British Airways boosts seats to Lagos

Refurbished Boeing 747s offer more seats, lie-flat beds, state-of-the art inflight entertainment, enhanced interiors.

British Airways is increasing the number of seats to Nigeria, introducing its newly refurbished Boeing 747-400s to Lagos from September.

The aircraft are larger than the Boeing 777s which the airline currently operates and will add an extra 343 seats a week on the busy route between London and Nigeria’s commercial capital.

As well as a refreshed interior, with the look and feel of British Airways newest aircraft, and state-of-the-art entertainment system, the revamped 747s also have a larger Club World cabin, with 16 more lie-flat beds.

British Airways

The refurbished jumbos are already in service on routes including New York, Chicago, Johannesburg, Dubai, Boston, Riyadh, Kuwait, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington DC.

Kola Olayinka, British Airways commercial manager in Nigeria, says: “We know customers who fly in these aircraft appreciate the improved interiors, with their mood lighting, updated  seating and the new entertainment system.”

The aircraft are equipped with Panasonic’s next-generation eX3 entertainment system, which will give customers a choice of over 1,300 hours of entertainment, including more than 130 movies and 400 TV programmes on larger, high-resolution screens, with touch and swipe functionality, giving the system the familiar feel of using a tablet.

As part of the upgrade, customers in World Traveller Plus will now have access to a universal power socket at every seat, capable of accepting plugs from the UK, US and Europe. In addition, World Traveller customers will have their own USB sockets to power phones and tablets.

New seat foams have been installed in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus to increase customer comfort and updated seat covers fitted to match those on the A380 and 787.

Seats on the new Boeing 747 service are on sale from 19 July 2017. The flight numbers and schedule will remain the same with BA75 departing Heathrow at 11:30 and landing in Lagos at 17:55. The return service operates as BA74, leaving Lagos at 22:55 and arriving at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 at 05:25 the following morning.

British Airways has also launched its multi-million pound investment plan to benefit its customers with a focus on excellence in the premium cabins and more choice and quality for all.

Four hundred million pounds will be spent on Club World with an emphasis on improved catering and sleep, and a new seat in the future. At Heathrow a First Wing check-in area with direct security and lounge access has launched, and lounges around the airline’s network are to be revamped and improved. The Club Europe cabin has also been introduced on UK domestic services and all customers can look forward to the latest generation Wi-Fi across British Airways’ long-haul and short-haul fleets over the next two years.

Put big snores, pummelled curries and licked folds on your UK bucket-list

The UK offers many attractions for all tastes, but a look at a map of the island shows some pretty unusual and intriguing place-names. Sue Petrie, British Airways’ Commercial Manager for Southern Africa, offers the following selection of oddities, along with clues as to how the names came about, and diversions and attractions nearby.

Travellers take selfies in front of signposts for Pratt’s Bottom (the London borough of Bromley), Bell End and Minge Lane (Worcestershire), Brown Willy (Cornwall), Boggy Bottom (Hertfordshire) Twatt (Orkney), Nob End (South Lancashire), Fanny Barks (Durham) and Scratchy Bottom (Dorset).

But, Petrie suggests starting with the capital, which has a population of around 8,6m people. London has a world-renowned public-transport system to move everyone around, and visitors can get access to all its modes of transport with an Oyster Visitor smartcard.

London Tower Bridge

One of the easiest ways to commute around London is by Tube, the underground railway system, which is a massive, busy and efficient artery running through the city. It’s an excellent way to access the capital’s many wonders and find places with some pretty bizarre names.

Monikers that have teenage boys nudging each other and sniggering include Mudchute, Cockfosters, St John’s Wood, Lickfold and Shepherd’s Bush.

Origins? Cockfosters seems simple enough: it was named for the chief (cock) forester, later shortened to “foster”.

Nearby, at the former Hendon Aerodrome, is the Royal Air Force Museum. As you’d expect, there are plenty of aircraft on exhibit, along with modern, interactive displays. A bonus is the flight simulator, which offers a variety of exhilarating rides, including aerobatics with the Red Arrows team and an air-race from the pioneering 1930s. The museum has a small restaurant, but if you fancy something more substantial, Skewd Kitchen offers Mediterranean and Turkish food and has had good reviews.

