personalised bottles of champagne.

lastminute.com lifestyle Sales Director Mark Bower said:  “lastminute.com’s fantastic range of travel and lifestyle product and offers mean you will be giving your friends and family an unbeatable Christmas ”

“There is no reason to not put presents under the tree this year with up to the last minute solutions and perfect gifts from as little as £4.95.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The first entry to the Christmas Cracker Competition

As you may be aware, we're running a competition to see who can make the most impressive lastminute.com Christmas Cracker using the excellent instructions described in the previous post.

We have had our first entry, albeit one in true Blue Peter style that we'd made earlier.

Now it's your turn to better it and win £50 for Christmas. We can't wait to see your entries.

lastminute.com shortlisted in the Retail Business Show Awards 2009

lastminute.com has been shortlisted in the Retail Business Show Awards 2009 Mobile retailing category for its revolutionary fonefood application.

fonefood allows mobile users to search for and book restaurants from their phones free of charge. fonefood covers more than 6,000 restaurants in 12 countries.

Last week, fonefood scooped Innovation in Multi-Channel Marketing Award in the inaugural e-consultancy Awards

The Retail Business Show Awards 2009 take place on January 28.

For further information on fonefood visit:

To find out more about the Retail Business Show Awards 2009 visit:


For the full list of e-consultancy awards winners visit:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas in the sun from only £399 with lastminute.com

Wouldn’t Christmas Day be even better in the warm sun?

What could be better than a Christmas Day BBQ dinner on the beach, drinking your favourite cocktail with the sun on your back and the sand in your toes?

Leading online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com can make this dream a reality with Christmas week from only £399 per person in premium winter sun destinations Egypt and Cyprus.

Egypt and Cyprus are currently experiencing temperatures as high as 30 degrees and 23 degrees respectively, making them the perfect destinations to open your Christmas presents in.

Other Christmas Day holiday deals include Turkey from £349 per person, Kenya, Morocco and Spain from £499, Tunisia from £529 and Gambia from £599.

lastminute.com Sales Director Andy Washington said: “Christmas is the perfect time to escape the cold weather of the UK and enjoy the seasonal festivities in the sun.

“lastminute.com has a number of great Christmas Day holiday deals in southern Europe and north Africa starting from an amazing £399 per person.”

All holidays depart London Gatwick or Manchester Airport on 21 or 22 December.

To book visit www.lastminute.com

Monday, December 8, 2008

lastminute.com big cracker pull

lastminute.com has been pulling crackers all over London today in Oxford Street, Liverpool Street Station, Victoria Station, Covent Garden and Broadgate.

If you're around in Broadgate or near New Scotland Yard this afternoon keep an eye out for a big pink cracker and the launch of some great Christmas lastminute.com deals.

If you'd like to win £50 for Christmas, then please look at the lastminute.com Christmas Cracker Competition.

Make your own Christmas Cracker with lastminute.com and win £50

As part of leading travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com’s festive “Crack Christmas in your lunchtime” promotion, we’re offering you the chance to win a £50 lastminute.com voucher with our Christmas Cracker photo competition.

All you need to do is follow the instructions below, adding any festive touches you can. Take a picture of you and a friend pulling the cracker and submit it here. We will then select winner based on our favourite photo!

You will need:

Lastminute.com A4 paper
An old loo roll
Ribbon, wool or string. Even better, some festive tinsel
Glue Stick
If possible some cracker snaps, available from most craft shops, make sure your cracker goes off with a bang

To make the cracker:

Print off your lastminute.com cracker paper.

Place the paper in front of you with the lastminute.com logo facing downwards with longer sides at the top

Place the loo roll in the middle of the paper so that the ends are pointing towards the shorter sides of the paper.

Make marks at each end of the tube. Draw lines from top to bottom. Make more marks 2cm away from the tube and draw two more lines through the mark from top to bottom.

At one end, fold along the second line, and cut slits along the fold. Repeat this at the other end

Put some glue along the top and bottom edges of the paper. Put the tube at the top and in the middle, and roll the paper around it.

If you have cracker snaps, add them in. Tie one end of the cracker with ribbon, wool or string. The cuts should gather up

Fill the cracker with jokes, Christmas hats and gifts and tie the other end.

Find a friend to pull your cracker with, find a friend to take a photo of you pulling the cracker. Then post it here to enter for your chance to win a £50 lastminute.com voucher

Watch the 'how to' video here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

lastminute.com wins e-consultancy innovation award

lastminute.com is delighted to have won the inaugural e-consultancy Awards Innovation In Multi-Channel Marketing for its revolutionary fonefood application.

fonefood allows mobile users to search for and book restaurants from their phones free of charge. fonefood covers more than 6,000 restaurants in 12 countries.

