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, 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.”