Goodge Street, in Fitzrovia, Soho, sounds like slang for something saucy, and it’s also two minutes’ walk from the Salt Yard, a tapas-style eatery that also offers charcuterie and cheeseboards. Its expansively-named Hot Smoked Gloucester Old Spot Pork Belly with Smoked Apple and Cider Glaze has helped it score four stars on TripAdvisor.

Golders Green is pretty straightforward: it was the surname of a local landowner and the “green” simply refers to the open land on which housing was later built. Golders Road was the site of the Lido Picture House, a cinema beloved by locals and known for a bit of unintended humour in 1988. One night a high wind blew the ‘t’ off the sign advertising the screening of the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, much to the mirth of the area’s predominantly Jewish population.

Some visitors and locals joke that another Green – Turnham Green this time – is the ideal place to meet environmentally friendly people (greenies). It’s also where you’ll the find Sipsmith Distillery, which has been making London gin since 1820. Nearby is the Fuller’s Griffin Brewery, reputed to be the last family-run brewery in London, operating since 1828. Both venues offer tours and tipples.

Curry Mallet is in picturesque, rural Somerset, so not on the London Tube-line. The name has nothing to do with tenderising ingredients for a korma though, as any of its 300-odd residents will explain.  The tiny village’s history is intertwined with events that shaped Britain, like the Magna Carta and the Battle of Hastings and it was mentioned in the Domesday Book (essentially the first survey of land and population in Britain) in 1086. The area also has plenty of Roman history.

Also noted in the Domesday Book was the North Norfolk village of Great Snoring, slightly larger than its neighbour, Little Snoring. Both are small, but neither are particularly sleepy.

No Man’s Land Fort looks like the lair of a Bond super-villain, but it’s also a luxury hotel. It juts out of the sea just off the Isle of Wight, near Portsmouth, like a concrete-and-steel cupcake that belies the opulence within. It was built 150 years ago in response to the threat of invasion by the forces of Napoleon III. Being stationed there at the time, and in the conflicts that followed, was pretty grim and the garrison was selected on the basis of being unable to swim to freedom. Now a luxury hotel and spa, its most sought-after accommodation is the lighthouse suite, with 360-degree views over the Solent.

UK Taxi

One way to help decipher some of the UK’s names, is to understand their origins in the languages of yore. For example, a “chester” or a “caster” was a fortified Roman camp, hence Manchester, Doncaster, Gloucester and so on.

“Mouth” refers to a river-mouth: Cockermouth in Cumbria is so named because it’s where the Cocker River flows into the Derwent River. Not only does the area offer splendid views for hikers and road-trippers, but Wild Zucchinis Bistro gets 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor for its crispy duck wrap and other fare.

“Beck” also refers to a river, hence Troutbeck, Holbeck, Beckinsale and the delightfully named Tooting Bec. “Aber” in the prefix to a place-name refers to a river-mouth, hence Aberdeen, Aberystwyth, Aberdyfi and so on. Aberfeldy is a small town in the Perthshire Highlands of Scotland, so scenic that the Scottish nation’s national poet, Robert Burns, wrote a poem about it. You can hike through a forest – the Berks of Aberfeldy – to a bridge directly over the Falls of Moness.

On your return to the village, you can reward yourself for braving the great outdoors by visiting the Dewar’s Distillery, which offers tours, interactive multimedia exhibitions on whisky, and of course, tastings galore.

British Airways flies to the UK from South Africa daily.

British Airways

Early Bird catches the Worm

The initial registration period for The Business of Wine and Food Tourism Conference, taking place at Spier in Stellenbosch on 20 September, ends on Monday, 12 June.

Trainees and professionals working in the Cape’s wine, food and tourism industries are encouraged to register now to take advantage of the preferential ‘early bird’ rate of R2 950 (excl. VAT) per delegate. After 12 June, a standard fee of R3 950 (excl. VAT) per delegate will apply, up until 18 August.  Those registering after 18 August will need to pay R4 500 (excl. VAT) per head.

The annual conference, now in its second year, is convened by seasoned travel and tourism specialist, Margi Biggs. She says that this year’s edition of the forum would be presented by a selection of international and local tourism specialists, such as CEO of SA Tourism, Sisa Ntshona; Don Shindle, an expert in customer service and GM of the Westin Verasa Napa in California’s renowned wine tourism epicentre; world-renowned TV personality, Andrea Robinson, one of only 23 female master sommeliers in the world; as well as Dr. Robin Back, a South African-born, US-based academic who conducts wine tourism research in both South Africa and the US.