For more information on fonefood visit: 

For the full list of e-consultancy awards winners visit:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Crack Christmas in your lunch break this December with lastminute.com

No need to tighten the purse strings this December as online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com is hosting a whole range of promotions and offers at lunchtimes every day throughout the month.

With lunch breaks being the most favoured time to buy presents online and despite the recession, customers will be able to get easily their hands on gifts and experiences for under £10, save up to 50% on festive fun over Christmas and New Year and still have some cash in their pockets.

New offers will be available every day at lunchtime and will be accessible from lastminute.com’s Christmas homepage, which will be updated on a daily basis – http://www.lastminute.com/site/deals/sales/homepage.html - as well as on the homepage.

Promotions include:
  • Tenner Tuesdays – Gifts, restaurants and theatre for £10 or less
  • 2 December - Spas for £10 at nationwide Bannatyne spas as well as Thoresby Hall in Nottinghamshire and Portland Hall in Southport. There are also some £10 makeover and photo shoots
  • 8 December - up to 50% off Christmas and New Year entertainment
  • 15 December - up to 50% off gifts and experiences
  • 20 – 21 December - free nights for hotel bookings worldwide such as three nights for the price of two in New York from £129
  • 26, 27 & 28 December – 75% off clearance sale

£10 pampering on 2 December at Midday

Online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com is offering £10 spa days and makeover photoshoots on 2 December from Midday.

Perfect Christmas present or a special treat to unwind during the hustle and bustle of December, there is no reason to hesitate.

Hundreds of £10 vouchers will be up for grabs for a spa day at the Sensory Spa at Bannatyne in 24 locations across the UK, giving full access to the spa facilities as well as a complimentary Elemis facial. There are also hundreds of £10 vouchers for full access and use of facilities at Thoresby Hall in Nottinghamshire and Portland Hall Spa in Southport.

Further hundreds of makeover photoshoot vouchers will also be available. The experience includes a consultation, a hand massage, a manicure, a skin refresh, hair styled and make up, a photoshoot with a top fashion photographer and a complimentary 5x7 print.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Children realistic over Christmas present demands as credit crisis continues

Children preparing their Christmas present wish list are aware the credit crunch means they have to be more realistic with their choices, reveals a survey of kids by leading online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com.

The nation's children are bracing themselves for fewer gifts under the tree, fearing their parents will spend less this Christmas due to the current economic climate, unveils lastminute.com's poll of 2,000 children.

More than three quarters of children (77%) expect to receive less presents this Christmas, while amazingly more than one in ten kids (11%) expect to wake up on Christmas Day morning with no presents under the tree.

The findings show children are aware the country is heading towards a recession and are prepared to be more reasonable in their Christmas wish lists.

Despite this realisation there is a massive difference in the amount children expect to be spent on them this festive season.

Children in the Midlands still expect their parents to spend a massive £150 on them this Christmas compared to a mere £30 a child in Scotland.

South East England children expect their parents to spend £60 on them this Christmas.

Scottish and Welsh children are also looking forward to giving gifts this year (43% and 25% respectively).

lastminute.com Lifestyle Director Mark Bower said: "Children are very perceptive and it appears that the current credit crunch hasn't passed them by. They are aware the current financial climate may mean they need to rewrite their Christmas list and perhaps opt for less expensive or more meaningful gifts this year."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ski resorts open early thanks to snow downpours

The forthcoming ski season is set to be the best in recent years as a barrage of snow sees the slopes open early.

Leading resorts in Europe and the US opened up to a month earlier this season to make the most of the good snow conditions.

In Europe, the major French Alpine resorts of Tignes and Val Thorens are already open whilst across the border in Italy, Bormio and Cervinia have also started welcoming early skiers. Switzerland’s Zermatt and Austrian Saas Fees have also benefited from great downpours.

In the USA, Breckenbridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Killington and Mammoth are amongst the first resorts to have opened their pistes this year.

Canada’s Whistler Blackcomb opens this weekend whilst Banff opened on the weekend of 23rd November.

The early snowfall has seen lastminute.com’s ski bookings increase by 30 percent, with Austria leading the way as the best selling destination. 

lastminute.com sales director Andy Washington said: “It looks like this ski season is going to be fantastic for skiers. The early heavy snow downpours look set to continue. lastminute.com has some amazing packages from £169 per person including flights, so there is no excuse not to go skiing this season.”

£10 hotel rooms on lastminute.com

Leading online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com is selling hotel rooms for just £10 on Thursday 27 November at 10 am.

The 'When It's Gone It's Gone' promotion is offering hundreds of £10 hotel rooms at three and four-star properties across the UK including Edinburgh and Manchester.

