After a five month tour around the world The Barely Backpackers have put together a fantastic video to help us share their travel experiences.
Well worth a watch!
NYC & Company kicked off the London leg of its four-city European media mission at a fabulous press conference held at the splendid Shard in London. With unprecedented developments in New York City’s hotels, attractions, retail, dining scene and more, NYC & Company President and CEO, Fred Dixon, and Senior Vice President of Global Communications, Chris Heywood, presented many of the highlights of the “new” New York City.
Room with a view:-
The NYC team:-
From Left to Right: Jo Hartley, Rhys Powell, Amanda Hills, Fred Dixon, Chris Heywood and Mark McCulloch
“New York City is experiencing a period of momentous growth, with new hotels, attractions and other developments in evolving neighbourhoods across all five boroughs,” said Dixon. “We are thrilled to be in the UK, our City’s top overseas origin market, as we look to achieve another record-breaking year for tourism.”
“We are also encouraging UK visitors to take advantage of free and low-cost options throughout NYC’s five boroughs,” added Heywood. “From exploring the High Line to hopping on the free Staten Island Ferry, travellers have the chance to experience an exceptional New York City holiday with an unparalleled variety of free, low-cost and affordable activities.”
New York City is currently home to more than 109,000 hotel rooms, with a total of 135,000 rooms expected by the end of 2019. Notable new openings include The Beekman, which debuted on 23rd August, in addition to Arlo Hudson Square, The William Vale and Four Seasons New York Downtown which are all slated to open later this month. Further into 2016, visitors can look forward to the debut of Firmdale Hotels’ The Whitby.
The City’s many evolving neighbourhoods continue to provide UK visitors with a range of diverse and authentic experiences. Highlights include the revitalisation of Lower Manhattan, including the new Eataly NYC Downtown and Westfield World Trade Centre, adding to last year’s monumental opening of One World Observatory. Upcoming developments in Staten Island’s St. George neighbourhood include the Empire Outlets (2017), NYC’s first and only shopping outlet, and the hotly-anticipated New York Wheel (2018). In Manhattan’s newest neighbourhood on the Far West Side, Hudson Yards will debut in 2018–19 with 17 million square feet of commercial and residential space, including the City’s first Neiman Marcus department store, a 150-room Equinox hotel, a new observation deck and restaurants curated by renowned chefs Thomas Keller, Jose Andres and Costas Spiliadis.
Infrastructure and technology improvements continue make exploring the City even easier, with the recently-opened World Trade Centre Transportation Hub, the Second Avenue Subway (first phase debuting later this year), expanded Citywide Ferry Service (2017–2018) and an entirely-reimagined LaGuardia Airport (2022). This summer, more than 500 state-of-the-art LinkNYC kiosks were installed throughout the five boroughs, offering free Wi-Fi, device charging, touch-screen directions and more. A further 7,000 kiosks are expected to come online over the next several years.
Budget-conscious travellers have plenty to look forward to in New York City’s five boroughs, with a plethora of free and low-cost experiences. From free attractions to outdoor activities, NYC has a lot to offer visitors seeking affordability and value. NYC & Company’s “Free in NYC” guide, highlights the top free activities the City has to offer.
On Friday 8th July The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority held an exclusive media event to coincide with Virgin Holidays and Las Vegas’ Virtual Reality pop up at BOXPARK, Shoreditch.
The pop-up allowed consumers the opportunity to test out the destination’s virtual reality (VR) headsets and app – considered the ultimate ‘try before you fly’ experience. In addition to this there were appearances from key talent, spa treatments and signature cocktails for visitors to sample!
Vegas showgirls mingled with the Shoreditch hipsters and after getting our VR fix and sampling some ‘Only in Vegas’ experiences we congregated at the Beach Blanket Babylon for a drinks reception with canapés – all proving to be the perfect start to our Friday night!
The event launched a new partnership between the two organisations that sees Virgin Holidays install Las Vegas’ virtual reality in more than 50 retail locations across the country. The initiative helps bring truly immersive holiday experiences to customers and allow people to ‘try before they fly’.
Lee Haslett, Virgin Holidays sales director, commented: “We want to create the world’s first ‘destination-tour’ captured entirely in virtual reality, and there was no better partner to bring this to life than Las Vegas. We want our customers to be able to truly experience their holiday before they even get on the plane; everything from arriving at the hotel and checking out their room, to taking a helicopter tour, will be experienced as authentically as possible.”
Las Vegas aims to show that virtual reality is no longer a fantasy of the tech savvy and instead is finally going mainstream, with many arguing that VR will soon become integral in the holiday booking process. With this in mind, Las Vegas has developed its own custom VR app featuring 24 original 360-degree interactive videos that become immersive virtual reality experiences when used with a VR viewer. The free app is compatible with smartphones, or other viewers such as Google Cardboard.
Even without a cardboard viewer, users are able to watch all of the 360-degree videos on the app and interact with the videos using gyroscope, swipe and zoom functions. Additionally, the Vegas 360 content lives on Facebook and YouTube as well as the custom GeoVegas site.
Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing at the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority said:
“The UK is an incredibly important market for Las Vegas with more than 400,000 travellers visiting annually. The UK remains our number one source of overseas visitors and it is anticipated that through tourism initiatives such as VR, we be able to interest more consumers in visiting Las Vegas.”
The virtual reality experiences which we tested at BOXPARK included:
The 360-degree videos of Las Vegas can be accessed at: http://geovegas.lasvegas.com/#journey
Hills Balfour took the entire company of over 60 people to Berlin last weekend for a fun filled few days. We all absolutely loved it, spending time out of the office together was a luxury indeed. We all went on a walking tour the first day and then divided into a number of different tours on the Sunday – including a walking tour, beer tour and a food tour.
The highlight was the very special dinner we had at the top of the Reichstag – looking out at the wonderful views of the city.
Berlin certainly has something for everyone and is a very accessible, cool and reasonable city both to live and visit these days.
Here our very own Rhys Powell, Sales and Marketing Account Director put together a great video for us:
They were invited to eat and drink with celebrity Chef Daniel Boulud who hosted a wonderful champagne reception with canapes, before an exceptional two course dinner at his Bar Boulud restaurant within the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the heart of Knightsbridge. Guests were also offered virtual reality headsets which allowed guests to explore Vegas locations from the heart of London…
Guests were then whisked from there via limousine to enjoy cocktails and party the night away with Matt Goss, who performed live at Bar Baroque.
Here we have the Hills Balfour team in attendance with the LVCVA and Matt Goss and the Vegas Showgirls at the Mandarin Oriental:-
Here is the Editor of Hello Fashion Magazine, Juliet Herd with Matt:-
Lucy Campbell, Social Media Director at Hills Balfour:-
Jonathan Sloan, MD of Hills Balfour welcoming the Vegas team and introducing Daniel Boulud, the famous chef:-
The meal was incredible, the dessert even more so – here is Daniel Boulud with possibly the longest (and most delicious) baked alaska in the world.
Here he is setting it alight!
This is what it looked like when sliced – pistachio and raspberry homemade ice cream – delicious!
Then we were whisked off by limo to another very intimate and exclusive club:-
Where we were privileged enough to be given a private show by Matt, who was exceptionally good and played a lot of his old songs from Bros as well as a few from Frank Sinatra! The perfect setting for his style of voice:-
A truly fabulous evening. Thank you Vegas!