The overall focus of the conference would be on best practice and how to improve the customer experience to build customer loyalty. The programme will also cover topics like virtual reality, attracting new markets (even within South Africa), and PR trouble shooting.

Biggs contends that, if done right, travel and tourism can contribute even further to South Africa’s national GDP.  The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has calculated that last year, the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the South African economy was worth R127,9bn, accounting for 3% of the country’s GDP.

For more information on the conference, or to register online, visit www.wineandfood.co.za.

Tourist Perceptions on Elephant-back Safaris

Elephants

We recently attended the launch of Camp Jabulani‘s new interactive, evolved elephant experience with a very strong conservation ethos. Adine Roode, owner and CEO of Camp Jabulani says that the decision was prompted by increasing international opposition against elephant-back safaris, because of the abusive way in which some operators train their elephants.

We would like to know your thoughts on elephant-back safaris. Are you for or against it?

Top factors influencing consumer behaviour

Most people who own an establishment already know what influences their customers’ behaviour, but handling your customers according to their specific behaviours can be tricky sometimes. Travelling Mystery Guest explores these factors to guide establishments on how to deal with consumers.  According to previous studies, there are four main factors that influence customer behaviour:

  1. Cultural Factors
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    Culture

    These include Culture and Societal Environments, Sub-cultures, Social Classes and Cultural Trends. A manager should be aware of his customers’ backgrounds; there will always be ways to determine this. Whether they are well-known at your establishment or whether you ask them about special requirements during the booking process, where your customers come from, determines what they expect.

    It’s a good idea for managers to do research on different types of cultures and what they prefer, what impresses and what offends them. Your entire establishment doesn’t have to evolve around one individual who is from another culture, but making them feel comfortable will make them return. In terms of social classes, this can be very easily determined. People from a higher social class will very likely show this upon arrival or through any form of communication. Show them that they are very important to you, because customers always are.

  2. Social Factors
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    Family

    These factors include Reference Groups, Family, Social Roles and Status. At a restaurant, for instance, the father or the head of the family would most likely place his children’s order or order wine for the family and he is also most likely the person who is going to pay the bill. They are already accustomed to the role of being the leader, so best treat them the same way when they are visiting your establishment.

    It’s also very different to cater for a family and people with no kids. Their needs are extremely different and the two groups can easily get irritated with one another. In a restaurant, try and keep your kids’ playing areas separate and place the families close to them. If you provide accommodation, be child friendly, but have strict rules applicable to families with children. Whether a child gets hurt at your establishment or whether there are complaints about a child, both can do a lot of damage to your brand’s reputation.

  3. Personal Factors
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    Age

    This includes Age, Purchasing Power and Revenue, Lifestyle and Personality. The easiest to focus on would be age. There are physical aspects to consider in order to make your establishment age-friendly. Elderly people require easy access to your establishment and staff to accommodate them with certain things. Other people also see how you treat different age groups and this can be very beneficial towards your establishment’s brand image. Remember to show your management’s and staff’s values.

  4. Psychological Factors
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    Learning

    This includes Motivation, Perception, Learning, Beliefs and Attitudes. These are often factors that you attract to your own establishment. If you advertise towards a specific target market, their motivation would be your efforts. Their perception would be the standards that you set through your marketing efforts. A customer’s level of education can also be easy to predict, for instance, if you advertise on a social media platform like LinkedIn, you assume your customer is educated with a profile on this social media platform.

    If you experience bad customer behaviour because of psychological factors, the fault is most likely due to your efforts. By not delivering what you promised or by attracting a customer type you didn’t intentionally want, a bad experience on both sides might be the consequence. Focus on your marketing to attract who you aimed for and work hard to deliver what you promised.

    In the world of customer service, there are endless problems and solutions, but by dividing the factors influencing them and already having procedures in place to handle them, life might just be a little easier.

Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys 

Discover Natural Beauty on the De Hoop Trail

Very few places in the world can boast of the breathtaking diversity and stunning natural beauty that De Hoop, the Jewel of the Cape, offers.  Nature lovers can experience this stunning, pristine environment by walking the De Hoop Trail, a stimulating and inspiring exploration of both the De Hoop Vlei and the magnificent De Hoop Coastal Reserve.De Hoop

The De Hoop Coastal Reserve has a variety of values:

  • It is a magnificent outdoor ‘classroom’, offering spectacular viewing opportunities.
  • It houses undisturbed archaeological sites of great significance and the well-preserved architectural historical homesteads at De Hoop, Melkkamer and Potberg, allows you to experience a bygone era from a cultural-historical perspective.
  • The Vlei is a 19 km long, highly productive ecosystem – it is a Ramsar site of international ecological importance, where water fowl and other organisms breed and feed undisturbed. It is here that many of the 260 bird species which occur at De Hoop can be seen.
  • Its diversity of 1 500 plant species is amongst the highest in the Cape Floristic Region. It’s an absolute privilege for discerning visitors to walk between rare fynbos vegetation and view the rare flowering plants from up close.

Guests on the trail are accommodated in the Opstal Suites or in the Opstal Manor House.  Another accommodation option is on the western bank of the De Hoop Vlei, where there is a remote area known as the Melkkamer. This was originally the centre of the farm, ‘The Hope’.  The Melkkamer Manor House was built in 1907 and has both Neo-Cape as well as Edwardian and Art Nouveau features and is the epitome of stylish elegance, with tall chimneys, spacious verandas and high ceilings. 

Melkkamer, De Hoop

Trail ‘must-knows’:

  • A maximum of 12 people, aged 12 and older, may participate (children younger than 12 will be accommodated by prior arrangement if the entire trail is booked by a single group).
  • A reasonable level of fitness is required. The walk can be long and sometimes uneven, especially on the coastal rocks, but the walking pace is leisurely and focuses on being an interpretive experience of the natural environment.
  • The Trail incorporates birding, game viewing, learning about the fascinating fynbos and incredible marine experiences along the unspoiled shores of De Hoop, learning about life in the inter-tidal zone.

The three-night trail is a fully catered luxury trail with two days spent with a private guide to accompany you on special guided activities.

The Rate:

R7 900 per person sharing. This includes accommodation, internal reserve transfers, all scheduled meals, hot/cold teas, bottled water, coffees and juices but excludes cool drinks and alcoholic beverages.  Minimum six guests.

*De Hoop Collection Terms and Booking conditions apply. The general rules and regulations of Cape Nature and De Hoop Nature Reserve will apply and indemnity documents will be completed before participating.

Phone 021-422 4522 or email res@dehoopcollection.co.za

www.dehoopcollection.com

8 Best Autumn Destinations

Autumn is a season of beautiful scenery, lovely weather (for the most part) and stunning photography. We’ve made a list of the top 8 autumn destinations across the globe, which are definitely worth a visit:

Autumn

Gruyere Cheese FactoryGruyère, Switzerland

Autumn is the ideal time for hiking in Switzerland, with all the summer crowds gone and the scenery changing hues. The Chemin du Gruyère is a 3-hour trail between a chocolate factory and the popular Gruyère cheese-making centre. Definitely something to put on your bucket list!

Wester Ross, Scotland

If you enjoy autumn for its delights of mushroom foraging, Wester Ross is the place to be! That and their smoked salmon and squat lobster will have you want to prolong your stay.

 

Paso Robles, California, USA

This is a lesser known wine region, almost the same distance from LA than from San Fransisco, with beautiful autumn views among rolling hills. You’ll find Petite Syrah around every corner – the perfect autumn experience further down the Californian Coast.

The Winelands, South AfricaAutumn Vineyards

The Cape Winelands turn into the most remarkable pallet of colours in autumn, inviting domestic and international visitors to enjoy this lovely season among thousands of hectares of vineyards. Tulbagh, Stellenbosch, Paarl and many other areas boast some of the most magnificent views – a must see for any traveller fond of fine weather and wine.

Snowdonia, Wales

Even though you might have to bring your raincoat, long, chilly walks in these mountains are something out of this world. The perks of these hikes come in the form of stunning views and post-hike pub experiences in front of open fires.

Snowdonia, Wales

 

The Cotswolds, England

Explore the picturesque Cotswold Way by foot in this lovely, yet cool and cloudy weather and treat yourself to some cream tea in some of England’s most beautiful, historic villages.

Underberg, South Africa

With its tree lined streets, Drakensberg views and oak trees leading the way to Himeville, the gateway to Sani Pass, this village is a must visit destination in South Africa.

Clarens, South Africa

Clarens is a small town in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, nicknamed the Jewel of the Eastern Freestate. Its poplar trees and sandstone cliffs boast the most beautiful autumn imagery, combined with lovely restaurants and art galleries.