Rooms are available for January and February, perfect for Christmas presents or for a short-break when budgets are tight at the beginning of the year.

This offer is part of a host of promotions lastminute.com is holding throughout November and December to help consumers face the economic downturn without breaking the bank.

The WIGIG offer will run until the last room is sold out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What would Russell Brand want to find in his stocking?

Celebrities need a little love at Christmas. After being hounded by press for the previous 12 months even Russell Brand is looking forward to a present in his stocking but what would a high profile star want to receive this festive season? lastminute.com has produced personal shopper, a tool on its website for choosing gifts for even most difficult to buy for - and it works for celebrities too.

lastminute.com’s personal shopper is designed to filter out the most relevant presents for your favourite people this Christmas, using a unique visual personality test. Selecting the images that best represent your high profile friend across a range of categories, gift finder will filter out the presents that need receipts included, and provide users with a list of well suited Christmas gifts.

If you’re looking for a present to cheer up
Russell Brand after a tough few weeks, his top gifts would be:
A recording studio taster session
OH NO! Doormat
Cowboy riding trail

If you’d prefer to buy
Jonathan Ross a something that demonstrates that money isn’t everything, bank on these:
Personalised Andy Warhol print set
OH NO! Doormat
Adopt a reindeer

Cheryl’s continuing X-Factor success with the following gifts:
Pole-dancing lessons
Hot socks
Design your own handbag

Barack Obama's win with a Christmas selection that includes:
Misali recycled photo frame
12 year old scotch whisky
Lunch for two at The Ritz

Monday, November 10, 2008

November offers to help cut the cost of Christmas

Online leading and leisure and travel retailer lastminute.com is offering a host of amazing promotions and offers in November to help cut the cost of Christmas.

Whilst the credit crunch continues, lastminute.com is offering at least two price busting promotions a week on a wide range of its products throughout the month of November to help shake off those winter blues and cut the cost of Christmas.

Offers include:

- Thursday 13 November at 10 am - Experiences from just 10p including paintballing and Silverstone Ferrari driving, White Water Rafting and Zorbing for only £10.00

- 19 & 20 November – 48 hour two for one offers on holidays, restaurants, theatre, spas and experiences. These include

o  Two weeks for the price of one in Sri Lanka, Portugal, Egypt and Kenya

o  Two for one meals at restaurants including 140 Park Lane, Tamarind and Mint Leaf

o 50% off tickets for shows including Joseph, Chicago, Fat Pig and Zorro

o Two for one offers at spas nationwide 

- 21 November at 10 am - Theatre tickets from just 10p

- 24 & 25 November – Theatre On Us – Buy a London hotel room and get  a pair of tickets to see some of the West End’s best productions

- 27 November at 10 am – Hotel rooms from just £10 – Hundreds of three and four star hotel rooms nationwide

- 4 December at 10 am – Spa days from just £10 – Enjoy the ultimate day of pampering for a fraction of the cost

- Throughout November – Hotel sale – Up to 45% off on hotels

Friday, November 7, 2008

lastminute.com unveils 2008 Christmas brochure

The folks at lastminute.com have launched this year's Christmas brochure.

Visit it here and pick up your presents for friends and family.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

lastminute.com’s new interactive giftfinder guarantees a happy Christmas

Deciding what to buy difficult loved ones this Christmas no longer needs to be a nightmare as lastminute.com launches its first interactive giftfinder.

giftfinder uses a revolutionary system called VisualDNA to understand a user’s preferences and feelings by measuring their responses to a collection of specially selected images. It’s a really simple, unique and fun way to find great gift ideas.

Users are asked a series of image based questions and simply click on the images that they like. Their choices make up their VisualDNA which is then used to find the most appropriate Christmas presents. The gift ideas are sent back and the user can then refine and save their search based on price, or how adventurous they want the gift to be.

giftfinder has three search options, one allowing the user to search for gift ideas for themselves, but also to find ideas for loved ones by completing it on their behalf or even better sending them the quiz to fill out but without revealing the results.

lastminute.com Lifestyle Director Mark Bower said: “Christmas Day can be the worst day of the year if you’ve bought your love ones the wrong Christmas present, or you receive something you really didn’t want.

“The lastminute.com’s giftfinder guarantees everyone a happy Christmas because they will only receive presents they really want. It’s also a unique and fun way to shop for gifts and removes the stress of trying to avoid the crowds on the packed highstreets.

“This Christmas and New Year period the only arguments will be over whether or not to watch the Queens speech.”

giftfinder’s VisualDNA technology, developed by Imagini, has so far collected the VisualDNA of over 10 million people.

