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We have proof that HfP readers are keen to get travelling again

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Last week was the 12th week that we have been running Head for Points from our various homes.

I’d managed the first 80-odd days without any problems, but last Monday I finally hit a bit of a wall.  On Wednesday I went back into our office – which is an 8-mile round-trip walk – for the day, just to get out of the house.

An 8-mile walk and a day ‘out’ put me in a better mood on Thursday.   And then, out of nowhere, an email popped up from Park Plaza Hotels, offering £99 stays at the five-star Park Plaza Westminster Bridge in London, and €89 stays (€97 with city tax) at the Park Plaza Victoria in Amsterdam.

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge

I thought this was an impressive deal, although it was obviously restricted.  You had to stay by 30th September, and of course at present the Dutch Government isn’t even allowing UK residents to enter the country.  Luckily this was a fully refundable deal.

I popped it onto Head for Points during Thursday, although I didn’t expect much from it.  I probably wouldn’t have bothered at all if I hadn’t already discussed Park Plaza Westminster Bridge in an article earlier that day on the 100% bonus for buying Radisson Rewards points, which is still running if you’re interested.

Within an hour, however, readers were booking.  And they didn’t stop.

On Friday morning the article was emailed out – and booking went crazy.

Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam

By Sunday night, over £41,000-worth of rooms had been booked via the link in our article.  Many more readers will have booked direct, so the total will easily exceed £50,000.

This is, by any stretch, an amazing response.  Obviously, given that these rooms are refundable, quite a few will be cancelled in the end.  However, you couldn’t ask for a bigger vote of confidence in travel from the HfP readership than booking £50,000-worth of rooms across just two hotels in 48 hours.

The success of this deal has cheered me up considerably.  It is clear that the desire to travel is still as strong as ever amongst our readers, as is their willingness to jump on a good deal.

It’s ironic that this article is being published on the same day that the UK Government is introducing quarantine, effectively killing off both incoming and outgoing tourism.

Few people seriously believe that this will last beyond the end of June, however.  We look forward to sharing the best of the travel bargains with you as Europe, if not the rest of the world, starts to open up this Summer.


How to earn Radisson Rewards points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Radisson Rewards points and status from UK credit cards (December 2022)

Radisson Rewards does not have a dedicated UK credit card. However, you can earn Radisson Rewards points by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.

These cards earn Membership Rewards points:

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:3 into Radisson Rewards points which is a very attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 3 Radisson Rewards points.

Even better, holders of The Platinum Card receive free Radisson Rewards Premium status for as long as they hold the card.  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (64)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • ChrisC says:

    Made a booking for 5 nights in Amsterdam via the Radisson offer.

    The desire to travel is there but the final decision will depend on when lockdowns and quarantines are lifted.

    What helps (apart from the price) is the ability to cancel with no penalty All my hotel bookings at the moment are refundable as I simply don’t want to get caught in the maze that is insurance companies at the moment if I can’t travel.

    • Tariq says:

      Agree, if the flexibility is there and at an advantageous price then I’m happy to speculate and book for August onwards, then cancel if travel restrictions are not released in time.

  • Andrew says:

    Surely a lot of the bookings were for the London property, signalling readers are planning ‘staycations’ rather than overseas trips? But I do agree, we do have the desire to travel, but not book anything uncancellable – I’ve been looking at Avios flights to Asia for February as availability is good at the moment – it’s 6 months away that I’m hoping things will have improved, but if it hasn’t it’s only £35 wasted. My main concern is not IF I can fly, as I think I will be able to but will premium travel still be enjoyable – I don’t just travel to get from A to B, I also travel for the experience and if it’s going to be all socially distanced queues, no lounges, face masks, sub-standard onboard service then the third degree at immigration, I’ll probably wait another year and save my money (and Avios).

    • Ed M says:

      Whilst I didn’t take advantage of the Radisson offer, my partner and I, having had our BA flights to Bari in July cancelled, booked an alternative trip to Portugal instead. There is a small liability for cash on some elements, but we decided it’s worth the risk. Admittedly, for us, 14 day’s isolation upon our return won’t impact either of our jobs though. I know that’s not a luxury everyone has.

  • Neil Preston says:

    Or your readers fully understand the value of a free option and are organised enough to diary the cancellation.