Imagini Founder and CEO Alex Willcock says, “The partnership with lastminute.com giftfinder is going to let people discover gifts based on their feelings which, as we all know, is the best way to pick find the perfect gift. The integration of the giftfinder will complement the lastminute.com ethos of offering users fun, exciting experiences.”

The service is accessible from lastminute.com, or directly via lastminute.visualdna.com.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Skiing more popular than ever despite credit crunch

lastminute.com experiences a record number of ski bookings for this winter season
The ski holiday appears to be immune to credit crunch with leading online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com revealing a record number of people will be on the piste this winter.
lastminute.com’s ski bookings are up a whopping 68% on last year, with bookings being made from as early as May – a full five months before the ski booking seasons gets in to full swing.
Non-Euro zone destinations are really benefiting from the Pound's poor exchange rate with the Euro, with Bulgaria and Scandinavian resorts – particularly those in Norway – seeing large year on year bookings increases. 
lastminute.com puts the record number of bookings down to the importance skiers place on the hitting the slopes.
In many cases, the ski holiday is the event of the year for regular skiers. These holidays often involve large groups of friends and family and are usually planned way in advanced and talked about until the following year’s holiday.
Furthermore, lastminute.com believes more first time skiers are donning their salopettes as they look for a reason to escape fears of a recession in the UK.
Skiers may be refusing to give up their time on the slops despite the doom and gloom surrounding the economy. However, the credit crunch is having an impact on where people go skiing with better value destinations proving even more popular than ever before. 
Bookings for Bulgaria - the best value European ski destination - are up a massive 30% as skiers look to get more snow for their Pounds. Bulgaria is also benefiting from being outside the Euro-zone and the more advantageous exchange rate with the Bulgarian Lev.
Booking for ski breaks in the US have also increased by 40%.
Meanwhile, bookings to the St Anton resort in Austria have increased by an impressive 21%, while Tignes, Flaine and Chamonix in France all recording bookings increases.
lastminute.com Sales Director Andy Washington said: “Skiers value their time on the slopes so much they were never going to let the credit crunch stop them from enjoying the snow.
“Bulgaria and the US ski resorts are really benefiting from being outside the Euro zone as skiers look for the best value holidays. 
“lastminute.com is delighted to see ski bookings up by almost half with bookings starting from as early as May . Now the main ski booking season is underway we expect the level of bookings to continue.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

lastminute.com launches radar

radar is the first system to integrate the wi-fi Gears feature from Google

Leading travel and leisure innovator lastminute.com today launches its revolutionary wi-fi enabled system radar that allows customers to search for local leisure offers.

radar is the first system to integrate the wi-fi Gears feature that Google also launched today .

Wi-fi users can use radar to see nearby leisure offers.  The system launches with a hotels search and will soon expand to include theatres, restaurants and other leisure activities.

radar is aimed at people travelling with a laptop but can also be used at home.

The system works by detecting wi-fi connections in range of the user’s laptop.

Gears wi-fi works throughout the UK and enables radar to show nearby leisure amenities with an accuracy of 100 metres.

radar also works from a standard broadband internet connection, however is not as accurate as when used with a wi-fi connection.

lastminute.com Head of Innovation, Marko Balabanovic said: "The lastminute.com customer always wants to be inspired and informed of the best leisure deals.

“radar allows lastminute.com’s customers to view and book the leisure options close to where they are at any given moment. It a great tool which allows us to present our customers with the most relevant offers to them.”

To view radar visit http://labs.lastminute.com/radar

radar is the second project from lastminute.com labs using Gears, following the launch of fonefood in August.

fonefood allows Windows Mobile phone users to book nearby European restaurants.  It is available at m.lastminute.com/fonefood, or in the UK by texting fonefood to 85959.

lastminute.com unveils revolutionary search tool pronto

lastminute.com is revolutionising the online travel industry with its unique sentence search tool pronto.

pronto is a one box search function that allows the construction of a sentence to search for travel and leisure options, for example ‘Paris on Friday’, ‘I would like a 5 star hotel on 10 November in Gran Canaria for 3 nights’, ‘table for two in Covent Garden this evening’.

pronto is the customer-friendly alternative to the traditional drop down box search system used by all online travel providers including lastminute.com.

The lastminute.com homepage has a total of 78 search boxes across its ten travel and leisure product tabs including hotels, flights and theatre. Including the ‘advance search facility’ there are a total of 162 search boxes.

pronto, which is launching this week to co-inside with lastminute.com’s 10th birthday, allows customers to search for their leisure requirements across all categories using just the one box. The system launches covering hotels, flights and restaurants.

pronto was developed following intensive research that uncovered people newer to online travel sites do not have the patience to fill in all the different boxes.

These people find traditional online travel sites cluttered and the standard search process hard work.

Following these findings seven alternative search prototypes were developed and tested with customers.

These included a circular ‘polo search’ function with options appearing as your mouse sweeps around a circle, and a large intricate drawing showing all kinds of trips and holidays, with the ability to zoom around and choose visually.

pronto received the most positive feedback as participants found it a friendly and inspiring way to search for travel and leisure experiences by typing in what they wanted rather than filling in big forms.

lastminute.com Head of Innovation Marko Balabanovic said: “The search engines have made the one box search system the standard way to search for information online, so it makes sense that travel and leisure products should be searched for in the same way.

“Innovation has been at the heart of lastminute.com since its launch in 1998. pronto makes its even easy for the consumer to make the most of their leisure time, which is exactly what lastminute.com has stood for over the past 10 years.”

pronto has a patent pending on its search functionality.

To experience pronto visit http://www.lastminute.com/pronto

Many happy returns as lastminute.com turns ten

lastminute.com is celebrating its tenth birthday today, marking a decade at the top of the online travel industry since the dot com revolution.

Launched by entrepreneurs Brent Hoberman and Martha Lane Fox in 1998, lastminute.com prospered where other online firms failed and is now the leading player in the travel and leisure arena.

Built on the concept of offering consumers five-star products at three star prices, lastminute.com began by selling holidays, hotels and flights and has now grown to provide a full travel and leisure offering including theatre and festival tickets, attractions, experiences, spa breaks and gifts.

lastminute.com floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2000 and acquired car broker Holiday Autos, bedbank medhotels.com and lastminute.de amongst others before being acquired by travel giant Travelocity, part of the Sabre family.

Known for its trademark bright pink branding, lastminute.com is internationally recognised and responsible for some of the most cutting edge marketing campaigns, including the well known ‘Surprise your girlfriend, take her sister to Paris’ advertising slogan.

lastminute.com Chief Executive Officer Ian McCaig said: “Celebrating ten years at the top in online travel and leisure is a fantastic achievement and one that we are all very proud of.

“It is incredible to think that only a decade ago this global brand was merely an idea dreamt up in a London flat. Now it is one of the most internationally recognised and successful online companies, helping people all over the world to make the most of their leisure time.

“Our customers have stayed with us from the beginning and I would like to say extend my thanks to them for their support. We look forward to the next ten years at the top and to see how we can continue to revolutionise the travel industry.”

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

£10 hotel rooms on lastminute.com and when it’s gone, it’s gone!

Here at lastminute.com to celebrate our tenth birthday - feel free to buy us a cake - we're giving away 1010 hotel rooms for £10 tomorrow morning from 10am.

The deal is for hotel rooms at four and three star properties across the UK.

The offer will run until the last room is sold out.

Good luck!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy birthday lastminute.com!

Online travel pioneer lastminute.com is turning ten on 21 October this year and to celebrate the retailer is having a range of offers and promotions everyday on the site to thank its loyal customers.

Ten years ago two genial entrepreneurs, Martha Lane-Fox and Brent Hoberman, decided to launch their own online travel and leisure retailer and despite doubts and people swearing that online travel was just a fad, lastminute.com has become one of the leading and most respected agencies in the industry.

To thank loyal customers special offers and promotions will appear on the site everyday throughout October and these include:

- From the actual birthday on 21 October customers will get a chance to enter a daily competition to win holidays, theatre tickets, city breaks, flights, thrilling experiences and hotel stays. Each day ten people will be randomly picked and the winners will be announced on the site everyday at 10 o’clock.

- The great hotel sale will take place throughout the month of October with great offers on hotels in Europe and the UK including up to 35% off a wide range of hotels, three nights for the price of two offers and further discounts on top secret hotels.

- Limited numbers of hotel nights, spa treatments, theatre tickets and restaurant deals at just £10 will also be available throughout October for customers to grab. More information on products, days and times for these special promotions will be posted on www.lastminute.com throughout October.

- 48 hour theatre sale – customers can lay their hands on great West End shows at up to 70% discount from 29 September to 1st October and from 13 to 15 October.

lastminute.com Managing Director John Bevan commented: “With these exciting offers we want to give something back to our customers who supported us over the last ten years. We are now looking forward to further successes in the next ten years.”