    It would be very interesting to see the % of those that follow through with the booking split between London and Amsterdam.

    • Rhys says:

      Still shows people are keen to travel, or they wouldn’t have booked in the first place!

  • Chris L says:

    We’ve got a trip to Slovenia booked in August and then Lisbon in October. We’ve deliberately booked everything to be refundable. If we can go, we plan to, but not if we have to quarantine back home. Hence, the ability to cancel is paramount at the moment.

  • Vistaro says:

    Keep the faith Rob, always look forward to your mails and they’ve helped tremendously over the years.

    • Andrew says:

      Indeed. It might take a year or so but the industry will bounce back. And in the meantime coverage of things like the Amex platinum retention points etc have been very helpful during this time and your coverage of the evolving situation around flights has been equally as interesting. I think in time it will be really good to have reviews on “new normal” premium travel and what we can expect from lounges etc.

  • BJ says:

    Surely a very contentious editorial/title unless I’m missing something 🙂 Hopefully @Genghis will get his fag packet out because his arithmetic is better than mine but 3 months in a hotel with over 1000 rooms is roughly 90,000 room nights. £41000 at £99/night is about 415 room nights so occupancy based on bookings via this link alone is only about 0.5%. Hardly surprising that it is still bookable days later, and certainly not an indication that even HFP readers are falling over themselves to travel again (at least not to London) surely? How many page views/emails were there for the article, what % of estimated non London readers was 415 room nights?

    • Rob says:

      It’s quite clear you have never spent a day in any sort of marketing / business / sales / promotions role in your life ….!

      • BJ says:

        Nope, at least not in the sense or context you would mean, and the opposite side of that coin was always much more fun anyway.

      • BJ says:

        That’s being a bit harsh Larry. I think there is at least one good story and opportunity underlying this article but it just wasn’t the one Rob decided to tell, or more accurately the way he told it. I can recall several times over the years when Rob has recommended people do X because it was in their interest to do so even though Y was clearly in his/HFP interests. Oftentimes he has let the dust settle and checked his facts etc on stories and opportunities while other competing blogs rushed to tell the stories while accurate or not. He has never been in our faces about using his affiliate links or referrals like some other blogs either. All of these things combined create trust and confidence amongst readers. For me, that is not compromised by the odd sponsored article or advert even though some have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with though is if an article shakes my confidence in these standards I have come to expect. This particular article did not shake my confidence in HFP either but it probably came closer than any I recall, probably because it appeared as an editorial. Despite his comment above, I do appreciate what Rob was trying to do here but I just felt our experience of HFP shows he is capable of doing it in a better way than this. Just my thoughts, I don’t expect everybody to agree with them, and I don’t mean any offense by them as it’s impossible to be at the top of you game or please all the people all the time.

        • Rob says:

          I think you massively over-estimate how much ‘stuff’ HFP actually shifts usually. The average (modal) number of product sales from a HFP article containing affiliate links is zero. Here are our 2019 income figures from some companies we cover occasionally – JustPark £1, Opodo £5, MiniCabit £3, Air New Zealand £12, eBookers £1. Avis, who gets loads of coverage on here, paid us £47. Plaza Premium paid us £38.

          We CAN shift six-figures of stuff from one article but these are very few and far between, eg the £1200 Qatar tickets from Manchester to New Zealand, or a month-long promo like our occasional Kaligo deals.

          The volume of hotel rooms sold here is genuinely unprecedented, when you factor in that 70% of our readers live or work in London anyway and that you can’t even travel to Amsterdam at present.

        • BJ says:

          That hits the nail on the head. You had mentioned about low income from affiliate links before so that wasn’t news to me.When I stated that I thought there was a story and an opportunity underlying the article this unusual high response is what I was getting at. The story was that HFP shifted a very large number of rooms for this type of channel. I was not belittling the small % because presumably, especially in normal times, that would be all profit to a hotel as they would already have exceeded the break even point in occupancy, especially in places such as central London. And therein lies the opportunity, HFP has demonstrated that it can help hotels fill rooms in a significant way so hopefully it can be used to drive new business your way such as through exclusive joint promotions to the benefit of the hotels themselves, HFP, and us readers too. You said I didn’t get marketing, yet I feel you missed a peach here, as far as I can see there would have been no harm in blowing the HFP trumpet loud and long but what we got was a good story about HFP dressed up as something else entirely.