Friday, September 12, 2008

Statement from lastminute.com following the collapse of XL Airways

Flight only bookings with XL Airways
Flight-only booking on our website are eligible for a refund through ATOL, your credit card company or travel insurance. More information can be found by logging onto www.atol.org.uk & http://www.caa.co.uk/XLLeisureGroup.html

Where possible lastminute.com will try and find alternative flights for customers who still wish to travel, although this will be at their own expense and they will need to contact our Sales Team on 0871 2225969

Flight & hotel booking packaged together through our sites:
lastminute.com will try and find you alternative flights as near to your original flights as possible free of charge. Where this is not possible due to lack of availability, or customer no longer wishing to travel, lastminute.com will provide a full refund.

Package holiday bookings made on our site through 3rd party suppliers:
Customers who have booked a package on our site with another Tour Operator that contains XL Group products, should contact their Tour Operator for assistance. The name and number of your Tour Operator can be found on the bottom of your confirmation email.

Hotel bookings:
If you have booked a hotel with lastminute.com and XL flights elsewhere, we will cancel your hotel booking where possible should you not be able to travel. We will waive all our cancellation fees, however, we will not be able to waive cancellation fees imposed on us by the hotels themselves. Proof of XL Airways flights will be required at time of cancellation and this will need to be emailed to us

Car hire bookings:
Car hire customers unable to travel due to the cancellation of XL Airways flights, will be cancel and refund free of charge. Proof of XL Airways flights will be required at time of cancellation and this will need to be emailed to us.

Friday, September 5, 2008

lastminute.com and The Good Spa Guide create Spa Superpower

The Good Spa Guide’s reviews and ‘bubble’ rating implemented into lastminute.com’s spa pages

Leading online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com has joined forces with independent UK spa bible The Good Spa Guide to provide a one-stop shop for spa-goers.

The Good Spa Guide’s reviews of UK spas and its industry standard ‘bubble ratings’ will appear in lastminute.com’s spa section to help customers choose the best spa for them.

The Good Spa Guide’s reviews are conducted by a team of Spa Spies, who rate spas using a comprehensive set of criteria covering standards of facilities, customer service and value for money. These marks translate into a ‘bubble rating’, which is a one to five grading system similar to the hotel industry’s star rating.

lastminute.com Lifestyle Director Mark Bower said: “The tie up between lastminute.com and the Good Spa Guide creates a true spa superpower.

“lastminute.com’s comprehensive spa offering coupled with the Good Spa Guide’s industry-standard ratings and reviews makes lastminute.com the leading spa booking site.”

The Good Spa Guide Managing Editor Anna McGrall said: “The Good Spa Guide is delighted to be working with lastminute.com so spa-goers can book a spa day or stay with ease and confidence.”

Monday, September 1, 2008

Roll up, roll up, it's the last week of the Cool Hotel Pools Competition

A lastminute.com online photography competition to win a night's stay at luxury five star hotel The Berkeley has been running for the past three weeks and is now into its last seven days.

The final closing date for the competition is Monday, 8th September.

To enter and win the chance to spend a weekend lounging by the hotel's roof top pool all participants need is a great hotel pool photograph, either a funky shot taken at an ordinary pool or an image of the best pool they've ever visited on holiday and upload the picture to one of the photography groups we've set-up on Flickr and Facebook.



The team here at lastminute.com will then dive into the massive pile of online photographs and emerge holding the winning one aloft ready to notify the victor.

If you'd like to win a night's stay in one of London's best hotels (did we mention it has a roof-top pool?) then please post your photos on either of the sites and we'll look forward to veiwing your entry.

Best of luck.

Friday, August 22, 2008

lastminute.com first to incorporate the new mobile Google Gears Geolocation service

Customers can now use Google Gears from the new lastminute.com fonefood restaurant search service on Windows Mobile phones to find nearby restaurants.

The new geolocation service announced today as part of Google Gears allows users to determine their location, enabling the fonefood service to display nearby restaurants and deals.

The Google Geolocation API determines location using either nearby cell towers (from a mobile device) or a computer's IP address. The service is provided for free to both developers and users.

fonefood is the latest beta service launched by lastminute.com labs, allowing mobile users to search and book restaurants across 12 European countries.

The fonefood service, with Google Gears, is ideal for holidaymakers as they don’t need to type in their location to find local restaurants.

lastminute.com Head of Innovation Marko Balabanovic said: “The user’s location is a key part of the context that will enable better mobile travel experiences.

“We are very excited that Google gave us the chance to integrate Gears for Windows Mobile. Determining locations on the mobile internet has been a difficult problem for a long time and this is a great solution that works very well for the user without leaving their browser.”

Google product manager Charles Wiles said, "Location is increasingly important to people using the web, especially on their mobiles. lastminute.com's fonefood is a great example of the innovative location-aware applications that Gears makes possible."

To access fonefood, go to m.lastminute.com/fonefood on your mobile or text fonefood to 85959 in the UK.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

lastminute.com launches fonefood

Finding the perfect place to eat and book need no longer be a problem. From today online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com launches fonefood, its new beta mobile restaurant booking service.

fonefood allows mobile users to search and book restaurants whilst on the go. It is available in 12 countries and gives users access to over 6,000 restaurants from cheap eats to fine dining. The restaurant bookings will be powered by leading online restaurant reservations provider, the Livebookings Network.

Users are given descriptions of nearby restaurants, with currently over a thousand available deals, discounts and promotions. Once they’ve chosen a restaurant there is no need to call, users can book directly on their mobile for free and receive an instant confirmation via sms text message—especially handy for users abroad who may not speak the local language.

fonefood is available on the internet at http://m.lastminute.com/ and will work on all modern handsets. Alternatively users can text fonefood to 85959 to get the link free of charge (only in the UK). The application uses Google Maps to show restaurants near the users’ location.

lastminute.com Head of Innovation, Marko Balabanovic said: “We are very excited to be launching fonefood as we see mobile becoming increasingly popular with people as a way to organise and make the most of their leisure time. This is just the start of many mobile capabilities that we are developing within the lastminute.com labs team this year.”

Livebookings COO David Norris added: “We recognise that increasingly people are taking the internet with them in their pockets and more of us expect to be able to get online anywhere at anytime. Savvy diners can now find a table to reserve on the move which is great if you are visiting a new city or if you happen to be out with friends and need to book there and then. We are proud to be able to power the technology that connects this great new cutting-edge multi-lingual service from lastminute.com to over 6,000 restaurants.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Calling home on holiday by mobile gets cheaper with lastminute.com

Leading online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com has become the only online travel and leisure retailer to distribute SIM4travel’s popular ‘travel SIMs’, giving customers better value mobile calls while travelling abroad.

The mobile phone has long since joined the trio of ‘money, ticket, passport’ that people routinely check they have with them before leaving home.

SIM4travel is a low cost mobile roaming network that allows travellers to avoid the high costs of using their mobile phone overseas. The service is provided via a SIM card that the customer simply inserts into their mobile phone in place of their usual SIM card.

The customer can then travel to over 110 countries around the globe and save up to 80% on calls. In over 50 countries, the customer will not have to pay for inbound calls – a fear of which stops some people from turning their phone on while abroad. Credit is easy to top up while at home or travelling.

lastminute.com UK Managing Director John Bevan said: “lastminute.com is delighted to be the only online travel retailer to offer its customers SIM4travel’s service.

“lastminute.com aims to give its customers the greatest breath of product in the travel and leisure industries and SIM4travel offering helps us to achieve that.”

Suk Grewal, marketing director at SIM4travel, said: “Even moderate phone use within the European Union can see a traveller quickly rack up a bill of more than £80 per week*.

“By using SIM4travel instead, a traveller might be able to upgrade their flight or room, choose a more convenient time to travel, or just save money on their trip,” he added.


*Based on receiving, and making, four 5-minute calls per day and retrieving voicemail once (two minute call), for seven days. Outbound calls charged at £0.35 per minute, inbound calls charged at £0.19 per minute, voicemail retrieval charged at £0.35 per minute.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why use Twitter?

There's been a lot of discussion recently about whether online travel agents should participate in social media. The debate initiated with the creation of the lastminute.com Twitter feed. The key question that lay behind the debate that ensued was, "what does lastminute.com hope to achieve by being online?"

The simple answer is that we want to provide our customers with a new way of communicating with us and new ways of receiving our content. Our customers are web-users; people with blogs, twitter feeds, Flickr profiles and YouTube channels. We're trying to make sure that information to help people decide where to go on holiday, when to book and what to do when they arrive is available on the places where they like to congregate online. To this end we've created a Twitter feed which we'll use to provide our news and participate in online discussions.

Another online initiative is our Social Media Press Office, which is an aggregator of all lastminute.com online content including videos, public photos, news as well as opinions on news topics and stuff going on at lastminute.com HQ. We hope that the site will become a resource for bloggers and journalists, providing the tools to research and write interesting posts. If you need any information about lastminute.com then this should become a first point of call.

We want this to be more than a library of releases, news clippings and adverts, however, and we'd really appreciate your feedback on how we can make this a more appealing and interesting site. We promise never to spam anyone with unsolicited updates or news - if we follow you or comment on your blog it's because we think you're interesting, we won't be hurt if you don't reciprocate.


The lastminute.com team

Friday, July 25, 2008

Beat the credit crunch this summer with lastminute.com

Despite news that the credit crunch is set to continue, Brits can still get out and about and make big savings this summer according to leisure and travel retailer lastminute.com. Here are some expert top tips on how to bag yourself some bargains.