    • Dubious says:

      I would expect a lot of hotel occupancy in London to ordinarially come from people who reside abroad coming to London for work and leisure.

      As someone who currently lives outside the UK, it is not looking like a place to be visiting at the moment. I would like to book a speculative room at that hotel for when I do return but I don’t see that being before September, simply because 1) 14 days quarantine on arrival 2) 14 days quarantine when I return home, 3) 20 days annual leave a year….

  • snogs says:

    I’ve just booked Amsterdam and the promo is extended to 15th June:

    INSTRUCTIONS
    1 night minimum stay required.
    Guarantee required.
    Available for bookings made from Jun 01 2020 to Jun 15 2020

  • Chris says:

    I don’t really understand why people are saying the new 14 day UK quarantine is what is stopping people travelling this summer. If I could go on a 2 week beach holiday to do somewhere like Spain or Greece tomorrow on the condition that I had to quarantine for 14 days upon my return to the UK I would happily do it. It is a small price to pay and I’m basically already quarantining everyday here anyway by staying home and avoiding people as much as possible.

    A number of friends and colleagues who are all working professionally full-time from home (because their city offices shut 3 months ago) in the UK are planning to leave the UK as soon as they can and work the rest of the summer/year remotely. Some have been told their offices will not open for staff for the rest of the year and that combined with the high cost of living in London, everything being closed and the highest number of deaths and active covid cases of any European country has meant there is very little appeal to live in the UK right now. They would all happily quarantine got 14 days when and if they return to the UK.

    However there are 4 things holding them back from leaving the UK right now and none have to do with the new UK quarantine policy:
    1. The UK FCO retains a global Do Not Travel warning which voids travel insurance
    2. There are almost no flights to leisure destinations
    3. Countries like Spain will not allow foreigners to enter for non essential reasons right now
    4. A sufficient number of venues, businesses and activities abroad are closed to make it not worthwhile to be there to enjoy it (beaches, bars, restaurants etc).

    The UK governments handling is covid 19 has been appalling. There’s little reason to live here the rest of the year, we just can’t leave.

    • Alan says:

      Agree with those potential issues – although if going to the EU27 at least EHIC still applies for now, which many may be happy with.

      Not everyone is working from home – I’m doing it a couple of days a week but have to be physically present the rest of the time, so would mean I had to use up 4 weeks annual leave for a two week holiday.

      • BJ says:

        Alan, do you have concerns about the reopening of increasing numbers of hospital services and the potential for growing numbers of transmissions within the healthcare environment or are you confident with the control measures put in place?

        • Alan says:

          Concern for shielding patients and when we can safely get them back in, probably the major headache just now. Most recent cases in staff have been transmission from staff to staff due to difficulties in social distancing as most hospitals have cramped offices shared by lots of people! Doing clinics remotely from home so trying to only come in when required.

    • Andrew says:

      Every Thursday afternoon, I leave my desk and go and have a swab held down my throat for 5 seconds as I gag and wretch, then twisted around the back of my nose for 5 seconds.

      Around lunchtime on the Friday I get an email to tell me that I’m free from Covid-19.

      Surely people should be allowed to pay for testing on arrival if they don’t want 14 day quarantine?

      • Jonathan says:

        Nasopharyngeal swabs only pick up a positive at better than 80% sensitivity in quite a small window day 3-5 of symptoms with incredibly low detection rates in the asymptomatic/incubation period. Whatever you think about quarantine a swab on arrival is certainly not going to detect many cases.

    • Oh! Matron! says:

      My company (of around 120K people worldwide) is not going back into the offices until at least October. We’ve always had a good WFH policy, but I’m already aware that many may not go back into the office on a daily basis after october. Once people saw how much better life is without 2 hours of commute a day, a decent breakfast, perhaps a walk in the local park (or wimbledon common in my case [did you know Wimbledon common had an airfield at one point?]), plenty of dogs to say hello to every day, the belief that they had to be IN an office to do their work very quickly disappeared.

      Now, I fully understand that:
      1) We are quite a social bunch, and need to be around people
      2) therefore, WFH is not for everyone
      3) Not everyone (especially if you live in London) has a home suitable for working from home…

      Paul

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