1. Fine dining need not be off the menu. Many restaurants, including fine dining restaurants offer lunch time specials including up to 50% off, 2-4-1 courses and complimentary glass of wine.

2. Theatre lovers can club together in order to make great savings. Download the lastminute.com TheatreClub application on Facebook and make group savings on some top name shows including Les Miserable's.

3. Birthdays and Christmas are a great chance to ask for practical gifts such as gym memberships, hair salon gift certificates or if you are thinking of embarking on a new hobby then you can try before you buy on a number of experiences such as dance lessons, cookery skills or even pole dancing.

4. The credit crunch doesn’t mean you can’t still pamper yourself. Many big name spas and beauty salons offer 2-4-1 offers, complimentary treatments and big savings if you book your next appointment on payment.

5. When visiting a theme park take a packed lunch to avoid spending big bucks on a burger. By booking theme park tickets online can save you up to 50% on entrance tickets. At lastminute.com savings include up to 20% off Alton Towers, 35% off Chessington World of Adventures and up to 50% off Thorpe Park.

6. Don’t despair; dinner can still be affordable, even at fine dining restaurants. It sounds tedious, but keep a track of what you are spending. By packing your own lunch as much as possible can mean saving a small fortune. For example, saving £5.00 a day on a sandwich and coke can add up to as much as £1300 a year. Booking before peak times can also take pounds off the bill.

7. London and the surrounding areas have some fantastic free activities such as museums, art galleries, parks and exhibitions. lastminute.com has compiled the best London Walks which such as Camden to Little Venice - all of which can be downloaded online.

‘Unleash Fridays’ with lastminute.com

Parents who are worried about how they are going to afford to keep their children entertained throughout the summer have today been giving a helping hand by the UK's leading online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com.

Every Friday in August lastminute.com is offering a raft of offers and upgrades including free champagne and room upgrades as part of its Unleash Fridays promotions. Unleash Fridays also includes exclusive prices on a wide range of holidays, theatre tickets and experiences on www.lastminute.com

This weekend, every hundredth hotel bookings will be completely free as part of a special one-off promotion. The offer runs from Friday July 25 at 5pm to 9am on Monday July 28.

Every hundredth customer will be contacted at the end of the promotion and refunded.

For further details visit www.lastminute.com/site/travel/hotels/

Parents stuck for ideas to entertain the children during the school holidays should visit lastminute.com new summer holidays page: https://www.lastminute.com/site/deals/school-holidays/homepage.html

Monday, July 14, 2008

The great holiday getaway

A mixed start to the UK summer has sparked off a holiday booking frenzy with Brits looking at departing in the next three weeks, says leading online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com.

Following the numerous credit crunch reports, the rise in costs and risk of recession, consumers have held back and waited until the last minute to book their holidays, making sure that they could afford going away. With the recent appalling and uncertain weather, the wait is over.

lastminute.com has witnessed an impressive increase in its week on week trading with traffic of unique visitors searching holidays being up 23% over the last seven days when the weather has rapidly deteriorated.

Visitors to the site are looking for departure dates within the next three weeks making lead in time shorter than ever before. Most searched departure dates include 26 and 19 July as well as 02 August.

Destinations performing really well this summer are mainly outside the Euro zone with Egypt and Turkey up 14% year on year but also Tunisia up over 95% and Croatia up a whopping 150%.

Sales are very much price driven and European destinations only manage to do well when very good value for money packages are available. Holidays to Italy (one week from £299 on a bed and breakfast basis), Austria (one week from £199 on a half-board basis) and Switzerland (One week from £299 on a half-board basis) are currently flying off the shelves.

In the UK, hotel stays are increasingly popular over the summer. More and more people are looking at cutting the length of their summer holidays to be able to enjoy a number of breaks at home. The UK’s coastal areas are seeing record numbers of bookings. Brighton is up 70%, Bournemouth 20% and Eastbourne 66%.

Customers are also booking more attractions, theme parks, theatre and music tickets along with their hotels. Such packages have registered an 18% growth compared to last year.

lastminute.com is also seeing a growing trend in bookings cottages. Areas that are particularly doing well include celebrity magnet places such as the Cotswolds, Dorset and Cornwall. These cottages are usually booked for one week or less as people tend to go for a shorter length of time to enjoy other breaks throughout the year and spread the costs.

lastminute.com Managing Director John Bevan said: “ This summer our customers are going where their pound will take them further and where good bargains are to be had. We are seeing a strong interest in destinations outside the Euro, whether these are short or long haul. We are also noticing that Britons are trying to find ways to cut corners by spreading short breaks throughout the summer as well as throughout the year but also by finding cheaper ways to have a good time at home or abroad.”